Are you a First-Time Homebuyer (FTB)? These Frequently Asked Questions are for you!

April is National Fair Housing Month!

As a HUD-certified Housing Counseling agency, St. Ambrose has the responsibility and privilege to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 protects individuals from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities. “Housing, like food and water, is an essential basic need. Fair housing laws are in place to ensure everyone has equal opportunities to access appropriate affordable housing. This process in action doesn’t occur in a vacuum. For more than 50 years, St. Ambrose has assisted Baltimore and surrounding areas in making safe, affordable homes a reality for its residents,” said Erin Broussard, Deputy Director of St. Ambrose.

HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Anna Maria Farias, addresses the recognition of Fair Housing Month amidst the current Coronavirus pandemic.“I invite all of you to join me in using the occasion of Fair Housing Month to renew our commitment to the principles of justice and equality, beginning with our response to discriminatory policies and practices associated with Covid-19.”


Are there incentives for FTB?

Yes. Many incentives are provided by local and state housing agencies. We can help you navigate the details and requirements to obtain many of the FTB incentives. Click here to visit the Maryland Mortgage Program:, which provides information on home loans, financial incentives and other assistance options for many homebuyers.

Do you think it’s a good time to buy a house in the current economic climate?

If you feel financially stable and have 3 to 6 months of living expenses saved, the current housing market could be a great opportunity to purchase. Mortgage rates are low, sellers may need to drop sale prices in order to make quick sales, and there is less buyer competition.

While the status of the housing market depends on how bad an outbreak an area is suffering, most markets are feeling some sort of hit. “The Coronavirus is leading to fewer home buyers searching in the marketplace, as well as some listings being delayed,” says Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors®. Conversely, here at St. Ambrose, our Real Estate program has been amazed at how active the market is during this crisis!

Bottom line: With fewer buyers in the marketplace, there is less competition plus the added benefit of historically low interest rates.

Will mortgage rates increase?

Based on a prediction from Freddie Mac and other housing authorities, rates will continue to hover around 3.32% for the next 90 days. Forecasts for 2020 say rates will average around 3.7%.

For instance, rates could bounce between 3.3% and 4% all year, and you’d get an average of around 3.7%. But when you lock in your rate during that range is important.

Still have questions? Please contact St. Ambrose’s Housing Counseling program at 410-366-8550 ext. 249.

Homeownership Counseling: Empowerment and Education

Not many people would enjoy going to work for six hours on a Saturday afternoon. However, Anthony Parran might be one of them. With over 18 years of experience educating and empowering prospective homebuyers, Mr. Parran conducts free monthly homeownership workshops where he provides packets of information, guest speakers, sandwiches, and a friendly atmosphere where questions can be posed freely.

Despite the workshop’s easy-going environment, however, Parran also makes sure that homebuyers know the effort required in purchasing and owning a home. Referring to himself as the “reality check man,” Parran warns of scammers, stresses the work required to repair damaged credit, and advises participants to “know your [financial] comfort zone.”

In the aftermath of the economic and foreclosure crisis-and after years of increased complexity in the home-buying process-such counseling is needed now as much as ever. For while the benefits of homeownership education-including reduced mortgage default rates and increased purchasing power-have long been realized, the ongoing foreclosure crisis has been a dramatic reminder of the importance of homeownership education and counseling.

The financial crisis has also had a significant impact upon the Homeownership Program’s work. Future efforts are focused on new methods of outreach, increased follow-up with clients, and improved case management. Given current market conditions, the program is also re-evaluating its curriculum in order to take a more comprehensive approach, with increased emphasis on post-purchase and financial literacy counseling.

As Mr. Parran says, “experience is the best teacher.” And there is much to learn from the current wave of foreclosures.