Real Estate News for North Pinellas County

Archive for July 2nd, 2009

Home refinance program expanded

     We’ve written here in the past about tax credits and about government programs aimed at saving homes from foreclosure and making home payments more affordable. Now, it looks as though the Obama Administration wants to expand those programs to make them apply to more borrowers than before.


    Until now, those government programs have been available to people whose mortgage amounts are up to 105 percent of a home’s value. This week, the administration announced that it wants to raise that limit to 125 percent of value.
Here are some of the conditions that apply:

  • The mortgages in question must be owned or backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
  • The applicants for new financing must be current on their mortgage payments.

     It is estimated that 30 percent of all mortgages are for amounts that exceed their homes’ values.
     The expansion of this federal home refinance program is an acknowledgement that the original program fell far short of expectations. When it was announced in March, the Obama Administration said it hoped that it would help 4-5 million homeowners who were upside-down on their mortgages. But in the middle of June, the administration admitted that only about 20,000 homeowners had applied to refinance their mortgages under the plan.
One problem has been rising interest rates. Current rates are around 5.5 percent, up from 4.84 percent in April. That rate increase has put a damper on refinances. The government hopes that the new expansion will encourage more homeowners to refinance their homes, and those refinances will make the homeowners less likely to default on their mortgages.
     Got a home in Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, or anywhere else in Pinellas County with a mortgage bigger than the home’s value? This expanded program may be for you.

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Fourth of July fireworks planned for Pinellas County

fireworksFireworks displays are planned this weekend all over Pinellas County. Here is a partial list:


• Clearwater Celebrates America, July 4, Coachman Park, 301 Drew St. A free celebration that includes the following: Mostly Pops Orchestra with John and Mary K. Wilson; craft show, and concessions. Gates open at 4 p.m., fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.

• Clearwater Marine Aquarium, July 4, 11 a.m. — 5 p.m. Food, music, dolphin shows. Admission: adults $11, seniors $9, kids $7.50.


• Dunedin Hometown USA, July 3 at Dunedin Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave. Gates open at 6 p.m., fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Free admission.


• Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, July 4, 7 – 10 p.m., fireworks at 9 p.m.


• Day-long celebration July 4 including fishing derby, sandcastle building, car show and community parade. Celebration starts at 8 a.m., fireworks at 9 p.m.


• Fireworks display July 4 after dusk in the county park, 182nd Avenue and Gulf Boulevard.


• Fourth of July Constitution Boat Parade and Rally July 4 from noon to 6 p.m., at Gator’s Café on Kingfish Drive. Boat Parade will sail through John’s Pass between Madeira Beach and Treasure Island around 3 p.m.

• Beach Blast July 3 and 4 behind Bilmar Beach Resort, Treasure Island. Fireworks at 9 p.m. July 4.


• Freedom Fest July 3-4. England Brothers Band Shell, 5120 80th Ave. N. Fireworks after dusk Friday. Laser light show Saturday night.


• Fireworks along the Gulf of Mexico at dusk July 4.


• Rock ’n Wings concert July 4 at the Albert Whitted Airport, First Street and Fifth Avenue South. Gates open at 3 p.m. Music, classic cars, aircraft. Bring beach chairs or blankets. Admission $10 for adults, $5 for children aged 6 – 12. Children 5 and younger free. Parking $5, free for motorcycles.

• Fourth of July Extravaganza at 1 p.m. July 4 at The Pier, 800 Second Ave. N.E. Performance by the Cool Daddies from 1 to 4 p.m. Drum circle 4 – 5 p.m., Tampa Bay Rays “watch party” 8 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. Free.


This information is believed to be accurate but is NOT guaranteed –check before you go.

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