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Detroit’s mortgages return to pre-recession levels, still face obstacles

(Photo: Max Ortiz, The Detroit News) Detroit — Nearly 1,300 home buyers took out mortgages in the city in 2018, a number not seen here since before the Great Recession. More than six years later, most home sales still are all-cash, and many Detroiters cannot obtain a loan. “Undoubtedly, Chemical’s presence will help residents access these tools.” (Photo: Max Ortiz, The Detroit News) Bertha Alexander relied on one of those tools after she lost her home insurance on the Morningside bungalow she purchased through a land contract in 2013. Since then, the bank has joined other efforts to increase financial literacy and lending. Maurice Cox, city of Detroit planning and development director, said Chemical Bank's move to Detroit is an endorsement that the city's recovery can be sustained. In 2018, residential properties gained more than $400 million in value and 90 percent of Detroit’s 194 neighborhoods saw increases in residential home values. While it is down from 97 percent in 2014, according to the Urban Institute, the national average is 36 percent. It offers low-interest mortgages and second loans up to $75,000 above the property’s appraisal for repairs. “We want people to know you can get a mortgage in the city of Detroit,” Pate said. Quicken Loans, Detroit's largest home lender in 2018 with 439 mortgages, provided $5 million to partner with Home Depot to renovate 70 homes in the city since 2015.