Focus on Suffolk: Housing options dwindle in the county

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“LI HOUSE PRICES GO UP, GO UP, GO UP,” Newsday’s front page headline said last week. The article began: “House prices hit a new high in Suffolk County… Median house prices jumped to $ 535,000 in Suffolk last month…”

And it was $ 10,000 more than what Peter J. Elkowitz Jr., president and CEO of the Long Island Housing Partnership, said the average price of a house in Suffolk had just increased. He was doing a presentation earlier in the month before Long Island Metro Business Action on “Affordable Housing, Opportunities and Barriers”.

Suddenly, this is an even bigger obstacle to finding affordable accommodation in Suffolk. That figure of $ 535,000 is less than half the median price of $ 1.4 for a home on Shelter Island.

What existing government programs are available to people seeking help buying a home in Suffolk?

At the federal level, there is the Federal Housing Administration, now part of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, “which has been helping people become homeowners since 1934,” notes the HUD website. “How do we do this?” Because the FHA “insures the loan… your lender may give you a better deal,” she says.

And with an FHA loan, there are “low down payments”. He continues, “Buying your first home? FHA could be exactly what you need. Your down payment can be as low as 3.5% of the purchase price. And there are “low closing costs, easy credit eligibility.”

We got an FHA loan to buy our first home decades ago in Suffolk for $ 19,000. Our 30-year FHA guaranteed 3% mortgage costs $ 200 per month. But for a home in the now median range of $ 535.00 in Suffolk, getting a mortgage is tough.

Even with currently low bank interest rates, for a 30-year mortgage at 3%, payments would be $ 2,108 per month, according to the online “Mortgage Calculator”.

As for Shelter Island, a 30-year 3% mortgage for $ 1.2 million (after a $ 200,000 down payment for this house at the median price of $ 1.4 million) would be $ 5,059 per month, or more than $ 1,000 per week.

Various websites market homes on which homeowners have been unable to meet their mortgage payments and have therefore been foreclosed. “Homes starting at $ 10,000”, several websites presenting such a housing request.

But in those areas, there are no homes that have foreclosed on mortgages even near that price. I entered Shelter Island on onforeclosure.com and what happened was a house for $ 725,000.

As for state programs, the HUD website describes “Resources” and under “Home Ownership: New York” are the encouraging words: “Owning a home is a big part of the American dream. There is a section on “Getting started,” which notes that in New York State there are “assistance programs – resources and programs to help you buy and maintain a home.”

One is managed by the New York State Mortgage Agency, which describes itself as offering “low interest mortgage loans and programs to help qualified buyers buy their first homes.” SONYMA provides access to affordable homeownership by removing many barriers faced by first time home buyers. Whether it’s improving your understanding of the overall home buying process or helping secure the funds for a down payment, SONYMA is with you every step of the way.

Regarding Suffolk, its government website states: “The County of Suffolk operates several programs to support and encourage the creation of affordable housing and manpower through the Department of Economic Development and Planning and Suffolk County Housing Opportunities Programs. ”

These include the County’s Affordable Housing and Workforce Land Acquisition Program, in which it “partners with developers… and will reimburse the developer for infrastructure costs once the project is completed. construction completed to reduce the cost burden and allow developers to charge less for rent or purchase price for new units built or rehabilitated. Eligible infrastructure improvements include, but are not limited to, roads, parking, sewers, water, sidewalks, street lighting and ancillary landscaping in the development area.

Then there is the County Section 72 (h) Affordable Housing Transfer Program. It provides that “the county will transfer plots currently in the county’s real estate inventory” – taken due to non-payment of taxes – “to municipalities for the construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing”.

Jim Morgo recounted last week how he “came up with the concept” in 1987 as Suffolk County’s deputy executive for housing. “Since then, countless properties – the most expensive parts of building homes – have moved from county to towns and villages, then to groups like Habitat for Humanity and the Long Island Housing Partnership at no cost, and homes affordable have been created. on these transferred properties.

More next week on affordable housing in Suffolk County.

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