In Annapolis, where housing prices have soared until even the simplest places often cost $200,000, a non-profit community agency is offering 35 affordable town houses to first-time buyers.
The Community Action Agency yesterday hammered out the last details in its long-awaited plan to develop an affordable town-house community near Bywater Road and Greenbriar Lane.
"This is an incredible opportunity for first-time home buyers," said Donald F. Wallace, the agency's deputy director of housing and community development. "A lot of people in this city are being squeezedout of homeownership."
With help from the city, state and local banks, the agency's development branch, South County Residential Projects, will be able to sell the town houses for $71,000 to $76,711. Low- to moderate-income families qualify for special reduced-interest mortgages, keeping the price extremely affordable.
"A brand-new house in Annapolis for that is unreal," Wallace said.
To boost its dwindling stock of affordable housing, the city agreed to borrow $459,000 and lend it to the private, community-based agency to buy the land.Neighbors and city lawmakers already testified in support of the plan last September, but a few glitches delayed construction.
Plans went back to the drawing board after a feasibility study showed installing roads, sewers and storm drains would double the land costs. Whenthose problems were fixed, the city spent months getting the title to the three acres, said Larry Tom, chief of community development. Zoning approval also took three months.
Annapolis Bank & Trust set up a $500,000 revolving construction fund to get the project started. Money from the fund will be used to build the foundations and installthe first four modular town houses. When they are sold, the Community Action Agency will have money for the next set.
Maryland's Community Development Administration chipped in $2.6 million to offer low-interest mortgages to the buyers. Annapolis also donated $100,000 from a federal block grant to build a community center.
To save Greenbriar from falling into disrepair, the agency plans to remain active in managing and maintaining the common areas, Wallace said.