Homebuyer incentive loans available in Middle River and Essex areas

January 27, 1998|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,SUN STAFF

In an attempt to encourage homeownership in eastern Baltimore County, officials will continue to offer a program of $130,000 worth of loans to prospective homebuyers.

The incentive program promotes ownership in the communities of Middlesex, Hawthorne, Fox Ridge Manor and Ballard Gardens -- neighborhoods in Middle River and Essex, a region where 43 percent of the occupants are renters.

"We hope homebuyers will take a second look at these solid, blue-collar communities," said Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, a Perry Hall Democrat whose district includes the area.

Last year, 40 homeowners used loans totaling $120,000. "They went fairly quickly and that was a good indication," Gardina said.

The loans, of up to $3,000 per buyer, convert to grants after participants have owned and occupied their homes for five years.

Gardina said homeowners have been moving from Essex and Middle River to more suburban communities, leaving the mostly brick rowhouses open to speculators.

The homes, built in the 1950s and 1960s, "are fairly low-cost relative to other areas. Speculators invest in them and rent them out for profit and that hasn't been the way to draw solid owners into the area," Gardina said.

To be eligible for the program, a loan applicant's income may not exceed $40,013 for individuals, $57,200 for a family of four.

Participants must complete a homebuyers workshop offered by a counseling group.

The Baltimore County program will be administered by the Eastern Baltimore Chamber of Commerce. Those interested in participating can call 410-631-9090.

Pub Date: 1/27/98

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