Howard residents offered help in selling homes

January 31, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

People stuck with homes they can't sell - in Howard County, of all places - think their nightmare may be over.

Residents of New Colony Village, an unusual development in Elkridge, are part of an experiment the developer says has not been tried anywhere else in America: They live in a mobile home park by definition - they cannot own the land because it's not subdivided - but their prefabricated homes are traditional, two-story residences.

Wayne Newsome, who developed the 228-home community in the mid-1990s, intended this as a way to provide affordable housing.

But home mortgage companies have become increasingly leery of lending money to buy a house without the real estate it stands on. Some people who have had to move and couldn't sell their New Colony homes, now have two mortgages.

But BUCS Federal Bank and Fannie Mae, the government-created financing company, now say they have money to lend in the community.

And Howard County officials are working to help residents buy the land under their homes.

New Colony cannot be subdivided without variances because the lots would be too small to meet county requirements, but officials are looking into changing the rules.

County Councilman David A. Rakes has promised to draft legislation ensuring a smooth transfer of the land.

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