Loan program to help with home mortgages

September 08, 2006|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun Reporter

A small number of moderate-income Howard County homebuyers should benefit from a $255,275 state Community Legacy program revolving loan fund grant announced yesterday in North Laurel.

The program would provide second mortgages worth up to $30,000 each for buyers of 10 new detached, single-family homes planned in Savage on land owned by the Howard County Housing Commission.

The county bought land on Mary Lane for the planned Glens at Guilford development in 2002, but it has had to wait four years under Howard's development controls to get permission to build. Construction could begin on the 1,950- to 2,300-square-foot homes in late spring 2007, said Neil Gaffney, deputy county housing director.

Each house is expected to cost $259,851. The commission will donate the land cost of $49,851 for some lower-income families. Closing costs are $12,000, but the county has a loan program to cover half of that.

Still, a moderate-income family earning $43,680 can't afford to borrow the rest, so the mortgage-gap loan from the new state grant would help make up the difference.

The buyer would then own about 55 percent of the house, while the housing commission would own the rest.

"These will probably be the first middle-class units built [in Howard County] in ages," Gaffney said.

The legacy grants will be repaid whenever the homes change hands. At that point, the money will become available for a new buyer.

The announcement was made by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. at a vacant lot on U.S. 1 near Whiskey Bottom Road. The lot was purchased earlier with help from another Community Legacy grant for a mixed-use development with 80 apartments for moderate-income people. Construction is expected to begin this year.

"It's incredibly exciting," Ehrlich said about both projects, explaining that the state favors redeveloping older areas such as North Laurel over building new homes on farmland.

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