Qualified buyers sought for housing

Program aids those of moderate income

June 13, 2007|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,sun reporter

Twelve moderate-income families are looking forward to buying new homes in two Howard County subdivisions, but county housing officials are looking for qualified buyers for 11 more townhouses and condominium apartments.

More people may apply, starting next month, and the county will choose more buyers in August, according to Stacy Spann, the county housing director.

Spann had scheduled a lottery Friday to choose buyers for 23 units in Shipley's Grant and Elkridge Crossing, two developments in the northeastern county, but only 12 of 216 families who applied were qualified for the drawing, he said.

Shipley's Grant is a townhouse development under construction between Routes 108 and 100 at Snowden River Parkway. The garage townhouses will have 1,596 square feet and will cost buyers $168,000 under the county program.

Elkridge Crossing is on U.S. 1 on the site of the old Elkridge Drive-in Movie Theater. Each condominium apartment is 1,400 square feet and will cost buyers $178,000 under the program. The homes will be ready early next year.

People with incomes up to $51,063 for one person or $96,290 for a family of eight or more can qualify.

Spann and Thomas Carbo, his deputy, said the original list was reduced to 86 applicants by choosing those who are residents or who work in Howard, are county employees or first-time homebuyers.

The county sought more detailed financial information from those 86.

"We could only find 12 who qualified for a mortgage," Carbo said.

Spann said the department may adjust its guidelines to make it a bit easier for some people to qualify.

"We have to redouble our efforts on outreach," Spann said.

The homebuyers would own the entire house, unlike earlier shared-equity programs in which a buyer would own a portion of the property.

"It's the first time we've used this process," said Carbo.

larry.carson@baltsun.com

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