Lone applicant bought ‘cheap’ home in Lenox through affordable housing lottery | Berkshires Center

LENOX – The median sale price of homes in Berkshire County in March was $318,000, according to the latest available data mapped by real estate agent.com.

And with the supply of available homes tight (only about 900 for sale countywide), prices on the rise, and mortgage rates approaching 5% on average, one might think of an updated three-bedroom family home. and a bathroom with a new kitchen in the heart of Lenox would be a steal at $254,000.

A starter single-family home in Lenox?  Lottery planned for two houses at $254,000 each.

Especially in an expensive city with only 40 homes on the market, a highly rated public school district, and a recent median sale price of $595,000. And where year-round multi-bedroom rentals are rare and bring in several thousand dollars a month.

Well, think again. Much to the chagrin of the city’s affordable housing advocates, a widely publicized lottery offering two remodeled starter homes for qualified first-income buyers at that price of $254,000 each failed to generate interest – at the exception of the one lucky and qualified candidate.

kitchen at 10 hynes street

The house at 10 Hynes St. in Lenox has a new kitchen. This is one of two homes available to income-eligible first-time homebuyers through the Affordable Housing Trust.

Alejandra Lima, from Pittsfield, received the house at 10 Hynes St. in a draw organized by the Lenox Affordable Housing Trust on Zoom earlier this month.

The lottery was announced at the end of February with a deadline for applications on April 25.

A renewed marketing effort is planned for the adjacent affordable home, likely at a reduced price, said Marybeth Mitts, who chairs the Select Board and the Affordable Housing Trust.

Lima, who was unavailable for comment, attended the lottery draw on Zoom and was “very excited, clearly over the moon and ready to go” upon learning the house would be hers, Mitts told The Eagle. Pre-qualified bank financing was required to qualify for the purchase and sale agreement.

Even though the monthly payments would have been less than the rent for a three-bedroom, one-bathroom unit (currently averaging $2,500), Mitts suggested, other potential applicants may have been deterred by the price tag. total purchase. Another factor: a 30-year restriction on the deed to keep the property affordable and prevent the house from being sold at a higher price to investors.

A seller after five years of ownership, for example, would only get a partial return on the home’s market value, she added, “because we’re trying to keep the house affordable for the next buyer.” To prevent a buyer from turning the home into an Airbnb or VRBO short-term rental, the deed restriction requires owner occupancy of the property.

But, says Mitts, β€œfind a three-bedroom house in Lenox, with a new kitchen, for $254,000? Good luck!”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released new higher income guidelines that qualify more potential buyers earning up to 80% of the area’s median income.

For this year, a person whose income does not exceed $54,150 is eligible for designated affordable housing; a two-person household can earn up to $61,850; the limit for a three-person household is $69,600 and for a four-person household the maximum is $77,300.

These federal guidelines apply to Adams, Cheshire, Hinsdale, Lanesborough, Lee, Lenox, Pittsfield, Richmond and Stockbridge.

The county’s remaining communities, including the city of North Adams and 21 towns, have slightly lower federal income limits.

Construct, Inc. and Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity are holding the next lottery for the house at 8 Hynes St., as they did for the house Lima purchased.

The adjacent two-story home, off Housatonic Street in a close-knit neighborhood, has three bedrooms and one bath, with a new kitchen, appliances and oven. The annual property tax is estimated at $1,940. The new lower price has yet to be announced.

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