29°Partly Cloudy

Board Approves Loans for Buckingham Homebuyers

by Katie Pyzyk — April 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm 3,576 59 Comments

At Saturday’s meeting, the Arlington County Board approved a measure to help low to moderate income Buckingham residents become homeowners.

The board’s unanimous approval will make $500,000 in Moderate Income Purchase Assistance Program (MIPAP) funds available to seven or eight first-time homebuyers who qualify. The loans will be made available to residents at Buckingham Village 3, and other Buckingham neighborhood families, to help with down payments and closing costs on homes.

County Board Chair Mary Hynes explained that there has been a plan in place to help Buckingham residents who had been displaced by development.

“We had intended to create a homeownership option in Buckingham Village 3 — but, as the economy changed due to the recession, that option became prohibitively expensive,” Hynes said. “The board is fulfilling the spirit of our commitment to these residents, who might not otherwise have been able to stay in our community as homeowners.”

Last month, the county scrapped a plan to sell some of the units at Buckingham Village 3 as condos. At that time, county staff was instructed to find new ways to help lower income residents buy homes.

To be eligible for the loans, Arlington residents must earn less than 80 percent of the area median income, which is listed as $86,000 for a family of four. They also must not have owned a home in the past three years. Buyers can qualify for a subordinated loan of up to 25 percent of the purchase price, with a maximum loan amount up to $90,700.

Homeowners are not required to repay the loan until the home is either refinanced or sold. At that point, the owner must repay the loan to the county, plus up to 25 percent of the difference between the purchase price and the appreciated sales price.

Currently, about $3.6 million in MIPAP funds has been used to help about 236 borrowers purchase their first homes in Arlington.

  • MC 703

    The more people in the neighborhood who own and have a vested interest in the success of the community, the better the community becomes.

    • Really?

      I recall George Bush saying the same thing in promoting government subsidized low income homeownership.
      Look where that got us.

      • KalashniKEV

        “Owning a home is a part of that dream, it just is. Right here in America, if you own your own home, you’re realizing the American dream.” -GWB 05/02

      • Helen

        Hey, it was Clinton who started all this and it continued.

        • drax

          If you are referring to the Community Reinvestment Act, that came about long before Clinton took office.

    • MS-13

      Hey, we live there!

      • You Got To Kidding

        There goes the neighborhood !!

      • JBalls

        Please let us know when the next bull fight is scheduled!

    • Pragmatist

      Having a “vested” interest means you have skin in the game, not that you have been given something for free. An argument could be made that people who have put more of their own money, not less, into buying a house are more inclined to treat it and the neighborhood better.

  • .T-G.E.O.A

    Waste

  • Really?

    So the county now has a mini-Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac program to subsidize “lower” (low?) income homeownership. Worked out fine for the feds right? No bail out needed-Sure.

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      You think making less than $86k is low income? Seriously?? That seems a bit diconnected from reality.

      • WillJohnston

        In a “bubble”, so to speak, right?

      • Subtle

        $86k for a family of 4 is low income

      • AllenB

        If you actually understood, a family of four has to make less than $68.8K to qualify.

  • SA

    “county staff was instructed to find new ways to help lower income residents buy homes” . . . Try giving them bus tickets to West Virginia and a mobile home catalog?

    Silly me. When I was looking to buy a house in Arlington in the mid-90s the real estate agent smiled politely and suggested that my budget was more compatible with home prices in Centreville. And so I learned to love public transportation for my daily commutes to the Pentagon. I guess in today’s entitlement culture you have a right to live anywhere people are dumb enough to subsidize you.

    • novasteve

      SA, that’s why I can’t stand liberalism. Because it does exactly what you describe.

      • MC 703

        Does anyone see the part where it says that these are LOANS?

        • Archerrules

          0% interest loans…

          • Zoning Victim

            Only if the price of the property doesn’t rise, but they also don’t have to be repaid until the home is sold or refinanced, which means someone could go their entire life without ever repaying the loan. Interestingly, the article doesn’t say anything about what happens if the loan is just paid off. I wonder if that’s an omission in the article or if you can just pay off the mortgage without refinancing and not have to repay the county for the appreciation.

        • Always Right

          That the taxpayers will get stuck with. Thank you Barney Frank.

  • Bender

    So, because market prices are too high, the County is going to run in to provide public funds, which has the effect of keeping those prices high. If government is going to be so eager to provide the money, there is no reason for the market to lower prices.

    • SomeGuy

      Yep. We’re seeing this same effect in higher education today too. Higher education is the current “bubble,” and unfortunately it’s not one you can easily refuse to be caught up in.

  • Bender

    As for promoting private home ownership — there is no private ownership of property when the government holds your mortgage (and that in addition to assessment of property taxes, which essentially reduces the homeowner to the status of renting from the government).

  • Ashton Heights Skeptic

    Dear Arlington County Board:

    Last Tuesday I drove through Buckingham the grass and shrubs were overgrown, trash strewn in the common areas and the general landscape lacked a sense of dignity. The inhabitants appeared to not have a real stake in the immediate area in which they lived.

    What is the premise of your continued aggressive support of low income housing in north Arlington? How will providing subsidies and below market loans to receipients of your wealth redistribution improve my way of life in Ashton Heights? What benefit do I receive when I contribute more real estate taxes so that these loans can be granted?
    More specifically, what social obligations are mandated as part of the loan and subsidy program? Do you ensure that they work? If so, how is this enforced? Do you cap how many people inhabit one residence? Do you ensure that these benefits are revoked if any recipients commit crimes? I always look askance at such social Darwin programs because they create communities that are without bureaucratic intervention totally unnatural and lack cohesion. Good luck with your experiment with my tax dollars and until Buckingham Village 3 looks like the blighted publc housing complexes of Alexandria.

    • novasteve

      I walked through it a couple of days ago and it wasn’t that bad. However they shouldn’t be using tax dollars for the purposes they have.

      • You Got To Kidding

        “However they shouldn’t be using tax dollars for the purposes they have.”

        This is especially true when the C.B. also raised the tax rate….I sure do wish we had a two party system here in Arlington.

        • AllenB

          There is a two party system here in Arlington. It’s just that one of the parties is vastly unpopular here.

          • Just the Facts

            Thanks, AllenB. Although I would have put it a bit more indelicately:

            Arlington does have a two-party system, it’s just that one of the parties keeps getting its arse kicked!

        • speonjosh

          Why? What’s so magical about a two-party system? Why not pine after proportional representation or something like that?

    • KalashniKEV

      “Good luck with your experiment with my tax dollars and until Buckingham Village 3 looks like the blighted publc housing complexes of Alexandria.”

      That’s VIBRANT.

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      Again with the low income comments. Are people really this diconnected from reality? This is for poeple making less than $86k. I.e., someone making $80k can apply for this. And yes, you do actually have to work to qualify for a home purchase.

      • Josh S

        Perhaps when you have a family of four to feed and clothe, you’ll understand.

        But in general, comments like yours lead me to believe you haven’t been here very long. The area is expensive and populated by people who make a lot of money. $86K was not chosen randomly. It is 80% of AMI for a family of four in this area. Obviously, the number would be a lot lower in Charleston, WV.

    • DCBuff

      The “premise” of the County Board is its continued desire to run around in tights and play Robin Hood, redistributing wealth. Our AH neighbor on the Board sees dollar signs every time he leaves his house on his way to his part-time job.

      • Josh S

        There is nothing mythical about it. Redistributing wealth is exactly what governments do and have been doing for hundreds of years. Prior to the existence of democracies, the redistribution largely went from poor to rich. I think a very good case can be made that there is still a lot of that going on. In general, crying on an internet comment board about your few dollars of taxes being used to provide loans to someone else so they can live in a housing unit much less nice than your own is not looked upon with much sympathy by history.

        • SomeGuy

          Please provide a citation regarding bygone eras’ lack of sympathy for comments made on the internet.

  • Stuart22207

    The article is a bit confusing. Near the top is says the loans are available to Buckingham tenants, and neighborhood families. Later it implies the funds are available to Arlington residents, implying all of Arlington.

    Are these new funds tied to Buckingham residents?

    • Josh S

      I think they have priority?

  • Ms Ballston

    I would hope that new plumbing and heating/air systems will be put in. I lived there in the 1980′s after a renovation but it was still old.

  • gapster

    Please vote for a non-incumbent next election.

    • drax

      I did. I voted for Garvey.

      • Elmer

        Yes, and she had the last laugh. The first meeting she attends, she votes herself a pay raise.
        See, the video of the April 21st county board meeting at the county board’s website, Item 41.

  • Bob

    To Ashton Heights Skeptic:

    On every social network you may or not be a part of, your post is posted: .”How will providing subsidies and below market loans to receipients of your wealth redistribution improve my way of life? Good luck with your experiment with my tax dollars and until Buckingham Village 3 looks like the blighted publc housing complexes of Alexandria.”
    It’s all about you, isn’t it?

    We hope we don’t intrude.

    • Mike

      +1

  • ArlForester

    Raising our taxes and giving it away to people who pay less. Oh Arlington, you always remind me why I am not a democrat.

    • drax

      But that happens with every tax system everywhere, since poor people pay less in taxes.

      And I’m sure you don’t take any targeted tax breaks, like the mortgage deduction, right?

  • alrimprovements

    The ‘everyone must go to college’ and ‘everyone must own their own home’ is part of the reason our country is in this mess:

    massive debt, tuition skyrocketing due to increased student loans which allow the schools to charge even more since ppl will borrow as much as they can,…

    Not everyone was meant to go to college. People coming out of school with $80k debt with some worthless BA degree from a crappy college can’t get a job since they don’t have skill and continue to borrow and max out credit cards. A vocational school may be a better option for manyl.

    I didn’t own my own home until my mid-30s after 15 years of hard work in the workforce and massive savings–no car, very cheap room in a group house, etc. I learned you saved and saved until you had a chunk of a downpayment and didn’t bite off more than you could chew.

    Haven’t we learned anything in the past decade?

    • Loach

      I agree with most of what you say about education and essentially useless degrees, but the sad truth about this area is that it is the one job market where those types of people can be absorbed. The government creates a job market of esoteric consultants and just seat-filling positions. That is why so many people moved to this area during the recent recession. People come here because they are unhirable in most of America.

  • wtf

    “Homeowners are not required to repay the loan until the home is either refinanced or sold. At that point, the owner must repay the loan to the county, plus up to 25 percent of the difference between the purchase price and the appreciated sales price.”

    riiiight…like that’s going to happen. wave bye, bye to that $.

  • Mscaps

    Wow. This is laughable. I absolutely agree with alrimprovements. I too scraped and saved and busted my behind working long hours and OT, being laid off and finding a new job only to start all over again (and all this after having moved from NY with just four boxes in my car) to buy a home that I have now..and these people are being handed 0% loans to purchase housing. Ridiculous. No one handed me a huge down-payment or a 0% loan on a mortgage that I wouldn’t have to pay off until the home was sold or refinanced.

    I am surprised that there isn’t a huge stink being made about this. In the end, we the hard-working tax payers will end up somehow being responsible for the repayment of these houses.

    • Just the Facts

      “I am surprised that there isn’t a huge stink being made about this.”

      That’s because you don’t know Arlington. Arlingtonians support affordable housing (including programs to foster home ownership among lower-income folks), public art, green buildings and community planning that results in a healthy mix of dense downtown areas and quiet residential neighborhoods. And we’re willing to pay for it.

      For the past decade-plus, the County Board has delivered these, and more. In return, they get re-elected with 65+% of the vote because the vast majority of voters agree with the way they run things.

      The whiners on this, and other, boards are in the minority.

      • Elmer

        Translation: Votes can be bought and its so easy when your spending other peoples money to do it.

        • speonjosh

          There’s nothing you can do with cynicism like this.

      • Arlimprovements

        We are only at the beginning of this affordable housing crap being pushed down our throats. Let’s see if Arlington is such a great SAFE and CLEAN neighborhood years down the pike. We really should be going the opposite direction…

        The Board has gotten ridiculous.

  • GoArl

    This location discrimination is unfathomable. The people who were lucky enough to have subsidized housing near the metro, now have subsidized mortgages. The other poor people are getting a raw deal. (yes, 86k+4people=poor in my book)

    STILL, this is better use of my tax dollars than the ridiculous art center in Rosslyn or the shelter for sex offenders in Courthouse.

    • Plunkitt

      “STILL, this is better use of my tax dollars than the ridiculous art center in Rosslyn or the shelter for sex offenders in Courthouse”

      How about if they left those dollars with you rather than raising our taxes ??

  • Lilmisstilly

    I have no problem with public art, green buildings and community planning or working with the low income families to create affordable housing. What I DO have a problem with are the types of people that are in Buckingham Village and how they will be given hand-outs for 100% fully funded, single-family home ownership. Have any of you even been to Buckingham Village? It is neglected and abused by the tenants. There are broken windows, trash, abandoned cars, incapacitated drunk people passed out on the steps and sleeping in the bushes. These are the types of people that will be given huge cash subsidies to purchase a home? Really well thought our Arlington. Sometimes I wonder if all the yuppies that are voting for this crap actually understand what they are voting for.

    • Elmer

      But the yuppies do know what they are voting for: They need to have those folks here so they don’t have to get their hands dirty doing household and yard chores, babysitting their kids, etc.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list