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New rule affects FD?townhome buys

More people eligible for Lincoln neighborhood units

November 2, 2012
By BILL SHEA, , Messenger News

A change in rules is making it possible for even more people to buy a new townhome in the Lincoln neighborhood of Fort Dodge.

The switch will allow the local government to sell two of the three units to people who earn up to 120 percent of the area median income, according to Vickie Reeck, the city's community development manager.

Under that standard, a family of four could have an income of up to $71,160 and qualify to buy one of the townhomes.

Each townhome has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The homes are located at 927 Fourth Ave. N., 322 N. 10th St. and 324 N. 10th St. One must be sold to an individual or family who earns up to 50 percent of the area median income.

Each townhome has an $80,000 asking price, according to Reeck. But she said the payments are based on what the buyer can afford.

Buyers must be able to get a mortgage from a traditional lender. Thanks to a forgivable second mortgage available from the city government, qualified buyers may need only $1,500 to $1,800 cash for closing costs to buy a home.

''The real excitement here is the opportunity for people that don't have a high enough income to buy a home in the traditional way to qualify to buy a quality home,'' said Rick Peters, a past president of the Fort Dodge Board of Realtors. ''When the city has taken these steps it creates an opportunity to have a lot of people have home ownership.''

Peters said the program would help those who have good credit but can't afford an $80,000 mortgage.

''As long as they're doing the right things to keep their credit in order, that's the key,'' he said.

The townhomes were constructed in 2010 and 2011 as part of the Lincoln neighborhood revitalization effort. The city received a $1.3 million federal grant to finance the neighborhood project. Some of that money was spent to build the townhomes. The use of that money meant that the city must sell the homes to people who meet income guidelines established by the federal government.

Initially, all of the units had to be sold to buyers whose income is equal to or less than 50 percent of the area median income.

In May, the federal government allowed the city to sell one unit to a buyer whose income is equal to or less than 120 percent of the area median income. Recently, permission was granted for two of the units to be sold at that income level.

The maximum allowable income to qualify under the 120 percent of median income requirement ranges from $49,920 for a single person to $93,960 for a family of eight.

To qualify under the 50 percent of area median income category, income can range from $20,800 for an individual to $39,150 for a family of eight.

''The purpose of building them was to try and stabilize the neighborhood and get owner-occupants,'' Reeck said.

Anyone interested in buying one of the townhomes can contact Reeck at 573-8321 or any local real estate agent.



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