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Affordable Housing
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Paula    Posted 10-17-2003 at 06:57:03       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Now that I'm up to my elbows with construction loans
and the like, I have to say it seems that the lack of
affordable housing is artificially maintained by
economic treachery - at least here in Maryland.

1. Frederick county average cost of a single family
home $250k. (the Gazette says between 200k and
300k so I took an average. I don't know the median
cost off the top of my head but seem to recall that its in
the 100ks.

2.Average cost of building lots in Frederick Country
from my observations is about $60k an acre.

3. Frederick county just increased its impact fees (plus
city hook up to water and sewer, etc, transfer tax) to a
little less than $20k.

Not one of these costs has much to do with the actual
construction costs of a house! Further, from my own
experience the stumbling blocks of appraising a small
house (no comps) and finding a builder or architect
willing to design and construct a small house are not

So realistically, in order to build a house in frederick
county you need about $300k - lot, fees, construction
costs and builder mark up. God help you.

So what was formerlly a bedroom community for those
who worked in DC is now looking for its own bedroom
community. People like me who work for a living -
make 40 or 50k a year - must commute an hour from
Pennsylvania or West Virginia if we want to even
approach the dream of building a home. My $150k
budget for house and lot would not have even put me in
a decent townhouse.

You want to see: get on Long and Foster and do a
search for a 3bdr house in Frederick County for

Okay, nuff ranting.

screaminghollow    Posted 10-17-2003 at 13:22:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
Here in my neck of York County, the township is so anti-development that we can't get a grocery store put in after the other was flattened and turned into a gas station. From Red Lion, PA down to the Maryland state line, there are no grocery stores, (22 miles with a population of about 20,000.) It makes no sense. They are just as wacko about building houses. A farm under 100 acres can't be cut into two, even if it already has two houses and barns on it. Yet the neighboring township is paving a tract building everything in sight. The end result is that we pay school tax for the next door township's kids to go in our school district. Since the appraisals are based on house and lot size, the farmers in our township get screwed with higher taxes based on the demand for land in the next door municipality. The guys who sit on the township board, barely graduated highschool. Several of us have tried to explain that some limited business development would help our tax base Like the grocery store everybody needs. They just won't listen. They passed a noise ordinance, which applies only to non-agricultuarl activities. Can't play yer stereo loud any time, but you can run the huge tractor at 2:00 am through the developments without any mufflers and no one can say a word.

You're all justa...    Posted 10-17-2003 at 12:05:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
Bunch O Frednecks!



screaminghollow    Posted 10-17-2003 at 08:34:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
And ten years ago, folks in Adams County, PA, where your moving to could get affordable housing for 40 to 50 K. The Frederickites have run up the realestate here as well. A word of caution to you Paula, PA has no functional building codes. Contractors are not licensed or even regulated by the government in PA. Any idiot with a hammer can be a contractor. In Maryland they have building inspectors to protect you, contractors are both licensed and bonded, so if they screw up, the homeowner can have their license yanked/and collect damages from the bonding company if the contractor declares bankrupty. Trying to get a house constructed in PA,is truly "buyer beware, watch yer back and cover yer butt." I have represented people who (for whatever reason,) paid the entire contruction price up front and never saw the contractor again. The Pa state office of consumer affairs is virtually worthless in these cases. Check out your contractor carefully, make sure the BOCA Code is followed, even if you have to hire your own inspector. I have seen some dangerous shortcuts by "knowledgeable" contractors up here. I am sure you did your homework,

Paula    Posted 10-17-2003 at 09:17:51       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Thanks for the information. Information is always good.
Yes I checked out a few builders and asked my realtor
about them. One, whose name I shan't mention,
caused such candor from my realtor friend - she says
she WILL NOT sell any of his houses as they are crap.
Interestingly enough, the seller didn't like him either
when I brought him out to the lot on his job interview
(yes, I interviewed builders). I didn't like him much
myself, he had no idea of most of the building concepts
I had in mind.

I settled with a builder out of Chambersburg. Thanks
for the suggestion of hiring my own inspector. I will
definitely do that.

As for the building costs increase: Overpriced housing
is like a virus that just spreads. It's effects are felt for
counties and states around. Now that there's noise
about building a connector highway from Adams county
to Rte 15 (Emmitsburg is complaining about traffic
congestion and anticipates at least one more large
subdivision) property prices will soar.

What can be done? In my search for either a home or
property I've gone as far as Aspers and York Springs,
PA. I think unless the bottom falls out of the market
(and I don't expect it will), we'll be commuting hours like
folks in California. I mean right now there is virtually
NO decent housing in Frederick for under $200k. and
that's not even with any kind of property at all.


bulldinkie    Posted 10-17-2003 at 12:26:49       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Paula,Youre in my neck of the woods.There is a co.that puts modulars in some pretty nice ones.Capecods,ranchers,2 storys.You can get different loans,low income,grants.

Paula    Posted 10-17-2003 at 12:33:47       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thanks bulldinkie. But I've already started the process.
I've designed a small house, have a builder, am getting
a construction loan. Hopefully we'll be closing at the
end of the month.


big fred    Posted 10-17-2003 at 14:25:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
Paula, I designed and built our small (720 sq ft) house myself, managed to come in at about $35K or so for the house, maybe another 10k for septic, etc. I found that with a small house, I could easily build it myself (and I really mean myself, I had help pouring the foundation and hired out the shingles and drywall mud, but otherwise it was just me) because none of my walls were too heavy to for me to lift into place. It took me 6 years, since it was a pay-as-you-go proposition, but now my wife and I have lived there for about 5 years and love it. Is it too small? Nope, it's just right for the two of us, and I have a fully furnished office in my garage, so guests can stay there quite comfortably and I don't disturb them when I get up at 4:30 to head to work. Good luck to you with your small house.

Paula    Posted 10-19-2003 at 09:47:07       [Reply]  [Send Email]
You're an inspiration BigFred. Thank you.


y'all hit some nerves    Posted 10-17-2003 at 09:15:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'm a relatively long-term resident Frederick county resident (my barber would disagree, but...) as the Army moved me here 16 years ago and I haven't left yet.

First off: housing is less affordable now than just a couple of years ago, but there is affordable, quality housing here. What is very expensive are building lots and new "mac-homes" and that is due to speculators buying up farms the last 5 years or so. Early on, farmers sold their places for a pittance and some speculator would sell it a few months later for millions. The county government, with the exception of 2 commissioners, are firmly in the pocket of the realtors and builders. city folks are moving here by the tens of thousands, demanding sidewalks and more roads and starbucks and driving up all costs.

About the building inspectors and codes: they're crap! The big builders build how they want, and from what I've seen are not inspected (or if they are, somebody is paying them off!). The inspectors merely are there to harrass "Harry Homeowner" who is building his/her own place or addition. the new houses that are so expensive are poorly built, in some cases dangerous, and those codes and inspectors didn't help one whit!!

The affordable and better quality housing is in older houses. You can still buy a very affordable "fixer upper" for a good price. My own house is 100 year old farmhouse on 19+ acres, and I wouldn't trade it for anything new in the county. Has taken me lots of time and sweat to make it livable, and it isn't near done yet, but....

anyway, that's my 2 cents.

Tom a

Paula    Posted 10-17-2003 at 09:21:08       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Tom I can't disagree with you there. The only way to
find any kind of affordable housing now is to rescue a
fixer upper before someone else does. It goes to my
argument in a previous thread where you either need to
be able to raise the funds or raise the roof.

I owned a duplex in town for a while simply because
rent is unreasonably high in Frederick - I might as well
pay a mortgage. It served its purpose, but I wanted
detached living, privacy and more space.

BTW, all those McMansion developments I call them
carbuncles: pustules on the landscape indicating an
underlying infection.


deadcarp    Posted 10-17-2003 at 07:47:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
same problem with silicon valley, seattle and i'm sure other places. in the 80s, foreign investors raped sydney australia that way -- they started buying property and sent demand/prices from about $30k to $200k, then cashed in everything and left the cab drivers with impossible house payments and the lenders in serious jeopardy. when housing gets that high, the only sensible answer for working people is to commute. otherwise the message becomes clear "dishwashers wanted, sleep under the stars" :)

Clod    Posted 10-17-2003 at 12:59:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have affordable houseing right now! My Dodge van! I agree..But politicians are funded by the folks who make houseing prices.

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