Home Building Continues for Habitat

While private home builders are languishing in a housing market slowdown, the nonprofit group Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven is expecting to complete more houses this year.

With the group doing the home building for middle to low-income families and with more families asking for help to stop foreclosure, the group is now in a good position to acquire properties at a low price.

Four or five years ago many people, invested in foreclosed homes when there were lesser affordable homes in the inventory. Many invested in abandoned houses, hoping to renovate them and resell them for a nice, quick profit. Habitat then shifted gears and went into house building instead of gutting and renovating property.

Presently, there are again lots of foreclosed properties in the market, and Habitat is back in the game. This year, the group is expecting the completion of eight houses. According to Habitat, they are also planning for the construction of three single-family homes on recently purchased lots. The houses have been described as “green-built” homes and are expected to be completed in the coming spring.

Another organization, the Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven, has the same aims as Habitat – to provide affordable homes to families in need and to help stabilize neighborhoods in the inner city. So far, Habitat has complete construction of 60 homes while NHS has averaged 10-12 homes yearly.

Habitat sells its houses at around $85,000, with the cost running to up to $115,000. The volunteers then raise money to offset the difference.

These groups still face quite a challenge though since the economy has failed to recover. Even though there are affordable homes in the market, people are still afraid to buy in the current economic conditions. There have been instances also of the group being outbid by some investors.

On a positive note, New Haven has now changed city policies from the demolition of abandoned homes to supporting groups in their home building and rehabilitation efforts.

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