Housing Market in Buyer’s Favor

A legislative column by Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I—Pulaski)

According to the New York State Association of Realtors, low interest rates and low housing prices continued in early spring. Though our economy continues to struggle, these low rates and affordable prices make it a good time to buy a house. I wanted to take some time this week to explain a few of the more popular programs available, especially to first-time home buyers. On top of low interest rates, state and federal governments continue to manage several home owner programs.

Late last week the Governor signed a bill that allows municipalities to continue a tax exemption for first-time home buyers of newly constructed homes. Oswego County is one of nine counties in the state that offers this partial real property tax exemption. I was happy to support this legislation in the Assembly. The program will continue until 2016. This is good news for those who have recently built or purchased a new home or will do so in the near future.

Many other programs exist for aspiring home owners, most of which can be found at New York State’s Homes and Community Renewal website at http://www.nyshcr.org/. At the top of the site’s homepage, users may click on the drop down menu next to the question, “What are you looking for?” Within that menu, users can scroll through various programs available under a number of topics which include resources for those who are buying a house for the first time or those looking to purchase income property.

Here are a few more popular mortgage programs facilitated through the state and federal government:

· Homes for Veterans Program: A program specifically designed for military veterans. Allows a qualified veteran to apply for any SONYMA program with more favorable terms.

· Remodel New York: First-time homebuyers can buy an existing home and finance the cost of renovating it with one, fixed-rate mortgage. Incentive is provided to those buyers looking to purchase within a “target area.” Target areas can be found within Onondaga and Oswego counties, which are detailed on this site.

· Achieving the Dream: Features lower interest rates than other SONYMA programs. Available to lower income first-time homebuyers who are able to afford a sizable down payment. Other incentives within this program apply for newly constructed and energy efficient homes.

· Construction Incentive Program: First-time homebuyers can use this program to buy a home under construction or rehabilitation.

· Low-Interest Rate Program: SONYMA’s standard mortgage program, specifically for a first-time homebuyer purchasing a newly constructed or existing home.

Prospective buyers may also want to consult their local bank or credit union to see if additional programs are offered. Some aforementioned programs work in conjunction with savings plans through these institutions. There are also local offices available to help people determine which programs they may qualify for. In Oswego County, contact Oswego Housing Development Council, Inc., 2971 County Route 26, P.O. Box 147, Parish, (315) 625-4520 or visit http://ohdcinc.org/index.html. In Onondaga County, there are two offices: Home Headquarters, Inc., 124 East Jefferson St., Syracuse, (315) 474-1939 x235; and Housing Visions Unlimited, Inc., 1201 East Fayette St., Syracuse, (315) 472-3820.

Many municipalities also maintain Community Development offices. The City of Oswego’s can be reached at (315) 343-3795, or visit http://www.oswegony.org/DEPT_development.html. The City of Fulton Community Development office can be reached at (315) 593-7166 or visit http://fultoncda.com/. Onondaga County’s Community Development office can be reached at (315) 435-3558 or visit http://www.ongov.net/cd/. Folks may also call the Oswego County Community Development office at 349-3282 or visit http://www.co.oswego.ny.us/planning/house.html.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185. You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.