Thursday, October 12, 2006

hOMe improvement...

The Oakland Mills Village Board has been buying and renovating older homes in hopes of luring "young professionals" to the village (as if the Mexican Coke wasn't enough). As I've said before, I generally like this program, but I can't help but pause when seeing the prices. The first home offered for sale was listed at $340,000, and the second home on the list cost $350,000 and they plan to spend $175,000 on renovations, pushing the likely listing price north of half a million dollars.

I'm a young professional, as are most of my friends. Although there are a few who make the kind of money that allows them to buy such houses, the majority of my peers (I think) are looking for houses priced considerably lower. Maybe my friends and I are just low rent.

I don't really want to belabor this point. I generally think OMVB is doing a good thing with this program, even if they could just let the market work on its own, allowing young professionals to buy these houses and renovate themselves. Also, I think they could seek grant funding or some other way to help subsidize the purchase price.

But I don't want to be a wet blanket.

Actually, the real reason I linked to this article is because of his quote from the county's housing director, Leonard Vaughan.

"Oakland Mills is one of the older villages," he added. "Some of the houses look like mobile homes. They are on great lots, but the houses were built to be affordable. People have done a great job in keeping them up. What we're trying to do is take it to the next level."
Hey, he's talking about my house. So what if it looks like a mobile home, anyway? What's wrong with that? What are you trying to say?

It's small, fun, affordable and way cooler than your house, Vaughan. See?

It was also featured in Better Homes and Gardens or Good Housekeeping or something like that in the early 1970s as an example of modern living. Can you say that about your house?


dwk said...

I think it is a great house. When is the party?

iandanger said...

With the cost of houses in this area, offering homes at less than three hundred thousand dollars would be low cost housing half the time. My parents bought their house ten years ago and paid in between a hundred fifty and two hundred thousand for it. In that time it has more than double in value. We live in a crappy townhouse, the single family homes are worse by far!

There are half a million and million dollar homes all over this area, and thats becoming the norm. Is that a bad thing? I think so, it will worry me more when we institute something like what Japan hse, namely multigeneraltional loans.

Still, the cost if living is high enough that, even if I wanted to stay in Maryland instead of traveling the world, I would most likely not upon completing college.

Hayduke said...

DWK: Probably in the spring...a one-year-late housewarming party. Don't worry, the blogosphere will get an invite...

ian: I've never considered my parents to be rich, but after selling their house recently I'm starting to wonder. Granted, much of their retirement will be funded by the equity they gained just by living in Howard County.

I know in England they have 40-year mortgages, which might be appropriate for younger homebuyers. But if I was above 40, I probably wouldn't want to be taking on that kind of obligation.

HoCo Exile said...

I also am happy to see this kind of program, but as a young professional myself these prices are out of my range, which amazes me. I am a product of the Hoco school system which helped me move onto a college degree and now a respectable salary. But these prices, and most in Columbia, are out fo my range. What is more worrying is the increase in prices over the last 5 years in condos, which in Columbia should be a starter home. Pre-2001 that was true, since then these prices have increased dramatically. And that is why I am an exile from my home county--I can't afford to return to where I grew up.