Eleven deeply discounted units currently available via lottery
(Somerville Wire) – In collaboration with two private developers, the City is currently offering 11 new condominium units for sale at below-market rates. The opportunity to apply for these homes is open to those who currently live in Somerville or work at least 32 hours per week in the city, who don’t currently own their home, and who meet income, asset, and other eligibility rules.
There are two tiers of eligibility: households with a combined annual gross income at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI); or income between 81 and 110 percent of the AMI. Those income limits are set by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). For a two-person household, those total gross incomes are currently $89,500 and $123,376, respectively.
Income is calculated based on the next 12 months, and includes all members of the household and all sources including wages, unemployment earnings, Social Security and disability benefits, child support, self-employment and gig work, assistance from family or friends, asset sales, and dividends or interest from assets.
The minimum household size is one person per bedroom. To apply for a three-bedroom unit, for example, the household must have at least three people. There may be exceptions for reasonable accommodation where there is a documented need for an additional bedroom.
Applications are being accepted now until Monday, August 1, at 2 p.m. For applicants deemed eligible, the opportunity to purchase one of these units will be determined via a lottery which will take place on Aug. 11.
Located within walking distance of Assembly Square, Winter Hill, and Sullivan Square, 60 Cross St. East boasts a shared courtyard, ground-level parking garage, a park in front of the building, and a community room with a lounge and kitchen. These amenities are accessible to all residents. All units come with a deeded parking space, which is included in the sales price. In-unit features include quartz kitchen countertops, ceramic tiled bathrooms, high ceilings, and oversized windows.
Nine below-market-rate units are available at 60 Cross St. East: two studios, four one-bedrooms, two two-bedrooms, and one three-bedroom. Five of the nine units are available to buyers whose income is no more than 80 percent of AMI. The other four units are reserved for those making between 81 and 110 percent of AMI.
For the studio unit reserved for buyers at 80 percent AMI, the sales price is $159,140. Minimum down payment is $4,774, and the initial condo fee is $44. For the studio unit for buyers at 110 percent AMI, the sales price is $222,343, minimum down payment is $6,670, and initial condo fee is $62.
For a two-bedroom condo at 80 percent AMI, the sales price is $193,212, minimum down payment is $5,796, and the initial condo fee is $53. For the two-bedroom at 110 percent AMI, the sales price is $271,831, minimum down payment is $8,245, and initial condo fee is $76.
At 109 Prospect St., two two-bedroom condos are available: one at 80 percent of AMI, and one at 81-110 percent AMI. This development is a short walk from both Inman Square and the new Union Square Green Line station. The building features a shared rooftop deck and ground-level parking garage. Units have high ceilings, large windows, private balconies, and kitchen islands.
For the two-bedroom condo at 109 Prospect St. at 80 percent AMI, the sales price is 194,611. For the two-bedroom at 110 percent AMI, the sales price is $277,293.
By way of comparison, 109 Prospect St. #205, a two-bedroom market-rate condo, is currently listed for $1,190,000.
In addition to the household income limit, there is a household asset limit of $75,000 (with certain exclusions). Applicants must be first-time homebuyers, defined as not having owned property or an interest in property within the last three years. Applicants need to be pre-approved for a 30-year fixed mortgage, and must have at least 3 percent of the purchase price available for a down payment, plus closing costs. And they must have completed a first-time homebuyer’s course by the date of the lottery.
The head of household may not be a full-time student, or in the case of two heads of household, both may not be full-time students. Household members can include a child who would reside in the unit at least 183 days a year, an unborn child in the third trimester by Aug. 1, and full-time students over 18 who are away attending college. Unrelated and unmarried persons applying together must have a history of living together.
For the lucky buyers, there will be deed restrictions to ensure that each unit remains affordable in perpetuity. If a buyer wishes to refinance or sell an affordable unit, the city must be notified. Resale prices are calculated by the city, not by market value, and are non-negotiable. The city can guarantee that the resale price will not be less than the initial sale price, but the resale price must be affordable in the same tier as the initial sale. The unit must be the buyer’s primary and principal residence, year-round, and cannot be rented short-term or long-term, in its entirety or by the room.
The application deadline is August 1 at 2 p.m. but applicants are encouraged to submit as soon as possible, as the Housing Division reviews applications as they are received. Applications can be submitted by email, fax, or US Mail, or dropped off at Somerville City Hall Annex. Once the application deadline has passed, only complete applications will be considered.
The lottery will take place on Thursday, Aug 11 at 2 p.m. Applicants do not need to be present at the lottery. The city will reach out to the winning households to complete income and asset verifications. Households will have about a week to submit follow-up data. Closing is usually about 45 days after the signing of a purchase and sales agreement.
Open Houses will be held at 60 Cross St. on Wednesday, July 13, from 6-8 p.m., and Saturday, July 23, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and at 109 Prospect St. on Saturday, July 16, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and Wednesday, July 20, from 6-8 p.m. Virtual Office Hours will be held on Thursdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Anyone interested in this program is encouraged to read all the details provided by the Somerville Inclusionary Housing Program.
Photo credit: Image courtesy 60 Cross St. East.
This article is syndicated by the Somerville Wire municipal news service of the Somerville News Garden project of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.
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Linda Pinkow is a reporter for the Somerville Wire. She is also a development consultant for the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.