LAKEWOOD, Ohio — While experts predict another busy real estate market in 2022, one community is continuing its plan to ensure more available affordable homes by putting a little bit of fate into their own hands.
Lakewood’s HOME Program has been around for years but has seen renewed interest as the city remains one of the most sought-after areas for real estate.
“Lakewood is probably one of the most competitive markets in Northeast Ohio,” realtor Haley Turner said.
Between bidding wars, rising home prices, and new tactics from home buyers, buying a home in 2021 was no easy feat, regardless of where you were looking.
“I do still see people waiving inspections, writing appraisal bridges,” realtor Haley Turner said. “It’s not abnormal for a house priced at $250,000 for someone to pay $30,000 over asking price. It’s really not.”
However, don’t expect to find those tactics used for this Birdtown neighborhood home, which is a new build priced just above $200,000 with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
“It’s a really rare opportunity for new construction at this price point. there’s really nothing else like it,” Turner said.
Data fromMLS Now, the realty listing service throughout Northeast Ohio, shows 2021 ended with 4% more homes sold than in 2020, and an average sale price up 11% compared to the previous year.
The house is just the latest in the HOME program, which offers affordable housing to homebuyers who fall under a certain income.
What makes these home deals different is the city gives preference to first-time home buyers, the homes cannot sell over asking price, no cash offers are accepted, and buyers must show a commitment to living in Lakewood for at least ten years.
"That's a very important component of this program," Lakewood Mayor Meghan George said. "We don't want to be selling to someone that's going to flip the house soon."
Mayor George explained that the program is funded with federal dollars and priced based on several factors.
"[We use] a combination of comparable sales in the neighborhood and estimating the payment of a 1-3 person household and what they can afford using federal rules,"she added. "We want to level the playing field for homebuyers from all walks of life and all income levels."
According to the City of Lakewood, these are the latest income guidelines for those looking to qualify:
Additionally, homeowners must be able to put down 1.5% of the purchase price, and cannot have owned a home within the last three years.
To learn more about the program and how to qualify,click here.
News 5 has learned that this specific home, which went on the market in the past week, has already received multiple offers.