BALTIMORE — Crime, blight and flight.
Baltimore has its challenges, and for months, City Council President Nick Mosby, has been pushing a plan to offer legacy residents, those who have lived in the city for at least a decade, a chance to buy a vacant lot or home for just a dollar.
“In many of these communities, folks are paying a 1,000, 1,100 or 1,200 in rent when they literally could own the same properties or homes for 600, 700 and 800 dollars a month,” said Mosby.
In the heated housing market, Mosby says investors are grabbing up properties in the city, but he says if the city invests in the program, it could help level the playing field for low-to-moderate income buyers.
“The grant money, the repair grant bill, is still built in there to $50,000. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said the council president.
Critics of the proposal say the banks would balk at providing mortgages to completely renovate vacant homes.
But the non-profit, Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America or NACA, has thrown its support behind the measure.
“With the best mortgage in the country with no down payment, with no closing costs at a below-market, fixed rate. Today’s rate for a 30-year mortgage is 4.375, and we never consider one’s credit score. Just the payments that they control,” said NACA CEO & Founder Bruce Marks.
NACA says it could assist and finance 1,000 residents over the next 18 months, if only supporters can overcome the push back from the top down at City Hall.
“This is just an opportunity for the council to re-convene to talk about some of the concerns that came from the administration and that also came frankly from some council members and just really meet them head on,” said Mosby.