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Arlington non-profit preserves affordability of six two-family homes

Posted on February 15, 2005

With two-family home prices rising every day, the Housing Corporation of Arlington (HCA) has bought and renovated six two-family homes into 12 affordable rental apartments, thanks in part to financing from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP).

The $3.9 million effort comes at a time when prices for multi-family homes have risen dramatically.  Banker & Tradesman reported in its February 14 edition that the median price of a two-family home in Massachusetts has jumped from $160,000 to $319,000 since 2000. In Arlington, two-family homes are now selling for over $600,000.

“With these prices, it’s getting so you need to make over $100,000 just to live here,” said HCA Director David Levy. “What these apartments mean is that working people and people with long-standing ties to Arlington will be able to stay here.”

HCA started buying and renovating two-family properties in 1991. It now owns 14 two-family homes and rents 28 apartments. Rents for the new apartments will range from about $950 to $1,050 per month. 

“HCA is a strong advocate for housing in Arlington,” said MHP executive director Clark Ziegler. “They know what the community needs, they have a good plan and they have the support of the town, which is always crucial to getting things done.”

MHP is committing to HCA $1.1 million in first-mortgage financing and an $875,000 deferred-payment second mortgage at zero percent interest. In addition, HCA is receiving $1 million from the town of Arlington through the Community Development Block Grant program; and $932,000 in federal HOME funds from the North Suburban Consortium, a seven-town collaborative that receives and disburses federal funds for housing. Cambridge Savings Bank provided initial acquisition financing so HCA could purchase the properties.

A community development corporation since 1986, HCA has approximately 100 members from the community, its congregations and businesses. Some of its members helped renovate the properties, doing such tasks as yard work and painting. “Our membership put a lot of sweat and effort into this,” said Levy.

MHP is a public non-profit affordable housing agency that uses private bank funds to provide long-term loans for affordable rental housing. Bank transactions like Bank of America’s purchase of Fleet Bank trigger the state statute that funds MHP. Since 1991, MHP has provided or committed $398 million in loans for the financing of over 11,000 rental units, most of them for low and moderate income households.
“MHP is a true community lender,” said Levy. “Many financing sources talk about investing in suburban communities, but MHP delivers, and Arlington is grateful because these affordable housing opportunities will be available for generations to come.”

For more information, call MHP at 617-330-9944 x227.