Soldotna to buy HUD home, then transfer title

Posted: Wednesday, October 18, 2000

The city of Soldotna will own a home on Beluga Avenue for about one minute today. The city is taking part in a double transfer of the home's title by buying the home for $1, plus closing costs, and then turning it over to Kenai Peninsula Housing Initiatives for resale.

The conveyance was made possible under a new Clinton administration program called the $1 Home Sales to Local Governments Program, where the federal Housing and Urban Development agency sells select homes to municipalities for transfer to nonprofit housing organizations.

Paul Johnson, a community representative for HUD in Anchorage, initiated the transfer with a call to KPHI.

"Through an initiative from the secretary (of HUD, Andrew Cuomo), if a home is exposed to the marketplace for six months and does not sell, we can convey it to units of local government for $1, so they can reconvey it to local housing nonprofits," Johnson said.

HUD received this home after paying off the defaulted mortgage to a bank.

"We pay off and reclaim property, but sometimes they don't sell, for whatever reason," Johnson said.

The three-bedroom, two-bath house on Beluga, not far from Redoubt Avenue, has been on the market since January of this year, Johnson said.

It's the second home in Alaska that has been transferred to a municipality under the program. The first was a home the Kodiak Island Borough bought and conveyed to Habitat for Humanity for rehabilitation, Johnson said.

Kristin Lambert, of KPHI, said the Beluga Avenue home does not need a lot of work.

"It's not in as bad shape as I expected it to be," she said. "I'm surprised it didn't sell, which is a good thing for us."

Under the program, the home must be sold to low-income, first-time buyers. However, KPHI does not intend to sell it at a greatly reduced price.

"It's not our intent to give someone a cheap house," Lambert said. "We intend to take the revenue and multiply it to use as matching funds for grants."

Lambert said the organization is debating whether to try and sell the home quickly, or to move its offices into it for the winter and sell it in the spring.

She said a buyer would have to make $25,000 a year to qualify for a loan for the house, which is valued at $85,000.

"The low-income standard for a family of four is $42,000, so we could probably sell it for full price and still sell to a low-income family," she said.

Lambert said KPHI would eventually like to run a home rehabilitation program throughout the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

"There are many people here living in way substandard houses," she said. "We've got to make our community better."

The double title transfer will take place at 1 p.m. today at Southcentral Title Agency in Soldotna.

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