The families of 10 Fairfax County employes are moving into new homes they bought at reduced prices under a special county-sponsored housing program.
The program, called Moderate Income Direct Sales (MIDS), is designed to relieve the shortage of medium-priced homes in affluent Fairfax County, where the median income is $28,500 and the median price of a home is $64,500.
The 10 families, who were selected from among 60 eligible county employes in a drawing last August, are moving into newly built townhouses in Burke Manor, a development of 65 townhouses in the rapidly growing Burke area of Springfield. The average market price of the three-bedroom townhouses is $44,500. Each of the county employes bought homes for $36,404.
The 10 townhouses are the first lower-cost homes offered by the county under the program. Fairfax County's Redevelopment and Housing Authority plans to sell 62 homes in other locations at reduced prices to other moderate-income families within the year, said spokeswoman Diedre Coyne. Future sales will not be limited to county employes, she said.
"It's almost too good to be true, I feel very, very lucky," said one of the new home owners, a computer programmer who earns $16,000 a year.
The young woman, who has two children, said she preferred to remain unnamed.
"I don't have anything to be ashamed of," she said, "but I understand how somebody across the street might feel when they bought their home for the full price and we got one for less.
"I'm a young person on my own. I just hope they (her neighbors) are open enough to understand we are county employes and responsible people."
The woman said she would not have been able to buy a home for several years if it had not been for the program, "and even then it would have been tight." She said she had been renting a house in Fairfax City for $250 a month. The employees made a down payment of $900 each and pay $285 a month in mortgage payments.
The idea of making the townhouses available to county employes came from an interfaith church group called Congregations United for Shelter (CUFS). In 1969, the group began seeking lower-cost housing for moderate-income families but most of the efforts failed, an organization official said.
Developer Richard T. Wright, of Wright (Wright, of Wright Properties) Properties Inc., recalled that the firm with which he was then associated entered into an agreement with CUFS which eventually led to the building of 10 town-houses to be sold at lower cost to moderate-income families of county employes. The agreement stipulated that the builder would offer the 10 units if CUFS would handle the details of the sales.
CUFS supported the builder'sapplication to build townhouses at a higher density than called for in the originally approved zoning.
CUFS approached the county redevelopment and housing authority to arrange financing for the families and learned of the moderate-income housing program, said CUFS president Carol Swift.
Among he new homeowners are five young couples with children, three single parents, one couple with older children and one foreign family. All the families had been renting homes. Their incomes range from $12,000 and $18,500.
County employes were notified of the program last August through flyers placed in their paychecks. Sixty-five emloyes applied for the program. The names of the 60 eligible employes were placed in a large cardboard box from which 10 names were drawn August 8.
"It was almost like a TV game show," said the young woman who was the sixth person selected. "It was the most suspenseful thing I've ever been to."
The state through the Virginia Housing and Development Authority, holds a first mortgage of $31,600 on each of the townhouses at a 7 percent interest rate a year. The county, through the Redevelopment and Housing Authority, holds a second mortgage of $3,904 at a 7 percent interest rate.
The county employes do not have to pay any of the principal or interest on the county's second mortgage unless the employes sell their homes. The second mortgage could be transfered to the new buyer under the same conditions if the buyer also is a moderate-income person eligible for the housing program.
The second mortgage, in effect, amounts to a county subsidy of the 10 townhouses of $39,040, the spokesman said.
If any of the homeowners chose to sell within five years they must give first option to CUFS and the Redevelopment and Housing Authority. The selling price can be no more than the original price plus a 5 percent cost-of-living increase each year. After five years the homeowners may sell on the open market but they would have to repay the second mortgage if they do not sell to a moderate-income family.