Despite a concerted effort from multiple town boards and agencies, two affordable condominium units off Old Main Road have received little more than interest.
Maloney Properties, the Boston-based firm running the lottery for the condos, confirmed that as of Wednesday, September 25, it had not received a single application from prospective buyers.
Affordable housing lotteries offer a 60-day application period. The period for both condos opened on August 12 and closes on Friday, October 11. If Maloney Properties does not receive applicants by October 11, it will have to restart the process and remarket the units.
The development is situated along the Shining Sea Bikeway, within a mile of North Falmouth Elementary School, North Falmouth Library, and Wild Harbor General Store. It is near parks and beaches.
Janet Frazier, president and chief operating officer of Maloney Properties, pointed out that the condos are spacious, three-bedroom units with two bathrooms and off-street parking. “It’s an awesome opportunity,” she said.
“Folks who think they may be able to qualify should certainly contact the folks at Old Village,” said Town Planner Thomas Bott at the end of a public meeting on Tuesday, September 24. The meeting was broadcast by Falmouth Community Television.
Bobbi Richards, executive director of the Falmouth Housing Authority, wrote in an email that applications are available for pick-up at the front desk of the Falmouth Housing Authority office.
There has been interest in the units. As of September 24, Ms. Richards noted that a number of people had stopped by to take an application. “Additionally, a copy of the application was mailed to all of our state family housing units (25 total), in the event that any of those households were interested in pursuing an affordable home purchase,” she wrote.
Ms. Frazier said Maloney Properties took out ads in local newspapers and promoted the units on affordable housing listings online.
Maloney sent notice of the lottery out to 20,000 email addresses, said John Costello, Maloney Properties affordable housing manager. “We did that twice,” he added. Maloney also tried a method it had not used for other affordable housing lotteries, opting for a targeted Facebook ad to reach people in Falmouth who may be using social media.
Karen Bissonnette, executive director of the Falmouth Housing Trust, the monitoring agent for the property, said she had advertised the properties on FHT’s Facebook page, as well. “It’s frustrating,” she said. “The condos are huge.”
Northland Residential’s website notes the homes are “the perfect blend of quintessential Cape Cod architecture with open concept living.” They offer “light filled interiors, vaulted ceilings, fire-placed great rooms, and well-appointed kitchens,” the post reads.
Each unit costs $232,584. A $157 monthly condo fee is attached.
Applicants must qualify in a number of ways to enter into the lottery. They cannot make more than 80 percent of the area median income, which means earnings are capped at $51,250 for a single person household, $58,600 for a two-person household, $65,900 for a three-person household, and $73,200 for a four-person household. The applicant’s total assets cannot exceed $75,000.
Applicants are required to submit a letter of pre-approval for a mortgage as part of their application. “It’s very, very challenging for people to be able to get mortgages when they have that kind of income,” Ms. Bissonnette said, adding a number of local lenders are available to work with prospective lottery applicants.
The monthly condominium fee, on top of the mortgage, might break the bank for some individuals.
“It’s a numbers game,” said Alisa Magnotta, chief executive officer of the Housing Assistance Corporation. An individual’s income might fall within the specified guidelines, Ms. Magnotta said, but they still have to qualify for a mortgage and have funds for a down payment. A house might be “affordable” compared to other houses in the neighborhood, but not affordable to the buyers who qualify to purchase it.
Maloney Properties has handled a number of housing lotteries in the Greater Boston area, Ms. Frazier said. The real estate company was approached by Northland Residential to handle the lottery process for Village at Old Main. Maloney Properties will be working with Northland on another development in Wellesley, Ms. Frazier said. This is the first lottery it has held for a Cape Cod housing development.
The Village at Old Main has been in the works since 2016. Michael Solimando Jr. received a comprehensive permit from the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals in January of 2016 to construct an eight-unit 40B development. Two of the condominiums were to be income-restricted.
A year later, Mr. Solimando transferred ownership to Northland Residential Corporation, which sought to complete the project as permitted. Plans called for three new duplexes to the rear of the property, rehabilitation of one existing single-family home on Old Main Road and construction of one new single-family home on Old Main Road.
Construction is ongoing at the Old Main Road cul-de-sac.
Completed applications and mortgage pre-approval letters can only be submitted by mail. They must be postmarked no later than October 11 to be considered. Preference for both units will go toward applicants who work in Falmouth, live in Falmouth, or whose children attend school in Falmouth, Ms. Frazier said.
“At this point, if someone applied they would have a really good chance to get one of these properties,” Ms. Frazier said.