Meghan McCann, a sales representative for a wine and liquor company, has spent more than a year looking for a house in Columbia County, in the northern Hudson Valley, where she was born and raised.
Ms. McCann, 39, who grew up in Copake Falls, less than 10 minutes from the town of Hillsdale, where she currently rents with her fiancé, Joseph Walters, said she was preapproved for a $270,000 mortgage, but “it wasn’t enough.” Every house she and Mr. Walters looked at sold within two weeks for prices that beggared belief.
Now they are budgeting up to $350,000, or maybe more, in hopes of finding a small property on a few acres that they expect will probably have foundation problems or a leaky roof. Though it helps that Mr. Walters is in construction, this wasn’t what they had bargained for.
“We don’t want to have to do a lot of work,” Ms. McCann said, pointing out that the cost of building materials has recently skyrocketed, making a fixer-upper a more serious investment. “We want to go out to dinner and take vacations.”
Housing Action Plan, a report released this month by Ulster County, describes a crisis that was years in the making but sharply exacerbated by the pandemic. It found that in two-thirds of the county’s municipalities, a family earning “a typical income” could afford fewer than 10 percent of the homes that were on the market last fall. Among its recommendations is investigating scattered sites and buildings that could be developed and repurposed for residential use. Next year, construction will begin where a jail now stands in Kingston to create 80 units each of senior and work force housing affordable to people making between 30 and 130 percent of the median income in the area.
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