UTICA, NY – Local realtors, landowners, city officials and community members attended the Downtown Community Forum meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss the Utica housing market.
Some issues discussed were affordable housing, people with buying options and the condition of homes in the area.
Downtown Community Forum co-chair Alyssa Spina says this discussion is important and timely.
“The housing market needs to make sure that we have the inventory to meet demand and that we have the services to identify the right housing,” Spina said.
One of the concerns of the Utica market is not having enough homes to buy. People in the community say the area does not have as many residential homes as it does rental properties.
“A lot of the new homes that come on the market are as rentals, and not necessarily as properties that people can buy, which can lead to a lack of commitment to ensuring that Utica is the best it can be.” , Spina said. noted.
Homeownership Center director Kristen Graves says there are more rental properties than homes.
“The homeownership rate is around just over 40 percent – the rest being rentals,” Graves said. “Right now we have different generations choosing the same house. So you have millennials going to the starting house, where you have your older generation whose families have moved out who are also going for that because they started at home because they are ‘downsizing.’
Another issue raised by those present at the meeting and members of the community is finding affordable housing.
“Maybe some of the housing available is not necessarily affordable for people looking for housing,” Spina said.
Graves says buying a home is also about being comfortable with the cost.
“Affordable housing is no bigger than you,” Graves said. “Understanding that to be in affordable housing, you spend about 30% of your median gross income. “
Buying old houses in the city also presents many challenges.
“The housing stock is much older, 80 percent built before 1978,” Graves said. “So with that you got asbestos, knobs and tubes, you got lead issues in the house, and lead pipes in the house. So it’s a lot to follow, to maintain, it weighs on the health issues, so we see a lot of issues with that.
Experts say the best thing to do is educate yourself before buying a home.
“Do your research and find out what you’re getting into, especially in the Utica area,” Graves said. “So it’s just about educating yourself, working with someone and knowing what resources are available.”
Graves says the Homeownership Center is a resource available to help educate homebuyers on what they can afford to buy and what it will cost in the long run to maintain the home.
The next downtown community forum will take place on May 7.