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Muskegon plans on building over 40 new homes for first time buyers

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Gone is the 'starter' home in the city, as officials look to change that

The problem, officials say as they work to transform the city of Muskegon: How can you attract new workers to the city if there is nowhere to live?

Affordable houses for first time buyers with FHA loans, and not a lot to put down up front, are scarce in the city and increasingly hard to come by, with many homes for sale being sold over the asking price and for cash—leaving recent college grads or new families with little chance of having their bid accepted.

Officials hope to change that, as the city plans to use $5 million of COVID-19 relief funds, and hoping to raise another $5 million from investors to construct over 40 homes on city owned vacant lots, with an average cost of around $250,000---a price point that commercial real-estate developers, are simply no longer building in the community.

Money for construction will come from the federal American Rescue Plan funds will be used to finance 50% of a builder’s construction costs as well as for down payment assistance for home buyers.

City officials say, the homes will not be just for those who can outright afford a $250,000 home. Which is why half are being reserved for people earning 125% or less of the area median income.