East End towns consider plan to ease burden on potential homebuyers

Recent interest rate hikes are making finding a house that's affordable to the average Long Islander even harder.

News 12 Staff

Jul 29, 2022, 2:40 AM

Updated 687 days ago

Share:

Recent interest rate hikes are making finding a house that's affordable to the average Long Islander even harder.
Mattituck native Veronica Stelzer is just one who is working part-time jobs, in addition to being a full-time guidance counselor during the school, to try to afford a home.
"I want to a home - just like my family did," Stelzer says.
A proposed plan in eastern Suffolk County is looking to ease the burden on those looking to purchase homes.
Currently, anyone buying a house or property on the East End has to pay an extra 2% on the purchase price. That money is given to the towns, and they use it to buy farmland and other open space.
It's a program that has been in place for decades - but now New York is giving people the option to charge 2.5% on the purchase price with the extra .5% going to affordable housing programs.
"There hasn't been an emphasis on home ownership for some time now," says Southhold Town Supervisor Scott Russell. "Apartments were more efficient - bigger bang for your buck. But now if there's revenue coming in - we can get back and revisit those old ideas, home ownership for young families, maybe grants to purchase homes."
The housing situation also affects businesses that are reliant on tourism. Seasonal employees who work for hotels, restaurants and wineries have been priced out of the housing market - and are having trouble finding rentals.
Chris Richards, owner of CJ's American Grill in Mattituck, says to attract season workers, some business owners would buy or rent houses for their workers to live in.
"Prior to COVID, the North Fork is where I could probably buy a house and do that and help out some of my workers," Richards says. "But now I can't afford a house out here myself - so how is one of my hard-working regulars, locals - how are they supposed to afford a house out here?"
All five East End towns are eligible to join the program that was approved by the state. They have several more weeks to opt in.
The issue would then go before voters in each town in November.


More from News 12