Cincinnati Port faces hurdles in selling its massive $15M housing portfolio; here’s what officials are doing
It’s been more than a year since the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority took the risky step of borrowing to buy a $14.5 million, 194-home portfolio of single-family houses, removing the possibility that Wall Street-backed investors would buy them and raise the rent.
the homes themselves are in worse condition than expected, said Phil Denning, the Port’s executive vice president. The Port got to see about 30 of them before it closed on the deal. They may have been the best looking ones.
The quasi-governmental agency believed about 10 of the homes were vacant. The number is actually closer to 64, meaning the Port is collecting less rent that can be used to service the bonds it sold to buy the portfolio.
The Port had hoped to spend about $25,000 rehabilitating the homes, but the average so far has been $68,865. Problems run the gamut, including aging roofs, substandard electrical systems, no air conditioning, problems with sewage pipes.
The Port plans to sell them to families making 120% or less of the area-median income, with the provision that they must be owner occupied for the first five years after the sale.
Potential buyers also must prepare for homeownership by going through financial training and saving the money needed for a down payment, as well as navigating an environment of increased interest rates likely to persist for the time being.
“It will be a real highlight as time goes on,” Bush said. “This is a real opportunity for people who couldn’t outbid the investors but who are ready and interested and want to move forward in purchasing a home that they can afford.”
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