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CT residents learn about housing market before house hunting begins

Berkshire Hathaway real estate agent Kadji Anderson speaking (left) and Oksana Charla from the same company during an informational session for potential first time homebuyers at the East Hartford library. Nov 8, 2023
Abigail Brone
/
Connecticut Public
Berkshire Hathaway real estate agent Kadji Anderson speaking (left) and Oksana Charla from the same company during an informational session for potential first time homebuyers at the East Hartford library. Nov 8, 2023

Dozens of potential first-time homeowners gathered in the basement of East Hartford’s public library to learn from housing and financial advisors on mortgage requirements.

East Hartford resident Rebecca Betancourt and her husband want to buy a house for their family of seven after renting in a duplex for 14 years.

“Our biggest challenge has definitely been savings. It is really hard saving money, while also dishing out $1,500 on rent. I'm like, we are literally dishing out a mortgage every month,” Betancourt said.

For Betancourt, a change in her family’s job security allowed them to begin searching for a home.

Attendees heard from representatives of various financial and housing institutions, including Liberty Bank, Habitat for Humanity and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority. The experts instructed residents to research what types of benefits they may qualify for based on income level or occupation.

As Connecticut’s housing crisis continues, the meeting in East Hartford is one of various efforts underway to educate people about what it means to be a first-time homebuyer in today’s market.

“It was good to just get that reminder, because sometimes adulting starts adulting a little bit harder than usual, and we forget the resources that we actually have in our back pockets,” Betancourt said.

Fewer people are moving and inflation is causing the cost of construction to rise, leading to a bidding war on the few homes available.

In East Hartford, there are only 33 homes on the market, said Kadji Anderson, a local Berkshire Hathaway real estate agent.

Rather than sell their homes and downsize, middle-aged residents are opting to have family members move in, Anderson said.

“How do I take care of my kids? I invite them to come and live with me. Right? How do I take care of my parents? Can't put them in long term care, because it's $6,000 or $8,000 per month. I bring them into my home with me,” Anderson said. “So, you're stuck in your home. That means there's no homes on the market for sale.”

Housing experts also cited the Connecticut Housing Finance Authorities’ Time To Own Program, an interest-free, forgivable loan of up to $50,000 for first-time home buyers.

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.

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