Morgantown Homecoming Program Brings Affordable Single-Family Housing to Morgantown

IMG_1528The house on Overdale Street is starting to come together.

A fresh coat of paint went on recently, and the new kitchen is almost fully installed. Upstairs, the bedrooms have new windows that provide quaint views of the surrounding neighborhood.

The house, which was once a rental unit comprised of three separate apartments, is being renovated to sell as a single-family home, thanks to the Morgantown Homecoming Program.

Morgantown Homecoming is a section of the Fairmont-Morgantown Housing Authority that has been buying houses and old rental units over the past several years and converting them to single-family homes in an effort to revitalize neighborhoods just outside of campus and attract young professionals and families.

“People who are working in our area have difficulty finding affordable housing, primarily because of the demand and the competition from student housing here in town,” said John Martys, Executive Director of the Fairmont-Morgantown Housing Authority Home Ownership Center.

With an ever-increasing student body at WVU comes more opportunity to convert larger homes, like the one on Overdale, into multi-unit rentals, he explained. This creates hardship on the market for single-family homes available to working adults and denies ownership opportunities.

That’s where Morgantown Homecoming comes in.

“We turn it around,” Martys said. “We actually buy the units that were rental units and convert them back to IMG_1526single occupancy homes.”

These homes have deed restrictions that keep buyers from converting the houses back into rental units. They are targeted towards families and residents who want to become long-term members of the Morgantown community.

Morgantown Homecoming houses market in the $200,000 range, making payments a manageable $1,000 or so each month.

The program is also planning to break ground on two new homes in the Wiles Hill area. These houses will appeal to young buyers through amenities like off-street parking, energy efficient appliances and unique architectural designs, Martys said.

A plan to create financial incentives for contractors and developers to build new single-family homes is also in the works, he said.

“We’re focusing on bringing families back to Morgantown.”

For more information about Morgantown Homecoming, contact the Fairmont-Morgantown Housing Authority at 304-212-8575 or go to morgantownhomecomingwv.com.