DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Economic Development and Housing Committee approved a plan Monday to sell 30 lots that have been vacant and tax delinquent for years to a developer to build new, affordable single-family houses.

It’s all part of the city’s Land Bank Program, which reopened this year after sitting idle for two years.

If approved by the full city council next Wednesday, April 24th, the city will sell the 30 lots to Confia Homes.

Each of the lots cost $2,000 or less.

David Drury, manager of the city’s Land Bank Program said, “This is really a great way for the city to take unproductive land, put it back into production, and create affordable housing with this program all at one time.”

The city needs 20,000 affordable housing units, whether single-family homes or apartment rentals.

“We’ve got a crisis in affordable housing in the city of Dallas and we’re underway to start to make a dent in that number,” said Drury.

If approved by council members, Drury said Confia will build the houses homes for roughly $150,000 to $180,000.

The city requires Confia and other developers who take part in the program to sell to families of four earning about $77,000 a year.

The developers are capped to making 15% profit.

Drury said, “In general terms, we stay below that 15% margin which is part of the key to making these homes affordable, that these developers aren’t making a huge profit on these developments and on these homes.”

Confia Homes executives, CEO Ricardo Alonso and President Kenneth Roberts said they want to give back to the community.

“It provides a tremendous opportunity and it’s our goal from a company perspective to provide quality housing to the citizens of Dallas one lot, one house, and one family at a time,” said Roberts.

Omayra Flores bought a house from Confia Homes two years ago as part of the Land Bank Program. “Being a first time homebuyer is amazing.”

Flores says she and her husband spent a year looking for a house they could afford before they discovered the program. “It is really difficult at the time to find a property, a location that you feel comfortable with.”

They bought the nearly 1,300 square foot house for $120,000.

Her house was one of 17 Confia built two years ago as part of the program.

Flores said Confia Homes helped them far more than if they had just bought a home on their own. “Kind-of guiding you step by step what to do, what is expected as a homeowner or soon to be.”

Drury said in January of this year, the city sold 51 vacant, tax delinquent lots to five developers.
In all, he says the city hopes to sell a total of 200 lots to developers by the end of this fiscal year, September 30.

Roberts said, “Our goal is to get as many of the 200 as we can.”

Since the Land Bank Program began about ten years ago, 400 affordable homes have been built.

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