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Saturday, April 12, 2003

But You Cannot Eat Your House

Todays New York Times takes a look a soaring home prices in the Northeast which, coupled with rising property taxes, are driving an increasing number of elderly from their homes and communities.

Sound familiar? The story doesnҒt mention Westport, but many Westporters will be able to identify with those who are cited. It says some communities provide relief to seniors by allowing them to work off part of their taxes. That has yet to be tried in Westport, which has a number of senior tax relief programs that are income-based.

The Times quotes one economist as saying: For the older people, their homes are rising in values, but their income is not rising. But you cannot eat your house.Ӕ

Update: Sundays New York Times reported that home buying has reached a feverish pitch in much of Fairfield County җ Norwalk is an exception fueled, brokers say, by declines in interest rates to 30-year lows, a shrinking of inventories and uneasiness over the war, a listless economy and a jumpy stock market.

The Times said Westport had 31 of the 56 building permits issued in February for the Stamford Labor Market, according to the state Department of Economic and Community Development. That includes Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Darien, Weston, Westport, Stamford and Wilton.

Last year only 36 permits were issued in February in the whole labor market. It is currently the only labor market showing an increase statewide, the report said.

The newspaper quoted Kathy Barnard, director of Westportגs Planning and Zoning Department as saying: “Things have not slowed down. People are putting on enormous two-story additions, tearing down houses to build bigger ones, and the issuing of building permits may not be backed up as much as it was last fall, but it’s still very busy.”



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