From the Daily News:
A growing number of newly built homes in southeastern Queens are sitting vacant, halting a nonprofit group's effort to revive a rundown neighborhood and putting a developer in financial jeopardy.
Nearly two dozen affordable homes in Jamaica, built under the auspices of the Housing Partnership Development Corp., are still vacant six months after construction was completed.
"I'm just trying to hang on," said Bob Starzecki, 44, owner of Guy Brewer Development Corp., which built the homes.
"I'm already in the hole," he said, adding that he's not sure how much longer he can keep making payments on the construction loans he took out to build the 21 two-family homes around Guy R. Brewer Blvd. and 108th Ave.
The Housing Partnership works with the city, state and other private groups to build affordable housing throughout the five boroughs. The purpose is not only to revive struggling neighborhoods, but to provide homes for low-income families.
The current state of the housing market, however, has made it difficult for the group to sell the homes, even at a price 20% to 30% less than the actual value. And it's developers like Starzecki who are feeling the pinch.
The organization has more than 400 units in various stages of construction around Queens. More than half of those are in contract. Of those, about 100 buyers are waiting for banks to approve mortgages, Martin said.