Why it is nearly impossible to make a home in Rockland County no matter how badly you may want to
Submitted by reader Lisa Foglia
I, like many of my peers who grew up here in Rockland County, have very fond and warm memories of my childhood.
The county was still rural enough that we could ride horse trails through untouched woods, camp out in our backyards and have picnics in unpopulated fields. It was also suburban enough where it was safe to walk to our friends’ houses and stay up late catching fireflies in our neighborhoods with the sound of cicada chirping in the background.
Now, like many of my peers, in our 30s, married and looking to start our own families, I don’t recognize the Rockland County I knew and loved, and even if I wanted to stay here, I can’t afford to.
My parents are both from Rockland County- my father from Pearl River and my mother from Spring Valley. In the 1980s my grandfather was a real estate developer who assisted my parents in building my childhood home in Chestnut Ridge.
To this day my parents live there, now in their 60s, still working full-time, as they struggle to pay off their mortgage and pay the ridiculous taxes in this county. Why do they continue to live here in the county and not move somewhere where they can live more comfortably?
Because, like most parents, they had hoped they would be able to be pass the house down to their children. Unfortunately, and much to our chagrin, that is impossible.
At 31-years-old, with a Master’s Degree and a full-time job, married to a man with a stable and high-paying full-time job, we cannot afford to buy a home in Rockland County.
We are currently living with my parents, in my childhood home, until we decide what the heck we’re going to do in this bizarre housing market that has yet to hit bottom despite what you’ve heard. We have been married for almost one year and have been searching for a home for about the last six months.
We were so excited to be pre-approved for a mortgage and had grand ideas about the kind of home we could purchase. Everyone, especially the realtors, were telling us what a “buyer’s market” it is here in Rockland and that we could get such a great deal if we bought now.
Little did we know what a crock of you-know-what all of that is! First of all, what we were so proud to be pre-approved for means diddly in this county. Houses are still coming out on the market for $300,000 for a 721-square-foot home with two bedrooms and one bathroom!
What? So even if we could afford the mortgage payment and wanted to live in a house that was built for a gnome, once taxes are added on (nowhere in this county can you find taxes for less then $5,000 a year), the monthly payments become impossible unless we want to be swimming in debt.
Every house we found that we liked (and trust me there were not a lot in our price range) we could not entertain buying because of the taxes, and thus, our dream of raising a family in Rockland was crushed.
My parents ask my husband and I almost weekly if we want their house. Of course we do! We could pay the mortgage no problem, but to pay almost $18,000 in taxes for less than an acre of property in East Ramapo School District, the worst school district in the entire county, is ridiculous!
So basically, local government expects people to buy overpriced homes in a fiscally corrupt and irresponsible county where the taxes are through the roof with nothing to show for it, and then pay to put our children in private school because the school district is horrifying.
In what world does that make sense? Maybe in the bizarre world of Rockland County that stuff flies – and apparently it does, because astoundingly enough people are still buying these over-priced houses – but to the average person who doesn’t have his/her head in the sand, it’s ludicrous!
I’m personally sick of watching middle-income, hard-working taxpayers struggle to stay in a county that they built whilst non-working, government subsidized individuals take over.
Let’s be honest, the politicians are corrupt and greedy, the social programs are too lenient and being taken advantage of, and the “religious” sects are buying up large properties without having to pay a cent in taxes.
Isn’t it ironic that this is why many people moved to Rockland County from New York City?! They were attempting to get away from what Rockland has now become, an over-populated cesspool of greed.
I’m sad to say that at this point, my husband and I refuse to buy a home in this county because it’s a bad investment. Unless something, or everything for that matter, drastically changes in this county, there will be no one living here (that actually pay taxes) within the next few years.
It’s too bad but the bottom line: ROCKLAND SUCKS!