SETAUKET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – With thousands of dollars in debt, rising home prices and paychecks that aren’t keeping pace, millennials say they need help to move out of their parents’ basements.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reports, some Long Island communities are now offering incentives to first-time home buyers.

Amanda Smith had to find creative ways to afford the biggest purchase of her life – a four bedroom house in Huntington Station.

“Really scary to take on another huge chunk of debt when I already have this student loan debt hanging over my head,” she said.

Smith, who advocates for the disabled, and her newlywed husband Kevin, a school teacher, discovered loans and grants that added tens of thousands of dollars to their budgets.

“We worked with our mortgage broker early on to find exactly what the best moves were for us, as far as paying off a credit card or a car that we were financing to get the best loan rate and have the lowest monthly payments,” she said.

Others are forgoing lavish weddings or honeymoons.

Since 2000, home prices on Long Island have risen more than twice as fast as wages.

“For the millennials, especially student loans and things, they are not familiar with how this process works. I think there is a lot of hand holding involved,” said Emilia Pizzo, with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s Realty. “And I think getting a preapproval early on in the process is really important.”

Lenders and not-for-profit groups are trying to help first-time home buyers, like the Dusling family. Additional costs of mortgage taxes and insurance can price millennials right out of the market.

“We were able to find the grossest house in the nicest neighborhood and buy it at bottom dollar, because it needed everything,” Shaughnessy Dusling said.

She and her husband Brett got a loan through the Federal Housing Authority.

“The FHA gave us what is called a 203k rehab loan. We tied all of our construction costs into our mortgage,” she said.

Meanwhile, a bill allowing first-time home buyers to create savings accounts that would give them a state income tax deduction, similar to college savings accounts, has passed both houses.

State Sen. Phil Boyle, of Bay Shore, is a co-sponsor.

“Millennials are living in their parents’ basements in their 20s and 30s across Long Island and New York State. That needs to change,” he said. “They need to realize they can afford to buy a house. And savings programs like this will help.”

The bill, titled First Home Savings Program, is now under review in the governor’s office and could become law by December.


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