Steamboat Springs Affordable housing proponents in Routt County will be celebrating the successes of the Regional Affordable Living Foundation during National Homeownership Week this week. The highlight of that celebration will be an open house Wednesday for West End Village, a proposed development being heralded by RALF as true affordable housing.
The West End Village is a project that RALF is developing jointly with Steve Cavanagh, of TCD, Inc. RALF acquired the land from West End Village L.L.C. Cavanagh's company. The development is located in west Steamboat along U.S. 40 and runs north toward West Acres Trailer Park.
"We hope to have approximately 50 affordable homes and a small lot of single-family duplex and townhomes built on the site," RALF Director Rob Dick said. "The project is currently in the planning stages, and we hope to get started building as soon as we can. We may be able to move ground during this building season, but if not, definitely by the next building season."
Although the proposed homes don't have price tags written in ink yet, RALF has developed some target costs for the homes.
RALF hopes to offer townhomes or multi-family units in the $80,000 to $135,000 price range. Duplex home units will potentially be priced in the $120,000 to $150,000 range, and single-family homes will be priced in the $135,000 to $175,000 range.
There is no profit margin built into the costs. If there were, Dick said, the home prices would increase by as much as a third.
"These target costs are based on anticipated estimated building costs. We have kept the prices as reasonable as possible. Our motivation is to provide housing for people not for profit," Dick said. "No one working on behalf of these homes will make a profit, but that's not to say we won't have to hire a contractor or subcontractor."
The West End open house will coincide with National Homeownership Week, created by the federal government to showcase new national initiatives and efforts to increase national home ownership rates. On behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development office in Craig, Sharon Stoddard will attend the open house to discuss financing options for West End Village homes.
"I'm impressed with the whole project development from what I've seen," Stoddard said. "Rob Dick hasn't been here all that long to have gotten this far. RALF is going in the right direction, and I'm real optimistic about what it's going to do to help people living here."
Although details have not yet been fine tuned, Stoddard believes that people interested in purchasing a home in West End Village will also be eligible for USDA loans.
"As long as these homes meet our requirements, I see no reason why these people couldn't apply for a loan in the West End Village. Funding for direct loans is very limited, but guaranteed funding, we have a lot of that. I think a lot of people would qualify for it," Stoddard said.
Very low income applicants can qualify for direct rural housing loans, in which the USDA can loan up to 100 percent of a purchase price and subsidize homeowners' payments. In direct loans, the government is actually using its own money for the loans.
Guaranteed rural housing loans are provided by the bank, not by the government, and the USDA simply guarantees the bank that the loans will be paid. The loans do not provide subsidized payments, but can provide up to 100 percent of the purchase price, allowing a new homeowner to avoid having to come up with down-payment funds right away. An additional advantage of the guaranteed loans is that there is no private mortgage insurance involved, Stoddard said. For the buyer, that means monthly payments can be significantly reduced.
RALF and the USDA are working hand-in-hand to ensure affordable housing and financing options be provided in West End Village, Stoddard and Dick said.
Anyone who needs housing, or who provides services to the housing industry is encouraged to attend the open house at noon Wednesday. From U.S. 40, go north on Downhill Drive, then take the first left and proceed up the hill to the site. Bring a sack lunch. For additional information on this event or programs offered through Rural Development contact Rob Dick at 870-0167 or Sharon Stoddard at 824-3476.
To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail email@example.com