Fox Creek Village should be complete this summer

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The price of a two-bedroom condominium just dropped by $12,500 for 20 modest-income families in Steamboat Springs.

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority received news this week of a $250,000 grant from the Colorado Division of Housing that will help the 20 households purchase affordable condos at Fox Creek Village when they're ready for occupancy this summer. The project is on Hilltop Parkway, which is off U.S. Highway 40 between downtown and the mountain.

The grant money will be used to lower the cost of each of the 20 condos by $12,500. The families who were selected to purchase the new homes have incomes at or below 80 percent of the annual median income in Routt County. The AMI is about $72,700.

Elizabeth Black, executive director of the YVHA, said for the 20 households, the state grant could mean the difference between qualifying and not qualifying for financing.

"This grant money is important for those 20 households below the 80 percent AMI level," Black said. "It's difficult to qualify for full financing to buy a Fox Creek unit, so the grant enables them to buy their home for $12,500 less than our sale price."

With the grant in place, the YVHA board of directors will meet soon to settle on final unit prices for the homes.

Housing Authority President Kathi Meyer said that if the grant had not come through, it would have been a challenge to sell the homes to the families they were intended for.

"I don't really even want to think ... if it hadn't happened," Meyer said. "We're really thrilled to have this last piece in the financial puzzle in place."

In addition to the state grant, the homes were made more affordable by the city's willingness to pay municipal fees on the housing authority's behalf.

Fox Creek Village includes 30 condos. The remaining 10 have been promised to households earning between 80 percent and 120 percent of the AMI. Those purchasers will pay the estimated cost of the units -- probably in the mid-$190,000s, Black said. They also will be deed restricted for future resale by income and net worth.

Deed restrictions on the 20 units with prices reduced by the state grant will cap their appreciation for resale at 3 percent annual increase above the original sale price.

Fox Creek Village will have been three years in the design and construction process when the families move in. Including land costs, the project cost $6 million to build. Meyer said the people who will live there represent a cross section of Steamboat's work force, from restaurant workers to teachers.

Based on the $250,000 average price of a condominium here in 2005, Meyer is convinced the new homes represent a solid value.

"We did not sacrifice quality just because it's low-income housing," she said. "We took the approach that affordability is about more than the purchase price. We used Hardie Plank siding that lasts 30 years, they have low-E windows and upgraded insulation. Wherever we could, we bought Energy Star appliances."

Meyer went on a walk-through of the project with the construction superintendent of Drahota Construction on Wednesday. Meyer said it was the first time the new homes became tangible for her.

"The views over Fox Creek are jaw-dropping," she said. "Those families will be able to go out on their decks and look out over open space and a trail."

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