Housing program thriving in Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Housing program thriving in Steamboat

Down payment aid helps longtime renter become a homeowner

Mike Lawrence

Mike Arndt works in the winters as a snowmaking crew foreman at Steamboat Ski Area and a shuttle driver for Pioneer Ridge. Arndt just bought his first townhome in Steamboat Springs with the help of a $6,500 down payment loan from the Yampa Valley Housing Authority

— Mike Arndt is a homeowner after 24 years of renting in Steamboat Springs.

Arndt, 49, works in the winters as a snowmaking crew foreman at Steamboat Ski Area and a shuttle driver for Pioneer Ridge. In the summers, he guides raft trips at locations ranging from Alaska and Idaho to Buena Vista. This summer, though, he's only guiding for one month. The rest of the time, Arndt said, he'll stay in Steamboat and work on trail crews on Mount Werner. It makes sense for him to stick around — after all, he has a place to stay.

Arndt recently closed on the $130,000 purchase of a 462-square-foot Walton Pond townhome.

He received a $6,500 down payment loan from the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, an amount he said was just about all the U.S. Department of Agriculture's rural housing program needed for a down payment. His 30-year mortgage through the USDA is at a fixed interest rate of about 4.5 percent, he said. Arndt pays about $620 per month, including homeowner's association fees, for his home.

That amount is "pretty much what I was paying for rent, constantly," Arndt said.

And just like that, a man who earns about $25,000 a year owns a market-rate home in Steamboat.

Recommended Stories For You

Mary Alice Page-Allen, asset and program manager for the Housing Authority, said Arndt is the first homeowner to close on a home through the new down payment assistance program.

Loans related to four other homes could close in a few weeks, she said. The program began earlier this year with slightly more than $200,000 and has approved loans totaling $88,000 so far.

The starting figure includes a $100,000 contribution from the city, Page-Allen said. An intergovernmental agreement to finalize the use of those funds is on Tuesday's Steamboat Springs City Council agenda.

Arndt can pay off the down payment loan upon refinancing, selling his home or after 30 years, Page-Allen said.

Arndt credited the Housing Authority; the city's former community housing coordinator, Nancy Engelken; the USDA; and local Realtor Coleman Cook with helping him find and purchase the home he shares with his dog, Buddy.

"It's definitely a big load off my mind — it's just nice to have your own space, and really, not to pay rent anymore," he said. "Yeah, I have a mortgage, but I'm not giving that money to someone else."

Learn more

For more information on local housing programs and down payment assistance, call the Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s Mary Alice Page-Allen at 970-870-0167.

Go back to article