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Let’s ignore the 15 acres, for now, that will apparently be up to the City of Steamboat to develop.
The 400 most affordable “units” under the agreement will be available to persons averaging annual income of $64,480 (80 percent of the area median income of $80,600 for a family of four). This type of housing, whether condos or townhomes, has not yet been defined. Based on today’s lending scenarios of a required 20 percent down payment and total housing costs of no more than 30 percent of gross income, the family of four in this case would not only need to be making $64,480 a year, but would only qualify for a total monthly housing payment including principal, interest, taxes and insurance of $1,612 per month.
Let’s say a three-bedroom (for a family of four) condo is available. This condo would have to be priced at no more than $323,000 and would also be deed-restricted. This means that the buyer needs to have a down payment of $64,600 and qualify for monthly payments on a loan amount of $258,400. Monthly principal and interest at 5 percent will be $1,387, taxes $167 and insurance about $58, for a total of $1,612 a month, or 30 percent of the gross income that is allowed by lenders for housing expenses. Note that this does not include any closing costs which are typically rolled into the final property loan.
Based on two local sources that say that average building costs today, not including land or lot prices are approximately $250 a square foot. This means the three bedroom condo for the family of four in the above example would be at most 1,292 square feet—not even including the lot.
All of this number crunching leads us back to the primary questions about this development that will drastically change the face and character of Steamboat Springs regardless of how long the build out will be. Will it provide the attainable housing we are seeking now for our community members? Will it help us continue to promote and retain a sense of community? Are there other ways to provide opportunities for lot and home purchases on a smaller scale?
There are other developments being proposed that conform more to the Routt County Master Plan as well as to the WSSAP that provide for growth originating from the growth center, which is downtown Steamboat Springs. We acknowledge that we need growth and growth opportunities, but this growth should continue in a much more controllable form from the city center outwards, not outwards inwards.
In addition to these aspects of “affordable” and “attainable” housing, we desperately need to address all aspects of traffic through and around Steamboat before committing ourselves to a dramatic population increase—regardless of its estimated build-out period.
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