Re: A cohousing consultant and workshop
From: rehm (
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 93 13:54 CST
>I see that Winslow currently has a vacancy, which is for sale for $174,000!>
>I can't see where the attention to affordability went!


A few points:  

1) Because Chris Hanson worked (and purchased an unit for himself)
at Winslow Cohousing doesn't mean that he, as a consultant, cannot address
these issues.  The New Cohousing Group was content with the attention
he paid, in his land search/purchase workshop, to affordability.

2) Winslow was not particularly "affordable" in the common use of the
term, however, they were much more affordable than other housing on Bainbridge

3) You've pointed out a major problem with affordability in any housing, whether
it's cohousing or not.  No matter what the original (new) purchase price
is, the market rate housing is bound to diverge from income, barring an
airport being built next door.  There *are* solutions to this, that the
cohousing movement, with it's  primarily white-middle class view of 
"housing-as-an-investment" has been unwilling to take on...that of
choosing a limited-equity model of financing/purchase.

It's simple...take the profit out of owning a house.  By limiting equity,
you don't remove the incentive to improve the house - you'll get a fair
return on your improvements, and you can the value of your investment
with respect to inflation.  You just won't be able to mark up your housing.

I do *not* see it as a positive sign that Winslow Cohousing is "popular 
enough" to bare a much higher resale than that which would be computed
using inflation.  That extra money is just profit in the hands of the
Winslow unit owner, and does not advance the notion of community.  A 
cohousing community, without limiting equity, is bound to "self-gentrify"
over time, becoming increasingly inaccessible to the diversity of incomes
which (may) have started the community.

The New Cohousing Group in Seattle will not budge on this issue: our cohousing
is/will be only limited equity - housing as housing, not as an investment.

/eric rehm
The New Cohousing Group
7306 - 19th Ave. NW
Seattle, WA 98117

rehm [at]

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