Re: Affordability -- a new leaf
From: mtracy (
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 94 20:00 CDT
In response to 
>>Boulder, Colorado: average housing cost: $122,900.
>>Denver, Colorado: average housing cost: $101,400.
>>Nyland cohousing unit for sale in nearby LaFayette: $200,000 approx.

Chris Welch, of Perry & Butler Realty, Inc., writes
>In the Boulder/Denver area, currently experiencing significant immigration
>and corresponding rapid increases in housing costs, it's a bit unrealistic 
>to compare a house on the market today to average prices (I assume "average
>housing cost" means price for a home, or is it some amalgamated statistic?)
>that were published in 1993 (who knows when the statistics were actually

The statistics were compiled from, among other sources, the American 
Association of Realtors <Existing Home Sales (1993)> and the monthly 
<Consumer Price Index>.

>FYI, current average cost for a single family home in Boulder is,
>unfortunately, much higher than what you have here. To avoid any further
>misinformation, I won't quote the figure until I get a current figure from
>MLS stats available thru my local Board of Realtorsxxxxxx--I believe it's
>close to or over $200K.

Which misinformation are you referring to, Chris?  I have clearly identified
my sources and dates.  Furthermore, my statement is that cohousing can be 
more expensive than conventional housing (<not> "comparable housing").  I 
stand by this statement.
>The Nyland home is priced comparable to other two-year old homes in areas
>around it, and has a lot more to offer in terms of community amenities.

I believe you.  I agree with you.  I am not talking about two-year old 
homes.  The average single family home in Boulder is probably not two years 

>I don't think that your issue of affordability can fly in the face of market
>dynamics, which currently dictate that any house, in cohousing or not,
>located in the general Denver metro area will be more desirable (= more
>expensive--at least in a market economy) than the same house in rural
>Missouri or many other places.  Is the way to make a home more affordable
>to locate it in an inaccessible, unattractive place? 

Ok, let's talk about <desirability>, <inaccessible>, and <unattractive>.
How desirable is it to live in a home you can't afford?  Would everyone in 
rural Missouri rather live in Denver because it's more desirable (says you). 
How accessible is Denver to anyone who cares about his airplane baggage? 
(joke ;-)

>So subsidies and other "unnatural" means may be the only way.

Tragically, it seems so.  Soon every new homeowner will need a subsidy.
Who pays for this?  

>And I think that's fine, because affordability is a critical issue no 
>matter where we live. But it's also a very relative concept, depending on 
>the locale and the local economic factors.

Desireability is a relative concept.  Advertising works.  People will pay a 
great deal of money for <desireables> when told that they are desireable.  
Affordability means "Can I afford this?  How much life am I giving up to buy 
this?  Could I spend less life and buy something which brings me equal (or 
greater) pleasure and value?"

"Comparable housing" is also relative.  How's the view?  The neighbors?  
Proximity to work?  The price of a house alone does not tell me how happy I 
would be living in it, no matter what the market says.

The idea of living in cohousing is very attractive to me, and, as a member of 
the Claremont cohousing group finance committee, I am fully appreciative of 
the effort and money that goes into it.  I have no doubt that the units you 
sell are fairly priced.  Thank you for the opportunity to clarify a bit more 
what I mean by <affordability>.
Martin Tracy          mtracy [at]          Los Angeles, CA

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