Re: Increase in housing values: A boon or disaster for cohousing?
From: Amy Dwyer (
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2006 17:13:51 -0700 (PDT)
Here in Salt Lake at Wasatch Commons, diversity, including but not limited to 
income diversity, are an integral part of our community value system. We have 5 
units that are a partnership with a Utah State program (called Crown) that 
develops affordible housing and rents it at either 40% or 60% market rate for 
15 years, after which time, part of the rent money paid by the individuals in 
the program goes back to them in the form of the down payment on a mortgage on 
the place. There are covenants, of some sort, that then only allow for small 
increases in sales prices in future sales, keeping prices low into the future 
not only for those units, but, I think, also for our surrounding community. I 
am no expert on the program, but I am writing to say there are many programs 
like this in all states that could be looked into and incorporated into the 
community development process. 
I would call us an affordible cohousing community, with the price range from 
about 105 k (one bedroom) up to about 190 k (4 bedroom). 
It helps that we are on the West side of Salt Lake City, which is great for us 
since property values are generally low, and I daresay even undervalued, here. 
And I think in the west side we have the most interesting, multiethnic Salt 
Lake Neighborhood in town...probably in the whole state, come to think of it. 
Yet here in our cohousing community, we still have far to go before I would 
consider us multiethnic, even with the thoughtful, creative marketing 
techniques we have tried.  And even here, to my shock, we still have in the 
past had some people I would consider elitists living here. So, even with a 
value like income diversity clearly defined in many ways here, we have had our 
share of struggles. 
Anyway, that's my two cents to add. 
Amy Dwyer, Wasatch Commons Cohousing, where I am going home to right now for a 
pizza party, yippee!

>>> floriferous [at] 7/12/2006 5:35 PM >>>

I do not know how real estate prices are faring in other parts of the US but
here in the NW real estate is sky rocketing almost to the out of believable
range.  Cohousing units that originally sold for under $100,000 are going
for $250,000 and more.  It is one thing to be able to afford a place at
original buy in but with the escalation of real estate values it is
altogether another thing to be able to buy a home even a couple of years
after construction. 

It is a double edged sword, in that first time buyers, when they move on,
want to maximize their ability to buy another home, thus the higher the
price they can get for their unit the more house they can buy elsewhere. I
could not afford to buy my current home at its appraised value, but should I
sell someday I would have to move away from the area unless I was able to
get the appraised rate, since all the surrounding housing in the area is
doing the same jump in price. 

So is affordability a one time thing for first owners?

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood Cohousing
Naturalist, Writer
The Environmental Science School
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