Re: Low cost housing
From: Bruce Shimizu (
Date: Wed, 14 May 2008 11:42:28 -0700 (PDT)
While working for a regional nonprofit housing development organization, we
encountered the "NIMBY" arguments about "affordable, low cost, or
low-income" housing decreased property values all the time. It got so bad in
the mid-1990's that a title officer with a local title company prepared a
report that looked at the resale values of properties located within close
proximity to "those people." 

The sales prices of the homes near the affordable homes were consistent with
homes in other areas of the community. There was no negative impact on the
resale values. The fact that an affordable rental or ownership property is
in close proximity is irrelevant. 

Higher density rental & ownership properties are different types of real
estate from a traditional single family subdivision and wouldn't be
appraised together. Cohousing communities with larger homes wouldn't be
appraised along side smaller affordable homes. The purpose of an appraisal
is to compare apples with apples.

However, the perception of the buyers is another matter. People tend to
believe what they believe, regardless of what the facts may be. 

The development of smaller, lower cost, and sustainable homes can be much
more affordable than the "standard" home built by the large national
builders. The "not-so-big" house movement in this country is a testament to
our desire to "right-size" our homes. The energy & water issues we are
facing are driving the green, sustainable movement into high gear. 

It is finally "cool" to be green and small, affordable, green homes are
really cool.

Bruce K. Shimizu
bruce [at]  
 Clearwater Homes
P.O. Box 1874  .  Windsor  .  CA  .  95492
(707) 837-9922  voice  .  (208) 975-9617  fax  .  (707) 696-9008  cell
-----Original Message-----
From: Brian Bartholomew [mailto:bb [at]] 
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 11:13 AM
To: Cohousing-L
Subject: [!! SPAM] Re: [C-L]_ Low cost housing

| 'I'm not investing $XXXK over YY years to live next to a Katrina
| cottage.'

> This is why I think low cost cohousing has to be built with the
> whole community as low cost housing because in the end it affects
> resale values to have a $350,000 house next to a $60,000 house, no
> matter how nice it is.

Why would a lower priced house affect resale values?  Oh.  One of
*them* moved in.  There goes the neighborhood.  Have you see the
organic gardening cohouser at the end of the block?  I heard they're
building a straw bale house.  Ewwww!!  Quick, call the sheriff to run
them off.  We don't want their kind here.

The goal of laws which ban low-cost housing is to prevent *them* from
moving in.  Zoning is a violation of civil rights, both in intent and
in practical effect.  The phrase "affects resale values" admits there
is prejudice in society.  We shouldn't enshrine prejudice in law.


> Since most people who buy homes that expensive are also carrying
> huge mortgages. They can't afford a home that is worth less than the
> mortgage, even if the bank loans them money for it in the first place.

Everyone involved is an adult.  Homeowners are at liberty to buy a
loan with a high debt to income ratio, and they are free to lose their
equity if they can't make the payments.

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