|Re: Making Cohousing Permanently Affordable||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: rpdowds (rpdowdscomcast.net)|
|Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2013 13:48:50 -0800 (PST)|
I think programs are different in differing jurisdictions, but in Cambridge, MA, here are the essential features of limited equity homeownership affordable housing (cohousing or not). • Municipal zoning requires that all multi-family developments over a certain size offer to the City a specific proportion of "affordable units" — in return for which you get a density bonus or upgrade = more units on the land. At Cornerstone Cohousing, this worked out to 32 units on about 1.5 acres, inclusive of four "affordable" limited equity ownership condominiums. Cornerstone, in fact, was the first multi-family complex in the City to find itself directed by this new zoning regime. We were pioneers. • The affordable units are semi-controlled by the City. That is, they can purchased only by pre-qualified individuals or families of a defined size and income level, and sold only at a price established by the City. In effect, this means that the developers and the market-rate units must build and provide, at a subsidized "below-market" cost, a certain number of affordable units. • Pre-qualified households buy the unit for which they are qualified at the City price. But when they sell, they are not entitled to market-rate appreciation -- normally, in Cambridge, a lot of money. Instead, they are obligated to sell their units for the original purchase price, plus a very marginal "profit" or inflation factor. City policy is to keep the affordable units as close as possible to their original sale price, for as long as possible. • Officially, Cornerstone is prohibited from "interfering" in the City-controlled matching of pre-qualified households to units. Which means, we have no formal mechanism for influencing who buys and moves in next. In practice, however, we try to make plain to the City-selected candidates that cohousing is not exactly like the other condo properties in Cambridge. Interestingly enough, many pre-qualfied "low income" households look at the coho model, and say, Whoa, this doesn't look right for us -- and move on to some other opportunity. The "low income" households buying the limited equity units then can end up being reasonably well-suited to the coho lifestyle. (As I write this, I would characterize two of our affordable unit households as well-acclimated to participating in our coho affairs, and the other two as perhaps less well-acclimated.) • Apart from these formal public / institutional programs, a subset of members and non-members, on individual initiative and outside our consensus process, have joined together to purchase a unit, and make it available to someone who has been living at Cornerstone for many years. It's not yet clear exactly what way this program will or will not be sustainably institutionalized. • Condo fees and other community-driven charges are calculated the same for limited equity units as they are for market-rate units. I would agree with Mr Paiss that, on the whole, this works OK. In fact, it all comports with the "inclusionary zoning" I was active in writing and promoting more than a decade ago. One of the lurking, largely un-discussable issues is that some at Cornerstone fear the "low income" households benefiting from below-market buy-in actually have better income, and more financial flexibility, than others in the market-rate units. Could this be true? For my part, I have been adamantly against Cornerstone prying into the finances of individual households, or setting assessments from "means-testing" formulae reliant on such data. I'd be interested to hear if any other cohos make financial decisions or policies based on information about household finances. RPD ----- Original Message ----- From: "Sharon Villines" <sharon [at] sharonvillines.com> To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org> Sent: Friday, January 4, 2013 10:14:45 AM Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Making Cohousing Permanently Affordable On Jan 4, 2013, at 10:03 AM, Zev Paiss <Zev [at] abrahampaiss.com> wrote: > They require this to be on the lien of the home and they are the ones to set > the sale and purchaser income requirements to limit what you can sell the > home for and who can qualify to buy it. It is very tightly controlled and it > works. How do they control it? Is there lots of paperwork and delay involved? Does it affect bank financing? Can prospective buyers easily figure out if they are eligible? This has been a problem with some programs that are based on arcane formulas only a numbers person can figure out and eligibility seems to change from month to month. How are their condo fees calculated? Sharon ---- Sharon Villines Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC http://www.takomavillage.org _________________________________________________________________ Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
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