|Affordable home ownership models||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rebecca Lane (edcohousgmail.com)|
|Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 20:11:34 -0700 (PDT)|
I've been following the convo about affordability, and would like to offer a couple of points, as this is a topic I've spent a lot of time on! I'm glad to see it talked about. First, cohousing is a community design/build model, not a finance model. Most housing in the US, for better or for worse, is firmly in the for-profit commodities market, and cohousing is no different as it has been developed thus far in the US, with a very few exceptions. As Katie pointed out, and she definitely is in a position to understand this, development costs are high, and are hard to affect. Construction is one of the most highly regulated industries in the country, and that is but one of the reasons why costs are high. Access to capital is the number one barrier to affordable housing -- indeed, since the housing & finance sector implosions, access to capital is a barrier to middle class homeowners as well. The affordable housing models which exist are these: publicly subsidized & owned rentals; private, not-for-profit subsidized & owned rentals; and assistance for down payments for private homeowners, both equity limited (self-help programs) and full market equity options. These are largely from the not-for-profit sector these days. Finally, community owned assets, i.e., community land trusts. In each of these models, someone other than the resident pays the full cost of construction. The final costs of construction or remodel must be met somehow; usually via a combination of government, foundation, and private donor dollars, and some inputs (rents, subsidized mortgage payments) by residents. It is no small feat to put together a finance package for a subsidized project. There are some very talented people in the affordable housing industry who specialize in this. If you're interested in the most cost effective affordable housing model, the community land trust (CLT) model is it. The subsidized investments are a one-time event, and in exchange for a below market purchase price, the income qualified homeowner agrees to a very limited equity ownership proposition. Thus, the subsidy stays with the dwelling at resale, to benefit another's come qualified owner. (With every other subsidized model, the subsidy dollars are privatized.) A CLT owner can live in the home as long as they wish, and can win the lottery the day after they close; they simply cannot sell for full market profit. This model takes both the market risk and the market reward out of private, for-profit home ownership, and treats the asset, the dwelling, as a community resource, to be used by many families over it's useful life. It is a radical & elegant notion of ownership, in my experience. I was a CLT homeowner in the early 90's & I love the model. Lopezclt.org is the organization I helped found, and built with, in Morgantown. My Goddaughter & her husband now live in the modest home I built. It's an amazing CLT. Marsha, shifting our economic structure away from capitalism is unlikely to happen anytime soon, but there are scores of CLT developments around the country. There are a few that I believe are both a CLT & cohousing; one in Bellingham, WA, one in Martha's Vineyard, MA, and one in Carrboro, North Carolina (please correct me if I am wrong). If you want to create an affordable cohousing community, I encourage you to consider the CLT finance model. The communities we want to live in we're created by someone! You can learn more about CLT's at this website: www.cltnetwork.org Onward! Rebecca
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