Re: Affordable Cohousing: Series Introduction
From: Emilie Parker (
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 06:34:06 -0800 (PST)
Thank you so much Scott.  We are very interested in all of these.  I am not
aware of most of these, only outside down payment assistance which in our
case is programs in existence through the county for persons with lower
than AMI.  And Design for Affordability #9 and #13 Outside Affordable
Housing Entity.

Emilie Parker
emilie.v.parker [at]
303-317-4558 main
240-350-8533 cell

On Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 10:51 AM, Chris ScottHanson <cscotthanson [at]>

> Affordable Cohousing
> [submitted to cohousing-l in weekly installments, for comment and input.]
> You’re probably tired of hearing about smaller units, standardization,
> simple unit plans, modest finishes, all with the goal of achieving more
> affordability.  Well it’s true, these all help, but there are other
> affordability strategies that are based on interpersonal relationships,
> community, and trust, that can be just as effective, if not more so.
> The strategies outlined in the series to follow have been collected over
> the past 25 years of doing cohousing projects across the US and Canada.
> Many of the strategies outlined below are what I call “internal banking.”
>  These internal banking relationships are magical when they happen, and it
> would seem they can only happen when there is a strong sense of  community,
> and trust.
> Each of these has been used successfully in one project or another.  The
> vast majority of cohousing projects that have been built in North America
> have included a number of internal banking elements which have allowed
> members with some resources to assist members with more limited resources
> to participate in the community.
> There are two primary ways of purchasing your home in cohousing.  In the
> simplest form, these are: 1) an all cash purchase, or 2) a mortgage from a
> bank, usually requiring some downpayment from the purchaser.  The mortgage
> is called a “take out loan” by the construction lender because it takes
> them out, paying off their loan to build the project.
> Your cohousing group can adopt some or all of the following strategies for
> achieving a measure of affordability within your project.  Some of these
> strategies work for some people.  Others work for other people.  Some of
> these strategies need to work together.  It all depends on needs,
> circumstances, pride, personal relationships, trust, liquidity, risk
> willingness, risk aversion, and/or time sensitive financial needs.
> 1. Internal Down Payment Assistance
> 2. Outside Down Payment Assistance
> 3. Second Mortgages
> 4. Co-purchase Options
> 5. First Time Buyers
> 6. The Reduced Monthly Condo Fee Subsidy.
> 7. Maintenance Reserve Reinvestment
> 8. Unit Price Buy Down
> 9. Design for Affordability - Capital Costs and Operating Costs
> 10.  Shared Units
> 11.  Community Owned Rental Unit
> 12.  Participating Nonresident Owners
> 13.  Purchase of One or More Units by an Outside Affordable Housing Entity
> In the coming weeks I will submit to cohousing-l an explanation of each of
> these strategies.  I hope, if you’re interested, that you will comment,
> edit, expand or help explain how each of these strategies can contribute to
> making cohousing more affordable, to more people.  Share your stories and
> we can add them to the shared wisdom.
> Chris ScottHanson
> Urban Cohousing Associates, Inc. <
> >
> Land Acquisition, Development Consulting & Project Management
> Ecovillages, Cohousing & Sustainable Communities
> Fifth Street Commons <>
> PO Box 1288
> Langley, WA  98260
> (206) 601-7802 cell
> Author of:  The Cohousing Handbook - BUILDING A PLACE FOR COMMUNITY
> Available from new, used and as an eBook.
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