Re: Regarding Affordability in Cohousing
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2016 10:42:57 -0700 (PDT)
> On Aug 20, 2016, at 1:30 PM, John Sechrest <sechrest [at]> wrote:
> Doing a little math to see how this fits and using a mortgage calulator.
> The average annual wage in the US is 45000.
> After taxes, you have 1/3 of your income to spend on housing, which is
> $1050.
> In the NW, this will buy you a house for $186,000, with a down payment of
> $37,000
> I suspect that collecting the down payment may be an issue for folks who
> are at an average income.

When Takoma Village was built, DC had a program for first time homebuyers who 
were within certain income ranges. Far in advance the developer had to apply 
for those funds and have them set aside for the group. Then each person who 
qualified had to fill out forms, etc. We had a lawyer who worked with people in 
groups of similar purchasers to do all the forms and explain them.

In reference to my last email on a volunteer non-profit to advise people, this 
is one task that groups need help with. 

Understanding the programs that help with down-payments and low interest loans 
for low income households is a maze of interlaced regulations and a vocabulary 
that takes three PhDs in law, finance, and physics to understand.

As in eduction, being low income is short-hand for a range of other missing 
knowledge. You don’t grow up understanding interest rates and average this and 
that’s unless your parents moved in that world and knew about those things. The 
mess of the mortgage crisis was that many of the people who got caught in it 
had no ability to understand the forms they were told to sign because it was a 
great deal.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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