Re: 1 Bedroom unit at Cornerstone
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2020 16:28:21 -0800 (PST)

> On Jan 29, 2020, at 1:01 PM, David Heimann <heimann [at]> wrote:
>       I did a quick online lookup at 
> "www.dollartimes.con/incomoe-needed-for-house/550000", a came up with $95546 
> as the income needed to finance the condo (20% down, 30 year loan at 4.5%, 
> 28% of income needed for housing).  That's still expensive, but not $1397000 
> annually.

I obviously screwed up something so thank you for following through and 
checking it.  Using the 2.5 times salary, it would be an income of 
$220,000--not assuming any amount for downpayment. Or going into how much other 
debt the household might have. I think I must have multiplied something by the 
SF cost of $956.

But I think $95,546 would be too low to qualify for a loan of $440,000. 

2.5 times an income of $95,546 is $238,865, not close.

(If I screwed that up, let me know.)

Using the Pew Research Center’s figures, $220,000 is an upper class income for 
a household of 3 people. A one bedroom will likely sell to 1-2 people so the 
income would be even higher up the Upper Class. (Upper class begins at $135,600 
for a 3 person household.) The actual number depends on geographic location 
because the cost of living varies so much. It’s all relative

In 2016, middle-income ranged from an average of about $45,200 to $135,600 per 
household. Lower-income households had incomes less than $45,200 on average. 
and upper-income households had incomes greater on average than $135,600. 

I’ve also found about 10 statements of what a low income is and what the 
average income is. I’ve decided to use the statistics at the Pew Research 
Center so they are all coming from the same authoritative source and making the 
same assumptions. Pew uses the census and other government studies when 

> At Jamaica Plain Cohousing in Boston we haven't recently sold a one-bedroom, 
> but a one-bedroom with a loft recently (around 1 1/2 years ago went for 
> around $500,000

I have no doubt that this is true. And also that it should be true. Unless the 
seller is shipping out to Mississipp, buying another one bedroom will require 
the same amount of money 

I’m consciously avoiding the use of the word “affordable.” The definition of 
“affordable" is based on the area market prices. And affordable prices in an 
area are not anywhere near affordable for anyone with a low income in the same 

I think we need to talk about these things if we are to be more inclusive and 
have the diversity we say we want. But it isn’t a criticism of how things are 
or an accusation that cohousers kept communities at the upper middle class 
level on purpose. If we want to change it, we have to figure out how. And screw 
up the numbers sometimes so we can straighten them out.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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