Affordable housing is relative
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2002 13:10:22 -0700 (MST)
Sharon Asked about cohousing being cheap, and this being a motivation to
live there. Yes, cohousing has been built with subsidized  units and other
cost breaks making it relatively affordable housing in some areas. In the
group I mentioned, Common ground in Aspen, there was a ton of subsidies by
the city and others to make it affordable. The median house price in Aspen
at that time was a million dollars. (No, that is not a misprint, I think its
even higher now.)

 I visited a large cohousing group in the south where the price of the units
was 25% below that of the surrounding market (This was first sale of course,
subsequent resales apparently go at market rate). Even with a large, very
nice commonhouse. Condos are often designed by developers with many luxury
features, which jacks up the price, (Cohousers seldom do this) and of course
the developer profit is added in there as well. Plus there can be community
sweat equity which brings down the price of the project. Also, sometimes
community projects get land at much less than market rate because the seller
supports the community, non-profit idea. I have heard of groups which have
gotten  land from a city or county at a very nice price, well below market
rate, because the city wanted to support the project and its community
ideals. These don't happen everywhere, all the time, in fact they may even
be the odd exceptions,  and of course, affordability is totally relative to
the market you are in. In Urban Seattle, A 3 bdroom condo for under $200,000
is affordable. I imagine in Fargo, ND, such a price would be high end, and
perhaps in SanFrancisco, that's what a fixer-upper goes for.

So, cheap, or affordable, is relative, both by the market and the individual

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood where the median house value is probably in the upper 200,000

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