New homes for sale or under construction in Durango could provide permanent affordable housing for a lucky few.
The 10 new homes are expected to fill a growing need in the community for affordable housing, said Lisa Bloomquist Palmer, executive director of HomesFund, a Durango-based nonprofit.
“I think year-over-year things have been getting harder and harder. ... Real estate prices keep going up at a faster pace than wages,” she said.
Two of the homes are complete and eight more are expected to be finished in the next year or two, she said.
The homes were built by developers to comply with the city of Durango’s Fair Share ordinance. The local law requires companies that build four or more units within city limits to either set aside 16% of the units as affordable housing or pay fees in lieu of the affordable units.
Only one Fair Share home has been built in prior years, Bloomquist Palmer said. Most developers choose to pay city fees, which fund mortgage assistance for residents buying market-rate homes.
The new affordable homes will be sold to income-qualified residents. When the homes are resold, the price will be capped and all future buyers will have to income-qualify, Bloomquist Palmer said.
“That’s important to preserve affordable housing,” she said.
Rental apartments make up most of Durango’s affordable housing, making the new homes unique.
One of the permanently affordable homes is in Mountain Trace, a townhome community off of Metz Lane in northeast Durango, she said. The home, which already has a buyer, was on the market for $297,500, she said. Comparable two-bedrooms in the same community are on the market for $375,000, she said.
The other completed home, a studio, is for sale in the Eastside Lofts on College Drive and East Eighth Avenue, she said.
Eight more Fair Share homes are planned for Mountain Trace, she said.
The homes are available to buyers at tiered income levels.
The lowest income tier is 80% of area median income, which is about $66,000 for a family of four.
The highest income level a buyer can have to qualify for a Fair Share Home is 125% of the area median income, which is $103,240 for a family of four. Two of the homes in Mountain Trace will be available to those earning the highest income level.
Those who earn between 80% and 125% of the area median income are part of Durango’s middle class who do not qualify for many affordable housing programs, but cannot afford to buy a home, Bloomquist Palmer said.
HomesFund is setting up a waiting list for the eight affordable homes planned for Mountain Trace.
Residents can find applications at homesfund.org.
Those with questions about the Fair Share homes or income eligibility can email Bloomquist Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.