“How will I ever afford to buy a house in Telluride?”
It turns out, about a third of San Miguel County is doing it by taking advantage of deed- restricted units. As of April of this year, 1,124 of the 3,454 occupied housing units in San Miguel County are deed-restricted.
Nine more deed-restricted units became available in Telluride on Tuesday of this week. The new project is called the White House Condominium Project and is located on 147 South Tomboy. The units range from 518 square feet to 1137 square feet and range in price from $149,000 to $285,000. The development offers two one-bedroom units, six two-bedroom units, and a three-bedroom unit.
According to a recent Regional Housing Needs Assessment, funded by a state grant and completed by a private consulting firm, there are currently 37 deed-restricted units listed for sale in San Miguel County. However, as of February, only two were listed in the town of Telluride.
In addition, the average price of the available deed-restricted opportunities is $379,508.
The prices of the White House units are substantially lower than that average, and it is the hopes of the San Miguel Regional Housing Authority that they will be accessible to more people.
“Nationwide, affordable housing means no more than 30% of your income is going to your housing costs,” Shirley Diaz, the Executive Director of the San Miguel Regional Housing Authority (SMRHA) said.
According to the assessment, 30% of households in Ouray County and 44% of households in San Miguel County are living in house that are not affordable.
The assessment also found that “the majority of residents in both Ouray and San Miguel Counties feel that the problem of finding affordable housing for persons who work in the region is either the most critical or one of the more serious problems facing the area.”
The White House is a creative attempt to solve some of these issues. It is different than other affordable housing initiatives in Telluride, because it was originally developed for the free market.
According to Lance McDonald, Town of Telluride Program Director, “The project is a result of negotiations between S and J Land Company LLC and the Town. The Town paid $400,000 to deed-restrict the eight free-market units in the White House as price-capped, affordable housing units.”
Interested buyers need to have at least one member of their household employed within the R-1 school district; be a U.S. citizen, or able to provide a notarized Lawful Presence Affadavit, to prove legal residence; and provide tax returns from 2009 and 2010.
Additional eligibility requirements include income limits. To determine the maximum income buyers can earn to qualify to enter the lottery, the SMRHA uses a percentage of the average median income (AMI) of workers in San Miguel County. Some of the units are subject to Tier I income limitations of up to 120 percent of the AMI, or $64,560 for one person and $67,800 for two. For the Tier 2 units, buyers can make a maximum of 150% of the AMI, which is $80,700 for one person and $84,750 for two people.
The application period began September 19, and will go to October 14. Site walks started on Tuesday, September 20 and will continue until Wednesday, September 28. Applications can be turned in no later than noon on October 14. The lottery drawing will take place on October 19.
Diaz advises that the most important task interested parties should do is to talk with a lender early in the process. “Working with a lender now, before the lottery takes place, is crucial to getting a loan,” she says.
Through SMRHA, Diaz also offers a monthly home-buying class. The next one twill be held Thursday, September 22nd beginning at 8 a.m.
Even if you don’t see yourself as a White House homeowner, Diaz still believes it’s a good time to learn more about affordable opportunities in Telluride.
“Come and see them,” Diaz says of the White House project. “Even if you’re not interested in purchasing, it’s a good time to talk to us about what is going on in housing and get your mind thinking about (whether) this is the road you might want to walk down.”