I had a great opportunity to sit down with Bonnie Logan, Home Ownership Program Manager for the City of Boulder’s Division of Housing. This was my opportunity to learn firsthand about the Permanently Affordable Boulder program.
What is Permanently Affordable Boulder?
What is this quirky permanently affordable program? Believe it or not, the City of Boulder created an admirable goal: have 10% of the housing stock in the City be affordable for Low to Moderate income families. In 2000, the City created the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance to meet demand for affordable property.
Today, the program has achieved almost 70% of the stated goal.
Most of the housing in the Permanently Affordable Boulder Housing pool are rental units. Here is a list of all homes – rental and resale – currently in the pool (Note: many of these are occupied and not for sale/rent). Affordable Housing Unit Inventory as of 8 27 13
How Permanently Affordable works for owner occupied homes
Developers, buyers and sellers sign covenants with the City of Boulder. These agreements state that the property will always be affordable, and upon resale the unit will be sold to another participant within the program. Buyers start the process by completing an application with the housing department. Income, assets and even where you live and work all come into play. The city also requires participants to complete several classes. Everything you need to know is on the city website.
Once you complete the application, you will receive a certification. This cert is good for six months before you will need to reapply. See a list of Permanently Affordable homes in Boulder now.
Participants should understand the nuances of the rules. For starters, all homes for sale in the program are entered into a “lottery” to start. This 30 day process allows all potential buyers to submit an Intent to Purchase or Lottery entry form.
TIP: you have 2 weeks to get certified for any new listing once a home comes on the market.
Once the lottery closes, the city reviews the applications. Some will not qualify – the income limits can vary from property to property. More over, the term “lottery” is a bit of a misnomer. City staff gives a preference to buyers based upon family size and a wide variety of factors. So while several parties may submit letters of intent, there might only be one party that is an ideal candidate (i.e. – names don’t always go into a hat as “lottery” suggests).
What kinds of homes can I buy?
Expect to see everything from one bedroom units to single family homes. Just keep in mind, the goals of the program can make competition for the few single family homes to come along very intense. The majority of units for sale will be one and two bedroom attached dwellings. Click here to see homes.
Can I sell for a profit?
Restrictions on Permanently Affordable Boulder homes include the resale value and ability to rent. Some improvements can increase the value of home (there is a $25,000 improvement limit for the life of property, but check first to see what is covered). Most years, values go up very little. During the prior three years, values increased 1%, 1.4% and 1.87% annually. These units stay affordable for future owners. Most units have rental restrictions as well.