Affordable homes grow as real estate slumps |

Affordable homes grow as real estate slumps

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunElmer Gomez and Keith Hanley work on a construction site of Frishman Hollow Tuesday morning.

Truckee-Tahoe’s affordable housing stock continues to grow, even as the market rate home market slumps.

Some affordable housing projects are trying to work out the best way to attract tenants and homebuyers, but many are on track and show no signs of slowing.

Spring Creek’s affordable homes were initially met with slow sales as real estate sales dropped close to the affordable unit’s prices, said Karl Saimre of Truckee River Associates.

This led the developer to offer increased financial assistance, which has helped sell another unit, he said.

“It made a difference for a young family, and being able to help just one buyer stay in the area ” we consider that a success,” Saimre said.

But before building out a second phase of affordable housing, Saimre said the Spring Creek development team may modify plans to be better prepared for the market.

David Griffith, the town’s redevelopment and housing coordinator, said the town will be working with Spring Creek for the second phase.

“We want to make sure the second round is more successful,” he said.

To help all affordable housing projects, Griffith said the town is working on a new pricing formula, that should help affordable housing costs go down across the board.

“The first projects assumed 20 percent down, and now we will be assuming 5 percent down, that will bring the pricing formula down quite a bit,” Griffith said.

Griffith said the slow market may actually benefit affordable housing, as appreciation has slowed down closer to the deed-restricted levels, making it easier for buyers to swallow.

A number of projects are moving forward to break ground or open this year.

“Frishman Hollow is on track for a spring opening,” said Tom Ballou of the Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe. “Stoneridge’s phase two is also getting ready to role this spring.”

Four more affordable units are also planned for The Boulders, Griffith said.

And a new project to go before the Truckee Planning Commission later this month, called Royal Ridge, could also bring 12 affordable condominiums to the corner of Donner Pass Road and Northwoods Boulevard.

“Those will be close to school, close to public transit, and close to stores ” it could be a real good example of mixed use development,” Ballou said.

Over at the affordable apartments at Gray’s Crossing, Ballou said all of the two-bedroom units have been spoken for in the 92-unit complex, but between 10 and 15 of the three-bedroom apartments are still available.

Work continues on the Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe’s status change to a community housing development, said Tom Ballou with the association.

This would help expand the group’s responsibilities, and make it eligible for more funding, he said.

The group is also narrowing down candidates to replace Rachelle Pellissier as executive director, Ballou said.

“We want to find the right person, we don’t want to rush in,” he said.

And a scope of work has been compiled to create a survey used to determine both the supply and demand for affordable housing in the Truckee-Tahoe region, Ballou said.

“It should be a collaborative effort hopefully with the Town of Truckee and Placer County,” he said.

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