Housing meetings to explain affordability | SierraSun.com

Housing meetings to explain affordability

Sierra Countis
Sierra Sun

In an attempt to improve public outreach of affordable housing options in Truckee, town officials and housing experts are working together to organize monthly meetings in order to better educate the community.

A complex buying process contributes to the confusion people have about affordable housing, said David Griffith, Town of Truckee Redevelopment and Housing Coordinator.

“This is a very complicated process (for us),” said Tom Watson, owner of Truckee River Associates, the real estate firm representing the developer of Spring Creek. “It really must be complicated for the buyer.”

Despite the availability of options, such as first-time homebuyer programs, “people get partway in the door and then get scared,” Griffith said of the lackluster interest in the latest batch of affordable housing units at Spring Creek. Originally, as many as 140 people expressed interest in purchasing affordable units at Spring Creek. The developer and town staff thought at the time the units would necessarily be distributed by lottery. However, the number of interested purchasers has dwindled at this point to a mere dozen or so.

The town is working to “crack this code to get the information to the public,” Griffith said.

A combination of factors has made marketing the affordable housing units a challenge: the selling price, the down payment amount, and the need for additional mortgage lender resources. Through the example of Spring Creek, the town is learning how to effectively market affordable housing, Griffith said.

In order to remedy the situation, town officials are working with the Workforce Housing Association of Truckee -Tahoe to put together monthly “affordable housing round-table meetings,” Griffith said. The meetings will likely be somewhat informal ” perhaps over breakfast ” as a means for the public to have the opportunity to network with local housing experts and discuss upcoming housing projects, he said. Griffith said the first round-table meeting will take place this spring.

In the meantime, Griffith said he’s been busy getting local real estate experts up to speed. Title companies such as First American Title Company and Fidelity National Title Co. have made commitments to offer discounted rates for homebuyers on closing home costs, he said. For a unit at Spring Creek, a discount could potentially decrease closing costs from $2,000 to $900, he said. Griffith said Bank of the West and Wells Fargo will also support affordable housing in Truckee by offering prospective buyers assistance with home loans.

A Web site dedicated to affordable housing in Truckee will be up and running within two weeks, Griffith said. The affordable housing Web site will be accessible via the Town of Truckee Web site.