Affordable Aspen homes will be sold at cost — $1.3 million each |

Affordable Aspen homes will be sold at cost — $1.3 million each

Burlingame by the numbers

The city of Aspen plans to begin construction as early as this summer on four single-family homes as part of the second phase of development at the Burlingame Ranch affordable-housing complex.

Here’s a breakdown of the size of the homes and their estimated total construction costs.

Address Total area* Estimated total cost

209 Forge 3,423 square feet $1.315 million

221 Forge 3,412 square feet $1.312 million

500 Paepcke 3,061 square feet $1.31 million

510 Paepcke 3,204 square feet $1.309 million

* Includes garage, deck and unfinished basement

Source: City of Aspen

Four single-family homes slated for the Burlingame Ranch affordable-housing complex will be sold at cost, provided they attract qualified buyers, for more than $1.3 million each.

During a work session Tuesday, members of the Aspen City Council agreed to not subsidize the homes that would be built as part of the second phase of the Burlingame development, which is located west of town across Highway 82 from the Buttermilk ski area.

One general contractor placed a bid on the project. The council could have elected to extend the bidding period but determined the estimated cost is reasonable given the current market forces.

“The market is incredibly tight, resources are maxed and it’s difficult to get any depth of requests for proposals,” said Jack Wheeler, the city’s capital asset director.

The city has subsidized previous affordable-housing residences, typically for Category 1 through 7 units that are sold to eligible, full-time residents based on their household incomes.

But the council decided the four single-family homes would be sold as resident occupied to qualified buyers having no more than $900,000 in assets. The resident occupied program is intended for residents who can’t qualify for Category housing but don’t have the means to buy a home on Aspen’s free-market, where the average price for a single-family home in 2015 was $5.87 million, according to Land Title Guarantee Co.

Councilman Adam Frisch said by selling the homes at the city’s cost, buyers are getting a subsidy nonetheless.

“Even if we sell them at cost, that’s a $500,000, $400,000 subsidy right there,” said Frisch, noting that on the free-market the homes would command at least $2 million.

“Just because we sell them at cost does not mean there isn’t a subsidy, because I believe there is,” Frisch added.

Councilwoman Ann Mullins agreed.

“These units are heavily subsidized already because they are being sold at cost,” she said, adding that the units “don’t need subsidies at this point unless we have some problem selling them.”

The residences are planned to have three bedrooms, two baths, an unfinished basement that could be remodeled for additional living space and a single-car garage.

The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority has maintained a list of potential buyers of the four homes, according to a memo to council prepared by Chris Everson, the city’s affordable-housing project manager. So far, 48 households have shown a desire to buy the residences, but the price they are willing to pay ranges from $300,000 to $900,000.

An aggressive advertising campaign for the homes will ensue, however, within the next month so the city can get a truer gauge of the interest in the homes.

The council also agreed to allow limited customization of the homes because of potential cost overruns and construction delays.

“It creates a risk for the builder,” Everson said of customizing the homes. “If that buyer drops out, then you need to find a buyer who wants those customizations.”

Buyers would have to obtain pre-qualified bank loans in order to be eligible for the housing lottery, Everson said. Down payments likely would range from 10 percent to 20 percent, depending on the buyer and the bank.

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