Policies hurt owners of affordable-housing | AspenTimes.com

Policies hurt owners of affordable-housing

Dear Editor:

Our housing system needs new product but not more of the same. I believe we need to better address the entry level and the “exit” (retirement/empty nesters) level of the affordable-housing market.

For decades, it has been assumed that if you bought an affordable-housing unit, you then would be able to sell it for the full appreciation you were allowed. Now we have 2,800 units in affordable housing, and some are pushing 40 years old. If you own a 40-year-old, two-bedroom affordable housing unit, are you concerned about new two-bedroom affordable-housing units proposed to be built now? Which one would you buy?

Affordable housing is becoming a more competitive marketplace, and if my nest egg were tied up in an affordable-housing unit, I would be worried about my value being driven down by policies that will build competitive units to mine. I believe that we should start to focus our affordable-housing efforts on getting young people into the market (entry level) and finding ways to incentivize retirees/empty nesters to move up/down to a new affordable housing product (“exit” level). A product that empty-nesters will want to own because they will have more freedom to improve, rent, sell and pass along to their heirs.

Stop building more of the same; stop hurting existing affordable-housing owners for the benefit of future owners. Acknowledge the reality of an aging affordable-housing population, and get on creating a product for them (us soon enough). My premise is that we can find much less expensive ways to incentivize affordable-housing empty nesters to move out of their affordable housing units than it costs us to build more of the same. I believe it will take less subsidy to create this product, the development community would be happier to build it, and existing employees would have less competition and a brighter financial future to look forward to.

Scott Writer


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