Sell, don’t rent affordable housing
Editor’s note: This letter was originally sent to the Basalt Town Council and Eagle County commissioners.
I am writing to urge you in all approvals granted, from this time forward, to require that all affordable housing, used as a credit for free-market development be of the “for sale variety.” I have not seen anything in the code that distinguishes between affordable housing to be built and held as “rental housing” and that affordable housing “offered for sale to individuals — not corporations” as part of the development mitigation code.
In the long run, “rental housing” will add to more class division, problems years down the road when the renters have no equity and need to make a move. It also adds to the transient nature of the valley.
Affordable housing that is produced of the “for sale variety to individuals not corporations” serves a vital community benefit. It bridges that gap that is now widening. It will give those who cannot afford free market to gain a foot hold and a seat at the ownership table. The hardest thing for many is to accumulate a down-payment, so they always rent. It is unfortunate. Affordable housing that can be owned by the occupant would assist greatly in that end.
For renters, rent money is “after tax” adding a real premium of an extra 30 to 40 percent of the cost for many struggling buyers pay monthly. Ownership provides interest tax deductions, so buying a place is much more affordable — not such a hardship. Put a 3 percent appreciation cap on the properties so that the affordability is not limited to the first buyer but every buyer in the chain of title into the future.
Ownership will make a huge difference in many people’s lives. It provides a bridge between rich and those who do not have a large down payment or who are making a high income. It is a chance for those starting out to accumulate some equity rather than throw away after tax rent money, month after month, and year after year. It will build a much better community of committed people who have some piece of mind and make better citizens. Please implement this very important community building housing adjustment immediately for all development applications of more than three units that you are looking at.
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