Housing forum addresses future needs in the Yampa Valley | SteamboatToday.com

Housing forum addresses future needs in the Yampa Valley

City Community Housing Coordinator Nancy Engelken, left, and Yampa Valley Housing Authority Executive Director Donna Howell spoke to 40 people about work force housing options Friday.

— Two of the valley’s leading affordable housing experts addressed the question: “Will your children be able to afford to live here?” before an audience of 40 at an affordable housing forum Friday.

More specifically, Nancy Engelken and Donna Howell answered the rhetorical question “If your children someday purchases deed-restricted housing in Steamboat Springs, will they build any equity? And will they have a chance to sell that home in order to trade up to a market rate home somewhere else?”

The answer is “yes,” Howell said. She is the executive director of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority. Engelken is the community housing coordinator for the city of Steamboat Springs.

At the forum put on by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, Howell offered specific examples of how a qualifying buyer of deed-restricted housing here could more than double their investment in an affordable home during the course of five years.

“You do have an opportunity to have some buying up,” Howell said. “There is some appreciation. When you look at it, it’s better than renting.”

Howell offered the hypothetical case of a household earning 80 percent of the area median income – $48,450 for two people and $54,500 for three people. With a 10 percent down payment on a $200,000 deed- restricted home, they could realize a 296 percent return in five years, she said. That assumes a deed restriction that allows 3 percent annual appreciation, payment of principle and tax benefits of home ownership.

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Engelken told the gathering she is exploring options for employer-assisted housing projects that could be put in place here. Such public/private partnerships have worked well in other parts of the country and, in some cases, allow employers to write a check to defray the cost of affordable housing for a specific number of employees, and then turn the administrative chores over to the public sector.

The financial mechanisms used in employer-assisted housing programs vary, she added. One example is a revolving loan fund that makes it easier for employees making 120 percent of the area median income to qualify to purchase the market-rate housing they desire.

Friday’s forum will be followed on June 27 with a discussion of what other communities in the region are doing to meet housing needs, and on July 25 with a discussion of funding strategies.

The series of forums is sponsored by the Chamber’s Economic Development Council, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., the Steamboat Board of Realtors, First Tracks by Resort Ventures West, Colorado Mountain College and the city.