Michael Turner: We need realistic pricing on West Steamboat Neighborhood homes
The Steamboat Pilot & Today article on May 15, “Rising cost of construction stalls Trailside Village condo project aimed at providing housing for Steamboat locals,” causes me to wonder exactly how the continuous rising cost of building will affect the long-term plans for all housing, especially the promised “affordable” housing by Brynn Grey.
The Trailside Village project manager stated, “When we originally had it priced, the construction costs went up over 20% from early last winter until we got the final numbers revised about two weeks ago,” and developers announced they were suspending plans.
The April 24 Pilot & Today article, “FACT CHECK: How much will homes in West Steamboat Neighborhoods cost?”, stated West Steamboat Neighborhood’s prices for multifamily homes, townhomes and duplexes were in the mid $300,000s to low $400,000s; three-bedroom single family homes in the mid to high $400,000s; and market price homes in the mid $700,000s.
Whether or not these price estimates take the previous years 20% increase in building costs into account, by the time ground is broken on the first one, those prices can’t possibly still be realistic. The average cost of those various models will increase anywhere from $70,000 to $150,000 over the above stated price ranges with a 20% cost increase. Homes built five, 10 or 15 years from now will have building costs resulting in prices that are astronomical.
The “FACT CHECK” article on May 12 discussed what the Yampa Valley Housing Authority could build. Executive Director Jason Peasley stated “there would need to be a really strong reason why we wouldn’t build 50 units.” Could construction costs rising at a rate of around 20% a year be a really strong reason?
I’m certainly a proponent of growth to the west, yet I’ve never been under the illusion that this annexation was going to provide an abundance of affordable housing for our community. Factoring in the reality of ever-increasing building costs, we should question whether or not this annexation will actually provide homes for those who live here, affordable or otherwise, or just be another golden opportunity for second-home buyers.
We as voters, residents and taxpayers deserve more information from the developer and City Council with honest, realistic estimates of future pricing so we can truly determine if this project will benefit the community or place a enormous burden on city taxpayers for years to come.
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