Breckenridge’s Buy-Down Program puts 8 deed-restricted properties up for sale to help workforce housing
Eight homes bought through Breckenridge’s Buy-Down Program are currently for sale through the Summit County Housing Authority.
All of the homes are in the Upper Blue River Basin and are priced between $388,000-$620,000 and will be sold by a lottery for workers in Summit County. Home sizes range from studio to three bedrooms.
In Breckenridge’s Buy-Down Program, housing officials purchase homes for sale, place a local workforce restriction on the property and sell the home at a reduced price. For all of the homes, the property must be the occupant’s primary residence, and each home has a restrictive covenant where the occupant must work 30 hours per week on an annual average basis for a business located in and serving Summit County.
Certain applications will receive priority or extra entries into the lottery. Upper Blue Basin employees will receive an extra entry, and priority lottery will be given to applicants who do not own other residential property in Summit County or Eagle County. If there are multiple applicants who meet this priority, then the lottery will be among only those applicants. There are no income limits on any of the eight properties for sale, and the appreciation limit for each home is 3%.
Laurie Best, planning manager for housing and child care for the town, said that buy downs provide a much faster way of creating housing for the local workforce as opposed to building more complexes.
“We can’t build our way out of this,” Best said. “This program compliments the new construction strategies, and it can help us preserve neighborhoods. Most of the time, we want to target neighborhoods where locals traditionally live. It’s super cost-efficient and a quick way to get units — whereas construction takes us to years.”
Every month, the housing committee releases a report card about the town’s various housing programs and developments. For May, the committee said that though the cost per acquisition has gone up, it is still cheaper than building new housing.
“The cost per acquisition is up considerably from $365,390, (or) $228,000 per bedroom, to $631,928 per unit, or $421,285 per bed,” May’s Housing Report Card reads. “But, once the units are resold with a deed restriction, even with the sales cost, carry cost (and) repairs, (estimated $30,000 per unit), the net cost per bedroom should average around $150,000-170,000 per unit, or $91,000 per bed. This is less than new construction, and the program preserves existing housing stocks and neighborhoods.”
Best said that calculating a home’s buy-down price takes several aspects into consideration.
“There’s not a black-and-white formula,” she said. “We’re going to probably try to reduce it to market by somewhere between 25% to 30% discount to market. That’s if we buy it and we’re selling it right away. Some of these units we bought, and we’ve held on to for a while because we were using them for town employees or something like that. So then it’s more difficult because the market has gone up obviously since we bought them.”
In the 2008 Workforce Housing Action Plan, the Town of Breckenridge expanded efforts to acquire existing free-market units and convert them to permanently affordable workforce housing, and in February, Town Council approved a five-year plan that would invest $50 million of the town’s dollars to go toward housing. This will work in tandem with $300 million dollars spent on local workforce housing through public/private partnerships, collaborations, private investments, grants and other financing strategies. Because of the current housing market, the average cost for a buy down has increased 154% from in 2019 to 2021.
To purchase a property that is deed-restricted, buyers need to qualify through the Summit County Housing Authority.
In April, Breckenridge’s housing department spoke about the success of the Buy-Down Program. By that month, the town was already halfway to its yearly goal of buying 24 homes in 2022 to be sold back to the local workforce — more than double what the goal was in 2021. Since the program resumed in 2019 after a hiatus, 15 of the buy-down homes have been sold, including four in 2022.
Because of this year’s success in the Buy-Down Program, housing and child care administrator Austyn Dineen said the team will shift focus to the Housing Helps Program, which pay owners, buyers, sellers, businesses and investors 15-30% to accept a deed restriction on homes that are currently unrestricted. Funds from the exchange can be used for down payment, home repairs, special assessments or any other purpose, and the deed restriction would ensure the property is used for local housing.
Currently, the Housing Helps program has received six applications this year, short of the town’s goal of 40 for all of 2022.
Applications for the current homes for sale are due Wednesday, June 8, at noon. More homes acquired from buy-downs are expected to be sold in the coming months, and buyers interested in buying a deed-restricted home are encouraged to reach out to call (970) 668-4172 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The lottery for the eight homes will be on June 17 at noon.
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