CHR touts affordable home ownership on island
In the past, the term “affordable housing” and “Sanibel” might never appear in the same sentence.
But thanks to a new program funded in part through the City of Sanibel, even working-class folks may be able to own a home here in paradise.
On Monday and Tuesday, members from Community Housing & Resources (CHR) hosted two orientation sessions, where members of the public were invited to learn more about limited-equity home ownership on Sanibel.
During the informal meetings, Scott Marcelais, executive director of the City of Sanibel’s Housing Foundation, and Patti Bohm, administrative secretary for CHR, offered details of a new program that makes home ownership via below-market-rate housing possible.
A total of 23 people have attended these meetings since the program was announced.
“To me, it’s because it is now affordable to own a home here on Sanibel,” Bohm said on Wednesday. “Without this program, it wouldn’t be possible for most people.”
Through CHR’s private non-profit subsidiary, Community Land Trust, 14 new units – the Court Place development – and several refurbished units located at previously established CHR campuses – Beach Road and Sanibel Highlands – will soon be ready. According to CHR officials, applications are currently being accepted.
“People are saying, ‘Oh my gosh. I can actually own my own home now,'” added Bohm. “And with ownership you can begin to build equity instead of throwing your money away by paying rent every month.”
Orientation sessions had previously been held for people who work at the island’s various public service entities – including city staff, police and fire departments and schools – and non-profit organizations to explain the possibilities of owning a home through its new limited-equity ownership plan.
Tylor Compton, a teacher at The Sanibel School, attended Monday’s CHR session. She had initially filed an application two years ago because she didn’t want to move off-island.
“I owned a home here and my entire life was here – my parents, my job, my favorite activities,” Compton said. “But I did eventually move.”
She explained that once she heard about CHR’s limited-equity home ownership program recently, her interest in moving back to the island was renewed.
“These guys (CHR) are on top of everything,” added Compton. “They’ve called me whenever they heard of any housing possibilities. They reach out to the community because I really do think they care about us.”
During her meeting with Marcelais and Bohm, Compton learned more about the program, which has several requirements for participating in the limited-equity ownership program including:
You must be a first-time homebuyer (meaning you have owned no real estate primary residence for the preceding three years).
You must work on the island.
You must have a FICO (credit) score of at least 600.
You must meet the income guidelines, which are a maximum of 120 percent of area median income. The maximum annual incomes are:
– One-person household: $50,280
– Two-person household: $57,480
– Three-person household: $64,680
– Four-person household: $71,880
– Five-person household: $77,640
– Six-person household: $83,400
– Seven-person household: $89,160
– Eight-person household: $94,920
Compton has two daughters who are away attending college, but she is looking for a residence with at least two bedrooms. Marcelais went over details of some of the CHR’s units that have been refurbished and will be ready to move in by August. The Court Place development is expected to be ready around the end of the year.
A three-bedroom unit at Court Place, priced at $218,000, would require a mortgage of approximately $149,000 based upon a $40,000 (80 percent) SHIP subsidy, a $19,000 (80 percent) HOME subsidy and $10,000 (80 percent) FHLB down payment. Two bedroom units are priced at $196,631.
He also explained that participants who purchase a home through the program should expect to pay $50 per month for the ground lease and another $50 per month for the Homeowners Association, which will go towards paying property maintenance and reserves.
Another reason they are affordable is the limited buy-back option, which allows an increase of up to three percent annually, capped at 10 percent.
“We’re co-signing all of the loans,” Marcelais pointed out. “It just makes sense because we have the buy these homes back anyway.”
Even more affordable are the refurbished units. At the Beach Road campus, two bedroom units cost $135,000 and one bedroom units cost $100,000. Two bedroom units at Sanibel Highlands are priced at $125,000.
People who would like to learn more about CHR and the limited-equity ownership program should contact Patti Bohm or Scott Marcelais at 472-1189 or visit their office inside the Sanibel Senior Center, located at 2401 Library Way.