Double Budget Trouble For Mammoth Lakes Housing

With a budget battle at the state level plus the burst real estate bubble, we checked in to see how this double whammy had affected workforce housing in Mammoth.

Mammoth Lakes Housing, the non-profit organization that works with the Town of Mammoth, builds, buys and sells housing. The group provides housing for people who work in the community and who might not otherwise be able to keep up with prices driven by demand for second homes.

Mammoth Lakes Housing uses a variety of funding sources to accomplish their many tasks – the mitigation fees in town, state and federal money, as well as regular bank loans.

Now, the state budget mess has led to a freeze on certain bond money. Mammoth Housing Director Pam Hennarty says that the bond money freeze has affected their down payment assistance program to the tune of $1.7 million. This means fewer people will receive help making down payments on property.

On January 22, housing staff plans to hold an open house for the soon to be completed Aspen Village townhomes. An $87,000 grant for ADA compliance at the townhomes has been frozen with the other bond funded grants. That money will have to come from somewhere else.

The public money is now on hold, but there are private sector concerns for the hybrid Mammoth Housing as well. The Aspen Village townhomes were paid for in part with a normal construction loan and have to be sold in the current slumping real estate market.

With 24 deed restricted townhomes slated for a variety of income levels, Hennarty explained that the final prices on the units have not been set. People making up to 200% of the area median income, or $131,000 a year for a family of four, are eligible to buy. The hope is that the project will pay for itself.

Hennarty says that the finish work in these units is exceptional and she expects that the townhomes will fly off the shelf.

Given the current state of the market, the speed at which Aspen Village sells will likely depend on the prices of the units. These prices should be released next week.

There is an open house at the Aspen Village Townhomes on Old Mammoth Road, on Thursday January 22, starting at 5:00 pm. For more information call Mammoth Lakes Housing at 934-0474.

 
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