Housing for locals is on everyone’s mind these days. Keeping our community vibrant by providing housing for our workforce is key to keeping Telluride, Mountain Village and our surrounding neighborhoods the communities that we all love. Since the beginning of 2018, 21 deed restricted properties have been purchased by locals, and numerous other free market units were bought by locals as well. Regionally, more than 1,100 owner-occupied and long-term rental properties house more than an estimated 30-35% of San Miguel County’s local resident population, and more than 50% of the Telluride region’s locals (from Trout Lake to Aldasoro, and including the Town of Telluride and Mountain Village).
The Telluride Association of Realtors (TAR) First Time Homebuyer’s Assistance Fund is a private sector housing initiative where participating real estate brokers give back to the community by donating a portion of their commission from each closing to assist first time home buyers’ dreams of owning their first home. Since 2002, real estate brokers in the region have given nearly $615,000 in grants to 622 first time home buyers. In addition to the grants offered through the First Time Homebuyer’s Assistance Fund, many brokers who work with first time home buyers also contribute an additional part of their commission directly towards their clients’ closing costs. The Fund also provided assistance to the Virginia Placer rental lottery winners to help with moving costs. Although the Fund is usually used for down payment and closing cost assistance for locals buying their first home, TAR thought it was important to assist renters because moving can be expensive, and every dollar counts.
Esperanza Reyes, proprietor of the local’s favorite Mexican restaurant Esperanza’s, bought her first home in Lawson Hill this year. She utilized TAR’s First Time Homebuyer’s Assistance Fund to assist her with closing costs. She was grateful to Karen McCarthy, her real estate broker, in guiding her through the process which became complicated during the loan process. Her advice to anyone buying real estate in the Telluride area, and particularly to those who are buying their first home, is to use a real estate professional to guide the process. She is excited to be a homeowner and plans to remain in the Telluride area for many years to come.
Tara Barnett, an educator at the Telluride Mountain School, also recently bought her first home at Eider Creek. Tara was in a unique situation, and felt that TAR was very welcoming, understanding, and supportive in helping her through the process of applying for a First Time Homebuyer grant. She is very appreciative of the assistance of Kelly McGinty, her real estate broker, who helped her understand the sometimes complicated process of buying a home, and who made her aware of the First Time Homebuyers Assistance Fund – something she would not have known about otherwise. Her advice to other first time homebuyers is to believe in the process, understand that it can take a long time, don’t be intimidated, and pursue the grant that provided assistance towards her closing costs.
August Koehler and Kaitlyn Swick, along with their young son Maverick, also just purchased their first home at Lawson Hill. They too utilized TAR’s First Time Homebuyer Assistance Fund towards their closing costs. As with Esperanza and Tara, they felt that their real estate broker, Andrew Dolese, was instrumental in helping them through the process. Although they felt discouraged by the lack of available inventory, they were able to move quickly to put an offer on a property and eventually make it their home. Their advice to other buyers is to relax as the process can take a long time, but to stay persistent. And, without exception, all of the buyers felt that the guidance of a real estate professional was key in their success in purchasing their first home.
The Telluride region has been hugely successful in supporting and providing a large number of deed restricted owner-occupied and rental units to house our local population. Our three most recent projects, Spruce House and the Virginia Placer in Telluride, and Meadow View Apartments in Mountain Village, added a number of additional homes to the mix. In the Spruce House, eight deed-restricted for-sale condos ranging from one to three bedrooms were made available to local residents. The Virginia Placer includes 18 apartments, three tiny homes and a boarding house with capacity for 46 occupants. Meadow View Apartments included 30 apartments.
New projects within the Town of Telluride coming to the market soon include the SMPA lot offering 10 affordable housing units ranging from one to three bedrooms, Lot B North offering 16 affordable housing units ranging from one to four bedrooms, and Sunnyside, located just west of Eider Creek Condominiums, offering 20-24 units of housing. Mountain Village and San Miguel County have also added another 27 deed-restricted units since 2011. Finally, the Trust for Community Housing, a new grass-roots non-profit, works in collaboration with other public and private sector groups to increase affordable housing in the region, provides financial support to qualified individuals to help defray costs of moving and housing, and pursues land banking.
As we strive to keep our locals “local,” our various jurisdictions and entities will continue to maximize available assets and resources to provide the appropriate mix of housing to keep our neighborhoods the vibrant communities we all have grown to love.
Written by Lynn Ward, Broker Associate of Coldwell Banker Telluride