Four new Methow Housing Trust (MHT) affordable homes in the McKinney Ridge neighborhood near Mazama have been sold to local families as of mid-May, the trust said in a press release.
The trust anticipates another four families closing on home sales on Canyon Street in Twisp in early summer, the release said.
The COVID-19 pandemic created uncertainties about whether the new homeowners would be able to take possession, according to the release. Through coordinated efforts with lending partners WFG Title and Big Picture Construction, the MHT staff and board kept the process moving forward, said Stewardship Director, Erika Krumpelman.
“It was important to get really clear information early from lenders about how the COVID-19 pandemic could impact the purchases for our homebuyers,” Krumpelman said. “Fortunately, income for the buyers remained fairly stable; therefore, they were still eligible for mortgage loans. Lenders and title company representatives really stepped up to make the process go smoothly when everything else in the world felt a bit chaotic.”
The nonprofit trust, which is building affordable housing in Mazama and Twisp, completed and sold nine homes in 2019 — four in the McKinney Ridge neighborhood and five on Canyon Street — the first phase of its building plan.
The Housing Trust was created in 2017 and began building homes and taking applications from prospective homebuyers in 2018.
The trust follows a Community Land Trust model, which means that a buyer owns a house that sits on land owned by the Housing Trust and leases the house under a long-term (99-year) renewable lease.
The houses, which cost about $140,000 for two bedrooms and $160,000 for three bedrooms (about half comparable open market prices), are made affordable through community investment in the development of permanently affordable homes. To keep the houses affordable, the maximum increase in resale price is capped for perpetuity at 1.5%.
Basic eligibility requirements for buyers include living in the Methow Valley for at least 12 months or having a written commitment from a local employer; household income that does not exceed 100 percent of the median income for Okanogan County; personal assets that do not exceed 80 percent of the area median income; and the ability to qualify for an approved mortgage.
The trust also owns an 8-acre parcel near the Cascade Condominiums in Winthrop.