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Affordable homes taking hold in Edwards

Veronica Whitney
NWS Miller Ranch1 SM 6-10 Vail Daily/Shane Macomber Miller Ranch workers strive in every department to get the affordable housing project completed. Thursday in Edwards.
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Since he moved to his new townhome at Miller Ranch, Karl Talcott has been paying a little bit more than the rent he paid in Wildridge, but he has double the space.”Maybe this wouldn’t be a good deal in Wisconsin, where I come from, but it’s been a good deal here,” said Talcott, 42, who last year paid $225,000 for a townhome at the Miller Ranch affordable housing complex.”We like Edwards a lot,” said Talcott, who moved to Miller Ranch with his fiancee. “We like to walk to Starbucks on weekends. The weather is good and we’re meeting a lot of people.”The project, which includes a mix of 282 townhomes, duplexes, lofts and single family homes, has been selling faster than expected, said Bob Arguelles, director of sales and marketing for ASW Realty, which is building the project with Eagle County. “The sales have exceeded the projections we had. More than 50 percent is sold with only five townhomes left,” Arguelles said. “Originally, this had been a three- to three-and-a-half-year project to sell.” Instead, ASW has sold 169 of the 282 homes in since sales began in January 2003, near a year-and-a-half ago. “Fifty residents now call Miller Ranch home and I expect (the project) will be sold out within a year,” Arguelles said, “particularly with the interest we’ve seen lately.”Over the course of last month we had 25 sales,” he added. “The townhomes are almost all gone. The single family homes have been the slowest seller because you need to qualify to buy them.”

Miller Ranch home buying qualifications include: Agreeing to deed restrictions that cap annual appreciation; being employed full-time in Eagle County or earning 75 percent your income from Eagle County businesses; and agreeing to occupy the home as a full-time residence. The homes, which cost from $130,000 to more than $270,000, are expected to appreciate between 3 to 6 percent per year based on the average wage increase in Eagle County. Luly and Ozil Ramirez, who moved to Miller Ranch from Eagle, have painted their new home in bright colors: The study is orange and the hallway to the stairs is apple green. The Ramirezes have three children and are among those families which qualified to purchase a single family home at Miller Ranch. “We’ve moved to Miller Ranch to stay,” said Luly Ramirez. “We chose Miller Ranch because we like Edwards and this is a good project. We like the soccer fields and the pond and the proximity of the schools.” Miller Ranch is part of the larger Berry Creek project, which includes playing fields that opened this spring, a pond that’s still under construction and a new Colorado Mountain College campus scheduled to open by the fall. The move to Miller Ranch also seemed to be financially beneficial for the Ramirezes. In Eagle, they paid $2,500 in rent. Now, they pay $1,400 for a three-bedroom home they own.”There’s a lot to offer here,” said Arguelles, who in the next months, plans to target the Hispanic market in the valley. “A lot of people still don’t know that they can qualify to buy a home here. There are a lot of programs to help U.S. citizens and foreign residents, too.”In fact, with as little as $1,000 earnest money people can buy a home at Miller Ranch, Arguelles said.”Some can get up to 100 percent financing,” he added.Arguelles expects the homes to sell out before the project is done. Since construction began in March 2003, 46 homes have been completed and 95 are under construction. Arguelles said he doesn’t know yet when they’ll break ground on the rest of the homes, mostly single-family homes and duplexes.

“I believe construction will be completed by the middle of 2006,” he said.Beth McKenzie, who in October moved with husband Matt to a Miller Ranch townhouse, said she is very happy with her home, but she is still waiting for the landscaping to begin.”We like living here, the community is nice, very family oriented,” said McKenzie, a Vail Daily sales associate who expects her first baby in September. “But they told us they would start in May with the landscaping. It’s been too many excuses and not too much action.”Landscaping equipment moved in to Miller Ranch last week, said Derek Randle, construction manager at Miller Ranch.”We expect to begin landscaping construction in the next weeks,” Randle said. ASW Realty will donate $10,000 to buy children playground equipment for the park in the middle of the complex.Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at vwhitney@vaildaily.com. ==========================================



Real estate run downFour types of home are still available at Miller Ranch:• One- and two-bedroom “Mill Loft-style” condominiums ranging in size from 820 square feet to 1,072 square feet. Prices range from the low $130,000s to the mid $160,000s. Upstairs homes have high-volume ceilings and a loft with an optional bath. • Two- and three-bedroom townhouses with unfinished basements and two-car garages. Sizes range from 1,158 square feet to 1,376 square feet. Prices range from the low- to mid-$200,000s.• Two- and three-bedroom duplexes with a one-car garage. Basements are available on certain homes. Sizes range from 996 square feet to 1,209 square feet. Prices range from the low $180,000s to the low $200,000s.• Single-family homes with three and four bedrooms ranging in size from 1,351 square feet to 1,511 square feet. Prices range from the $230,000s to the $260,000s. Certain homes have basements.For more information, call 926-8578 or log on to http://www.millerranchhomes.com.=========================================


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