Housing costs: Beyond the reach
SUMMIT COUNTY A recently completed housing study provides a detailed blueprint for converting tax dollars into homes for a burgeoning local population that has been increasingly priced out of the market.The study shows that, similar to other resort towns, the gap between incomes and home prices continues to grow steadily, putting for-sale homes in Summit County beyond the reach of locally employed residents.In 1999, the median single-family home price was $317,500. According to the 2007 numbers, that more than doubled to $670,300. Incomes have not kept pace with that rise in home prices. The median home price is now about 851 percent higher than the median income of $78,800. In 1999, that gap was 491 percent. The study also says there is demand for 4,468 homes, with new jobs and an increase in the number of senior households pushing that number to about 7,000 homes by 2012.About 75 percent of the residents who want to buy a home in Summit County are looking for small, single-family homes with a base price of about $200,000, the study said.Balconies and decks were the most important amenities, followed closely by a two-car garage and a private yard. Locals are also thinking, green tabbing energy efficiency as the fourth-ranked amenity out of 10 offered.Local affordable housing leaders meanwhile began pounding out details of a uniform deed restriction for the county last week.Wed rather do it right than do it in a hurry, said Summit Combined Housing Authority executive director Bonnie Osborn. Our NO. 1 objective is to keep homes affordable, and we want a generic deed restriction so people across the county will know what is included if they buy a deed-restricted house.One of the most important aspects will be setting an annual cap for resale. For now, the housing authority plans to keep the cap at an annual rate of 3 percent, which is the standard for many housing authorities across the country.The document will likely exclude real estate commissions and associated costs from considerations of sales price.Guidelines relating to several other elements of the restriction are still being discussed, including: The minimum number of hours per week the owner of the property must work, which the draft sets at 30 hours. The owner will also need to occupy the home full-time; A limit to the amount of capital improvements allowed during a certain period of time; Maximum household income; How long after a home is purchased the owner may retire; and A section to protect affordable units from losing their affordability in the event of a foreclosure.