Vail Chamonix townhome lottery list grows
EAGLE COUNTY — Vail is a competitive town, from getting a seat on the bus in the morning to being first on the chairlift. And it looks as if the Chamonix housing lottery will be no different.
About 150 people have already expressed interest in entering a lottery to purchase one of the 32 homes in the incipient development, dubbed “Vail’s newest residential neighborhood for families,” in the Chamonix Road area of West Vail. A mandatory home buyer course is required of anyone who wants to enter the lottery, and 160 people have already signed up for that class.
The 32 homes will be offered to pre-qualified buyers who get lucky in the lottery, which will be held on May 3. The deadline to enter is 5 p.m. on March 17.
At Tuesday’s Vail Town Council meeting, Vail Community Development Director George Ruther said an educated home buyer is more likely to take a favorable view of the lottery process.
“Given the amount of subsidy that’s going into the project, an informed and knowledgeable home buyer is a great home buyer from the town’s perspective,” Ruther said.
‘ONE CHANCE AT WHAT YOU QUALIFY FOR’
While the terms have not yet been finalized, it looks as if each of the 32 homes will be subsidized by at least $200,000 — that number reflects the 2002 land purchase and subsequent costs. A deed restriction attached to each property will stipulate that the home can not appreciate by more than 1.5 percent of the purchase price annually. Estimated prices for the smallest of the units start in the low $400,000 range. The four largest units have estimated prices starting at $700,000. There are five different home types — all two- and three-bedroom units — with attached one- and two-car garages.
Couples, married or otherwise, can apply to be in the lottery as individuals if each person is individually qualified.
“Each person that qualifies for what you qualify for gets one chance at what you qualify for,” Ruther said.
While some qualified buyers will only fit income restriction and mortgage terms for a certain unit, others will be eligible for multiple units. Which is where the lottery becomes tricky.
Ruther said he suspects situations will arise where people will be selected at a point in the lottery when their preferred home has already been won by somebody else.
“At that point you have an option to have your name placed on a wait list in the order in which the names were drawn,” Ruther said. “So it begins to create a selection list going forward should a buyer fall out of the process for a certain type of home, it allows us to go back to the list.”
With the lottery selection doubling as the formation of a wait list, the lottery will not end once the 32 homes are spoken for. “We will draw every name out of the bucket until every name is pulled and everybody who wants to be on a wait list is on a wait list,” Ruther said.
The fact that there are five different types of properties in the neighborhood complicates the waiting list, Ruther said. The waiting list could be specific to each style of property, or one large list could be formed with the person at the top being offered whatever property becomes available.
Vail Recreation District employee Jesse Klehfoth, speaking as an Eagle County resident interested in entering the lottery, said she would prefer being offered any property which becomes available rather than the specific type of unit she originally expressed interest in.
“If I know that there’s more two bedroom, one-car garage units, then I’m going to want to get on that list for a better chance,” Klehfoth said. “But I think if I’m able to (purchase) anything that I’m pre-qualified for, I’d love to be just next in line for whatever opens.”
Council member Greg Moffet proposed a solution which seemed to be agreeable to most of the council.
“If you’re number one on the wait list and you can’t qualify for what becomes available, you’re still number one on the wait list for the next transaction,” Moffet said.
Ruther said he would work out the wait list details in the days to come.
“Let me see if we can come up with something that is equitable and fair with regards to the wait list, that doesn’t have us spending two weeks trying to get a unit back under contract,” Ruther said. “I think coming up with something that’s 100 percent equitable is going to be challenging given the number of selections that people have to make.”
Council member Dick Cleveland said above all else, the town’s goal should be to get the units sold as quickly as possible, given the town is spending roughly $17.5 million to build the project. That money will only be recovered as homes are sold.
“We need to do whatever’s best for the taxpayers who are paying for this,” Cleveland said.
The lottery will take place at 6 p.m. in Donovan Pavilion on May 3. For more information, go to www.vailgov.com.