Kulshan Community Land Trust, working with Habitat for Humanity, breaks ground this month on 54 new affordable townhome properties in North Bellingham. This project is designed to help moderate and low-income families who are struggling to buy homes in the current Bellingham Metro real estate market where the median house price recently reached $452,000.
Both organizations are non-profits who are pooling their resources, according to a recent article in the Bellingham Herald. The Whatcom Community Foundation is also involved in this project. The first phase will start with eight townhomes at 1050 Telegraph Road and is expected to be completed in February of 2019. The entire project will be completed within seven years.
Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County will build the homes along with the buyers who also participate in the construction and finishing work. This is their “sweat equity”.
North Bellingham properties priced below market prices
The homes will be priced with mortgages within the $100,000 to $175,000 range, considerably lower than the average mortgage for today’s new homes. In addition, some mortgage payments will be as low as $350 a month at a time when most new monthly mortgage payments are several times that amount.
The average price for a rental unit in Bellingham proper is $1150 plus utilities. Many families renting an apartment find it difficult to save money for a home. The demand for rental property has increased the price of apartments in the area with the vacancy rate at only one percent.
To qualify for the new homes, buyers must show an income of $22,830 to $60,880 for a family of four. The project will also help people with a household income of more than $61,000, considered a moderate income in the Bellingham area. According to Dean Fearing, executive director of the Kulshan Community Land Trust, there is a waiting list for the homes. Kulshan also hopes to build an additional 12 to 16 homes on three acres in the Birchwood area.
Master planned community
The new townhomes will be energy-efficient to keep utility costs low. The townhomes are designed by RMC Architects with two and three-bedroom, two-story floor plans.
The master plan includes pedestrian-only walkways with access to Bellingham City Park trails and a bus stop on Telegraph Road. The bus line serves the shopping center at Meridian and Telegraph. A community garden is also part of the plan.
The motivation to build new, affordable homes in the Bellingham area is partly related to the city’s homeless population. The objective is to provide safe and secure housing for families. The City of Bellingham Community Development Block Grant program and the Washington State Department of Commerce Housing Trust Fund have given grants to the project. Private funding is also involved.
The City of Bellingham and Whatcom County have experienced an increased population in the past six years. The demand for affordable housing has grown along with the population. The city has adopted the Infill Housing concept that makes use of all land that can be used for buildings within a community. This concept incorporates affordable housing with easy access to the public transportation and services.
Son-Rise Property Management has been serving the property management needs of Bellingham and Whatcom County since 1996. Contact us today to see how we can help you find a rental property for your family or manage your rental properties.