Park City Affordable Housing: Myth or Reality?

Park City Affordable Housing

The notion of affordable housing in resort communities across the country like Park City, remains a myth in many instances. Stories abound of resort workers paying rent to sleep on a window seat in an overly crowded apartment just to be close to skiing. Park City affordable housing, however, is arguably ahead of the curve, with relatively low-cost and deed-restricted housing options available both within city limits, and in Park City’s “extended” areas, including Pinebrook, Kimball Junction and, soon, an upcoming area of town called Quinn’s Junction.

Mountainlands Community Housing Trust

In 1993, the non-profit Mountainlands Community Housing Trust (MCHT) was formed to help address the issue of affordability, as exemplified by their motto: “Housing for people, not for profit.” MCHT was formed at a time when development was booming in Park City and throughout the Snyderville Basin (often unchecked in some areas). This left Park City and Summit County planning officials to grapple with ways to address the ability for workers to both live and work in town. Living and working in the same place is a pipe dream in places like Aspen, where land is more scarce and, therefore, more expensive, and an estimated 70-percent of workers commute in from outlying communities.

MCHT helps renters and homeowners at every income level navigate the waters of renting and home ownership, with options that continue to increase locally as new developments get ready to come online. According to Park City Municipal Corporation, there are 485 local affordable units. But that number will increase to 621 after projects currently in development are completed. In 2010, Park City built an award-winning, 13-unit neighborhood directly behind the main US Post Office on Kearns, called Snow Creek Cottages. Owners were identified via lottery, and the homes are a model of sustainability, with solar-generated hot water and the incorporation of recycled materials.

Summit County affordable housing strategy

Planners in Summit County devised a method to increase affordable housing options by swapping density – the total number of units per acre of land that could be built – for community benefits like open space and income-restricted housing. Two Snyderville Basin developments that successfully incorporated a mix of both regular priced homes, and income- and deed-restricted housing, include Bear Hollow and Fox Point at Redstone.

Income restrictions are more fully explained at Mountainlands website, but essentially your income needs to be a certain percentage of the Area Median Income (AMI). An example of a deed-restricted property is when the property must be resold to a qualified buyer, cannot be sold for more than 3% above its purchase price for three years, and then one percent each year thereafter. This prevents the homes that were built as affordable housing from experiencing surges in price after they’ve been sold a few times.

Affordable rental properties

Income-restricted rentals in both Park City and the Snyderville Basin – along with other areas of Summit County – are plentiful, as well. From Liberty Peak apartments and townhomes behind the Tanger Outlets, to Washington Mill Apartments on Daly Avenue in Old Town, there are opportunities for residents of varying income levels to live in Park City or the Snyderville Basin, and be able to work in any area of town, thanks to the free Park City Transit system. Click here for a full list of properties located in Summit and Wasatch counties.

There are also affordable options on the market that are not part of the income-restricted pool, but are simply priced at a level that is attainable at a moderate income. MCHT lists many of these properties, including this Fox Point home which, at just $218,000 and monthly homeowners dues of $270, plus annual taxes of only $867/year, could be available for approximately $1,200/month (with 20-percent down). Two-bedroom units at Silver Star, located at the base of Park City Mountain Resort across from the municipal golf course, are comparatively priced, and include all of the luxury upgrades their full-priced counterparts offer.

If you’re interested in learning more about moderately priced homes in our area, please contact me directly. We can work together to help achieve your dream of home ownership, regardless of circumstances.

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