Homebuyers cut the ribbon for the San Juan Community Home Trust’s new neighborhood of eight permanently affordable homes in Friday Harbor last Saturday, cheered on by a group of board members, donors, community members and supporters.
This is the fourth neighborhood of permanently affordable homes in Friday Harbor to be developed by the Home Trust. All homes have so far been sold to low-to-moderate-income island residents. A 40-unit rental project is in the planning stages. (See “Home Trust selected to build San Juan affordable housing,” Salish Current, Apr. 21, 2023.)
The new neighborhood, Holliwalk, consists of four duplexes with two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,000-square-foot homes at the intersection of Price Street and Holli Place in Friday Harbor. The homes are being sold to homebuyers for $190,000.
Homes are considered to be affordable if monthly housing payments (mortgage, homeowners association fees, taxes and insurance) are no more than 33% of household income. The U.S. Department of Agriculture rural home loans used by the Home Trust have longer terms, of 33–38 years, and the possibility of subsidized interest.
Construction began in May 2022 and has just been completed, with homebuyers now waiting for the certificates of occupancy.
The three-quarter-acre parcel of land was donated by a community member who wishes to remain anonymous. Architectural services were also donated. Over $1 million in donations were received from 300 individuals, according to Home Trust board president Jim Goetz.
In addition to a Housing Trust Fund grant, Holliwalk received a total of $1.68 million from the San Juan County Home Fund. The program to develop and preserve affordable housing throughout San Juan County was approved by voters in 2018. A .5% real estate excise tax, paid by the buyer in all real estate transactions, funds the Home Fund program, which is managed by the County with assistance from a housing advisory committee.
Construction of Holliwalk began in May of 2022. The neighborhood is highly energy-efficient as each home is equipped with triple-glazed windows, high R-value insulation, photovoltaic readiness and high-quality low-maintenance materials. A Washington State Housing Finance Commission construction loan was also obtained, requiring energy efficiency, and the project demonstrated that it could exceed the Washington State Energy code by 18%.
The San Juan Community Home Trust creates permanently affordable housing by using a resale restriction limiting the amount of appreciation to homeowners. In this way when the home is re-sold it can go to someone else in a similar income category.
— Reported by Nancy DeVaux