Alternative Housing #2
The Education Committee presented their second program in the Alternative Housing Options series yesterday at OBAOR. For many of us who work with clients who are having difficulty competing in the current Bay Area real estate market, these presentations have been very important.
Yesterday was great! The program was on TICs, Co-Housing and Land Trusts.
Steven King, Executive Director of the Oakland Trust gave a detailed description of the Oakland Land Trust, its history in the civil rights movement, how it works, how it helps low income families purchase property and how it supports them in the homeownership process. They buy distressed properties, rehabilitate them and sell the houses, but keeps the land in trust. This is how they are able to keep the costs of homes down.
Perry Riani of Pacific Union was also on the panel to talk about TICs and co-housing. He has had many years of experience helping groups of people buy property together in both tenants in common and co-housing situations. He described how both situations work, including the financing options.
He told us about some of his co-housing transactions which are much more complicated because you are dealing with multiple buyers and sellers on both sides of the deal. It is important to know up front if the buyers really want a group situation. Often people says they want to live in community, but do not really understand what it means.
Jennifer Ryan, a co-housing resident for the past ten years talked about her experiences. She is a strong proponent of the co-housing model, acknowledges that there can be problems, but really believes in the concept. In co-housing, the residents usually occupy their own units or houses, which are built around a central house where residents come together for meals, meetings, childcare and other activities. Frequently there are guest rooms for visitors, shared laundry and other amenities. Jennifer is currently living in her third community.
The East Bay has more co-housing communities than any area in the country. There are several large communities like Doyle Street Co-Housing, Swanns Market, Berkeley Co-Housing, Temescal Creek, Temescal Commons and several smaller communities. The costs of buying a co-housing unit are comparable to buying market rate units. On the other hand, a group of buyers buying a TIC property can purchase a large property together and split the costs. If a group of five friends buy a large $1.5 million property, the cost could be $300,000 each (or however they decide to divide the ownership.)