Placer Expands Tahoe Area Down Payment Assistance Program Eligibility

KINGS BEACH, Calif. – Local workers of all income levels looking to buy a home in North Lake Tahoe are now eligible for down payment assistance through the Workforce Housing Preservation Program Placer County Work.

The removal of the income cap was one of several changes passed Tuesday by the County Board of Supervisors to increase program participation on the east side of Placer County. The program aims to create a “second market” of housing reserved for the local workforce.

Launched in 2021, the program pays participants to restrict their properties so that only local workers can buy or rent them, providing buyers with a source of financing that could be used for a down payment or renovations. In recent months, the program has seen its first entrant close on a property, and 24 other applicants have been approved but have yet to find homes to buy.

But with median home prices in North Lake Tahoe more than doubling in the past two years alone, the supply of homes in affordable price ranges for those earning less than the program’s initial income cap of $245 % of average median income has been rare.

Other changes to the program guidelines include removing the provision that those who have owned a home in the last 12 months could not apply, opening it up to the 60% of local workers who live outside of North Tahoe. but would prefer to live closer to their work. There are also now several options for demonstrating that an applicant is a full-time employee – a measure to ensure local teachers are eligible.

Deed restriction payments of 16% of the purchase price, up to $150,000, will be awarded during the purchase process, based on the availability of financing, to those who have prequalified for the program . All participants must qualify and obtain independent financing for the purchase of a home. In any case, the deed restrictions will remain in place for 55 years, with the 55 year term renewing with each sale or transfer of the home.

At full implementation, Placer’s goal is to be able to purchase 40 new deed restrictions per year in Eastern Placer.

The program is modeled after the InDEED program in Vail, Colorado, developed in response to rising housing costs and the limited availability of housing for local workers. Vails’ housing issues are similar to those in eastern Placer County, where nearly 90% of homes are owned by secondary owners. Since its inception in 2017, Vail has secured local housing by purchasing deed restrictions on more than 140 units, and the program has since been replicated in the Colorado towns of Frisco and Breckenridge.

The Placer Workforce Housing Preservation Program is currently accepting applications from local workers working in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, for homes in Eastern Placer County only.

Source: Placer County

About Matthew R. Dailey

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