One of America’s greatest ski towns has rung in the New Year with an historic commitment to help build 10 Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley homes within Town of Vail boundaries. The deal is unprecedented in the Rocky Mountain region in modern times as property values spike in high-end resort municipalities, exacerbated by the global pandemic and the influx of remote workers pushing homeownership further out of reach and decimating available housing stock.
On Tuesday, Jan. 2, the Vail Town Council unanimously approved Resolution No. 1 that outlines an innovative public-private partnership with Habitat Vail Valley, Eagle County Government and Triumph Development for 10 homeownership opportunities as part of the Timber Ridge Phase II redevelopment.
“The main goal of this project is preserving and enhancing the family demographic currently served by Timber Ridge that will ensure community growth in the Town through increased home ownership,” says Vail Mayor Travis Coggin. “I’m excited and proud to kick off the New Year with such a meaningful and impactful first resolution.”
The Town of Vail has committed $2 million towards Habitat Vail Valley’s inaugural mortgage lending pilot program for the Timber Ridge Phase II redevelopment project scheduled to be available for occupancy in the fall of 2025. Half of the Town’s contribution will come from funds collected from a recent deed restriction violation settlement.
Pending its 2024 budget approval on Jan. 9, Eagle County Government will invest an additional $2 million. Eagle County’s innovative housing programs aspire to create both rental and homeownership opportunities throughout the valley. The investment by both the Town of Vail and Eagle County Government will allow Habitat to issue zero-interest mortgages affordable to qualified buyers earning under 80 percent of the area median income. Homes will be deed-restricted, ensuring they remain affordable in perpetuity, so families can be sure to have a place to call home for decades to come.
Habitat is proposing to self-finance 10, three-bedroom homes at Timber Ridge for purchase by qualified buyers. To do so, however, Habitat requires collaboration with the Town and the County, who will act as buy-down partners, helping fill the funding gap between the actual cost to build the homes and affordability.
“This is a unique three-way partnership to accomplish the delivery of 10 homes for ownership at AMI levels that no one else can make happen. Habitat Vail Valley is thinking outside the box with increasing private-public partnerships to bring new projects to fruition for our critical workforce. We’ve worked for decades to get to ‘yes,’ and I’m grateful for the recent work by the Town of Vail, Eagle County Government and Triumph to make Vail Habitat homes a reality,” says Kristin Kenney Williams, Habitat’s Board president.
Habitat, adds Kenney Williams, recognizes the potential of providing incremental affordable homeownership opportunities for hardworking locals beyond just building houses by way of financing non-Habitat constructed homes with its zero percent loan product. Using the estimated $868,000 three-bedroom home price at the Timber Ridge Phase II, and a maximum affordability of $400,000 – $450,000 at the above-mentioned AMI levels, along with Habitat’s zero percent loan product, an approximate $400,000 per home buy-down is required, for a total of $4 million for 10 homes. Habitat is committed to raising an additional $4 million to finance the 10 units to provide home ownership opportunities within the Town of Vail, thus leveraging the investment by both the Town and County.
Triumph Development plans to break ground using modular construction on seven buildings later this spring after demolishing 40-year-old rental-only buildings. The Habitat homes will be move-in ready spring of 2025. A price-capped deed restriction limiting future pricing will be recorded for each home.
“Habitat homeowners are educators, law enforcement officers, tradespeople, healthcare, grocery store and resort employees who make the Town of Vail and greater Eagle County vibrant places to live,” says Matt Scherr, Chair of the Eagle County Board of Commissioners. “Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley has demonstrated its ability to bring together partnerships, collaboration and innovative thinking to create affordable home ownership solutions, breaking ground on 124 homes since its inception in 1995. Eagle County is thrilled to partner with the Town of Vail and Habitat Vail Valley to leverage each of our strengths to bring homeownership opportunities to a prime up-valley location.”
Habitat Vail Valley is in the process of completing its three-year, $18 million investment in 46 homeownership opportunities. Habitat launched its innovative housing strategies with a 2023 groundbreaking of 16 modular homes in the Town of Eagle and in partnership with Eagle County School District and Eagle County Government. It was the first time Habitat Vail Valley piloted modular construction, demonstrating that, in conjunction with its historical stick-built construction, it is able to deliver more homes faster.