County seeks low-income homebuyers

Lottery to select residents for housing development
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Placer County is looking for 15 potential homebuyers willing to spend $180,000 for a 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom home in North Auburn. The homes will be built as part of a 143-lot residential development at Atwood Road and Richardson Drive. Potential buyers who qualify will be entered into a drawing to determine who buyers will be. Plans for the lottery were given a first look Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors. The board approved the Atwood Ranch III development in January 2004, with the proviso that 15 affordable units be built in the $170,000 to $200,000 range. Median prices were hovering around $300,000 at the time and have since risen to higher than $530,000 in the Auburn area. Supervisor Jim Holmes, whose district takes in the Atwood Ranch development, said the 15 homes will be a valuable asset for the area in providing affordable housing for firefighters, sheriff's deputies, nurses, and teachers -- all who have work places in the vicinity of Atwood Ranch. A former Auburn Union School District trustee, Holmes said the affordable homes would be another option for families starting out and that those families would provide schools with more students at a time when declining enrollment has hampered programs. The 15 homes will sit on lots averaging 7,200 feet and be located adjacent to Auburn Elementary School. "This is an excellent opportunity to make homeownership available to lower-income households in Placer County," Holmes said. Michele Scott, project manager for Folsom homebuilder Morrison Homes, said construction will start Nov. 1, with homes opening in April. The county Redevelopment Agency will use federal Housing and Urban Development standards to keep the resale price of the houses around the $180,000 level for 20 years. After that, the owner can resell at the market rate. Nearby homes in Atwood Ranch III will range from 1,910 square feet to 3,207 square feet, with most in the 2,000-3,000 square-foot range. To qualify for one of the homes, a four-person household's annual income cannot exceed $52,300, or 80 percent of the 2006 area median income of $65,400. Prospective homebuyers must provide a minimum three percent down payment of about $5,400, plus pay for closing costs. The redevelopment agency and Morrison Homes will hold two information workshops on the affordable homes, covering home ownership responsibilities, income requirements and the procedures for selection of buyers. They'll be on from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 27 and Oct. 12 in the former Planning Commission Chambers, 2900 Richardson Drive. For additional information about the lottery process or to receive a pre-application, the county is asking people to call Cathy Donovan at (530) 745-3150. The Journal's Gus Thomson can be reached at