Home­wise busy at three job­sites

Home - Santa Fe Real Estate Guide - - LIVEYOURSTORY - By Paul Wei­de­man

RE­AL­TORS ARE SAY­ING THE IN­VEN­TORY OF AVAIL­ABLE HOMES ON THE MAR­KET IS AB­NOR­MALLY LOW. Po­ten­tial buy­ers­may be dis­ap­pointed by the dearth of choices es­pe­cially in new houses. Home­wise is one builder that is an­swer­ing the call, and when the non­profit opened its new El Camino Cross­ing pro­ject in Fe­bru­ary, 18 of the 40 sin­gle-fam­ily homes had al­ready been sold.

Home­wise is busy build­ing houses in three com­mu­ni­ties around Santa Fe. El Camino Cross­ing (ECC) is be­ing de­vel­oped on a 6.172-acre par­cel at Agua Fria Street and Har­ri­son Road. The oth­ers are the north­side Tessera pro­ject and Oshara Vil­lage, lo­cated on Richards Av­enue south of I-25.

The homes at El Camino Cross­ing started at $199,000 and there are six floor­plans, all sin­gle-story, rang­ing from 524 to 1,481 square feet and one to four bed­rooms. In mid-April, the first 20 had been built, and there were six lots left for sale. Re­main­ing floor plans are the 3-bed­room “San­gre de Cristo” start­ing at $279,400 and the 4-bed­room “Truchas” start­ing at $299,900.

“The other thing we’re do­ing at ECC is a live/work com­po­nent,” said Laura Al­tomare, Home­wise’s chief com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer. “There will be 36 two-story units, sort of condo-style, and they will be zoned for com­mer­cial as well as for liv­ing. This is the first time Home­wise has done this. We will break ground on the live/work phase this sum­mer.”

Al­tomare said Home­wise has part­nered with Mix Santa Fe to plan the pro­ject. “This is a col­lec­tive of young en­trepreneurs, cre­atives, peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in liv­ing and work­ing in Santa Fe, a lot of star­tups. We hosted a se­ries of dis­cus­sions and fo­cus groups and sur­veys to un­der­stand from the peo­ple who would po­ten­tially live here what they want. How should the live/work units be con­fig­ured? What kinds of ameni­ties should they have? What size should they be?”

When Home­wise be­gan those dis­cus­sions, the par­tic­i­pants were asked if they­would rather rent or buy. “Across the board, they said they’d rather rent,” Al­tomare said. “When we asked­why, the an­swer, again across the board, was, ‘Well, be­cause I as­sume I can’t af­ford to buy.’ So that’s dif­fer­ent. It’s not a pref­er­ence. Then we said, If we can solve the af­ford­abil­ity is­sue, what would you pre­fer? And ev­ery­one said they wanted to own. So we’re of­fer­ing the live/ work units for sale with our af­ford­able fi­nanc­ing to help pur­chase them. Just ask­ing that ques­tion of Why? changed the whole con­ver­sa­tion.”

In an­other first forHome­wise, ev­ery­thing be­ing built at ECC will have rooftop pho­to­voltaics to off­set own­ers’ elec­tric­ity costs. The so­lar pan­els, to­gether with thick in­su­la­tion and en­ergy-ef­fi­cient ap­pli­ances, will re­sult in Home En­ergy Rat­ing Sys­tem (HERS) scores of 51-55. That means the units will use only about half of the elec­tric­ity as a build­ing that is con­structed merely to code.

The third phase in the plans for El Camino Cross­ing is a straight com­mer­cial el­e­ment at the front, fac­ing along Agua Fria. Home­wise is in dis­cus­sions with two lo­cally owned restau­rants to go into that space.

Tessera, which is lo­cated next to Aldea de Santa Fe, has the most mar­ket-rate homes of the three cur­rent Home­wise de­vel­op­ments, but there is still a per­cent­age of af­ford­able and be­low-mar­ket-rate homes. The builders, Plat­inum Sky, re­cently launched Phase 2, con­sist­ing of 78 lots.

Homes start in the low $400,000s and there are nine floor­plans, two, three, and four bed­rooms, rang­ing from 1,271 to 2,497 square feet. “Oshara Vil­lage has picked up,” Al­tomare said. “Sales were slow to get go­ing and we think that­was be­cause of lo­ca­tion and there were some floor­plan and de­sign ad­just­ments we had to make.

“The lots there are long and skinny, which meant that if you were in a cen­ter lot it could feel a lit­tle dark. Sowe

PHO­TOS BY PAUL WEI­DE­MAN

New homes at El Camino Cross­ing. Be­low, the model and sales of­fice at Tessera

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