Homewise busy at three jobsites
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
New homes at El Camino Crossing. Below, the model and sales office at Tessera