Boise & Garden City

City of Boise to sell low-income home to low-income buyer

This city of Boise-owned home on North Manchester Place is set to go on the market and be available to people who make 80 percent or less of the area’s median income.
This city of Boise-owned home on North Manchester Place is set to go on the market and be available to people who make 80 percent or less of the area’s median income.

For years, Boise’s Housing and Community Development office has managed hundreds of rental homes for low-income families.

Now, the city is poised to sell a house and vacant lot that Housing and Community Development manages. The City Council approved a plan Tuesday to declare these properties surplus — a legally required precursor to selling government-owned real estate.

Boise spokesman Mike Journee said the city bought the properties some time ago with federal money. Selling them is a chance to practice what the city preaches about encouraging a mixed supply of housing types, whether it’s apartments for workers, rentals, for-sale homes or low-income rentals.

The homes will be available to anyone who meets low-income qualifications, Journee said. That means 80 percent or less of the area’s median income, or $48,250 for a four-person family.

A broker will set the opening prices, which cannot exceed the area’s median sales price, which is $175,000, Journee said.

Housing in Boise has been a major topic over the last few years. As the city emerged from the Great Recession, the supply of all types of homes, especially rentals in and around Downtown, grew tight. Developers have responded with a slew of apartment projects all over the city, but many of them are high-end projects and the new supply of living units has yet to result in a dramatic softening of prices.

City Hall has offered incentives such as grants and loan guarantees to encourage more Downtown homes. Additionally, the city and several partners are working to assemble a program that would put around 40 of the area’s chronically homeless people in apartments and surround them with services to help them cope with a host of maladies that contribute to their homelessness, such as mental health problems and addiction.

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