Downpayment Assistance Launched for Local Homebuyers

Downpayments can be a big roadblock for locals looking to purchase a home in Truckee and North Tahoe. Not only do they require gathering precious cash right before making perhaps the biggest investment of a lifetime, but smaller downpayments can kick in mortgage insurance premiums, making already large monthly payments even more unaffordable.

The Martis Fund is partnering with the Sierra Business Council to help some locals overcome that housing hurdle. With $500,000 in funding, the program will dole out up to $50,000 or 10 percent of the home purchase price to qualifying local homebuyers at a three percent interest rate. The loan repayment can be deferred until the re-sale of the home under the program.

The downpayment assistance program is available to workers in Truckee and Eastern Placer County who make up to 180 percent of the median income in the region — roughly $144,180 for a family of four.

Loans will be made on a first-come-first-served basis. For more information on the program contact Gina Jones, Program Administrator, at More information on the program is available here.

Local Housing Through the Eyes of the Developer

Oftentimes we think of housing from the perspective of homeowners, renters, employers, policymakers, and advocates. The Mountain Housing Council set out to share the perspective of the developer, a view often overlooked.

Developers are the ones who put money at risk, wade through the permitting and approval process, and deal with the challenges of construction. They are one of the keys to unlocking more achievable local housing. Policymakers can streamline the process, advocates can marshal support, and residents can make their voices heard — but in the end a developer is the one who puts a shovel in the ground to actually build housing.

To understand what developers encounter while developing a local housing project, we sat down to speak with Mike Foster of Triumph Development. Foster has a unique perspective on the process. He is currently building a project in Coburn Crossing near downtown Truckee with market-rate units and units that will be deed-restricted to local residents. Foster also has extensive experience building projects in another mountain town — Vail, Colorado.

Watch the video to get a unique behind-the-scenes perspective on the development process through the eyes of a developer currently building a Truckee project for local residents.


Annual Membership Luncheon Will Address Achievable Housing Solutions in North Lake Tahoe

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Headlining the event is George Ruther, Housing Director for the Town of Vail, CO; keynote will focus on long-range planning initiatives and the significance of a united community to implement change

Tickets to the Annual Membership Luncheon hosted by the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association | Chamber | CVB are on sale now; headlining the event is George Ruther, Housing Director for the Town of Vail, CO.

With more than 24 years of mountain resort community experience, Ruther is an expert in the creation and successful implementation of master plans and long-range planning initiatives focused on addressing resort community’s most challenging issues. Understanding that year-round residents are critical to maintaining and sustaining community, the Town of Vail views housing as infrastructure – a community support system – not unlike roads, bridges, water and sewer and similar services delivered by municipal government.

As local stakeholders in the North Lake Tahoe-Truckee region begin to identify viable housing solutions, the Luncheon will give perspective on innovative for-sale and for-rent developments along with leadership models that are both inspirational and unified. Ruther offers a unique glimpse into a community that has successfully established policies and funding sources.

The Membership Luncheon will take a solution-focused approach and demonstrate the importance of leveraging support from government and private sectors.

“The staggering reality of our housing crisis is that it is changing the fabric and nature of our community. The Town of Vail faced the same issue and has developed a community vision and come together to successfully address solutions,” explained Cindy Gustafson, CEO of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association | Chamber | CVB and founding partner of the Mountain Housing Council. “This a topic that affects our entire business community.”

The Annual Membership Luncheon will be held on Wed., Oct. 17 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the North Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach. Tickets are available for purchase via Eventbrite, cost for Chamber Members is $35 and cost for Non-Members is $45. Additional speakers include Cindy Gustafson, CEO of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association I Chamber I CVB, Stacy Caldwell, CEO of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, and Mayumi Elegado, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Moonshine Ink.

“Housing is everything,” stated Caldwell. “It is community. It is education. It is fire department response times and after-school programs. It is seeing a familiar face at a local concert and a friendly server at your favorite restaurant. Without housing our community crumbles.”


About North Lake Tahoe Resort Association: The North Lake Tahoe Chamber | Resort Association | CVB is celebrating 64 years of supporting small businesses and major resorts, ultimately enhancing the strong and vibrant North Tahoe community. The Resort Association combines Chamber of Commerce and Destination Marketing services to assist local businesses and connect community leaders. Supported by a contract with Placer County and Membership dues, the team is focused on midweek and shoulder season visitation, transportation and housing solutions, and visitor services. The North Tahoe Chamber ultimately provides a collective voice for the local community.

About Vail, CO Housing Department: Directly responsible for policy development; housing regulation implementation, compliance and oversight; lottery administration; program administration; and developments and initiatives which increase the overall supply and availability of housing opportunities within the community and throughout the region. The availability and affordability of housing remains the #1 most critical issue facing the Vail community.

Press Contact:

Liz Bowling
D: (530) 581-8778
C: (303) 726-7104

California’s Huge Housing Costs Examined in New Study


A new national study looks at what drives affordable housing project costs in California and other states.

A new study by the Government Accountability Office sheds light on the huge disparity between the cost of building in California and the rest of the nation.

The study was commissioned to look at projects that take advantage of the low-income housing credit — an incentive that has helped tens of thousands of affordable housing units go up across the country.

California tops the list of per-unit project costs in the study — beating even New York City and Chicago by a wide margin. And the price to build in some places in the nation is literally a fraction of California’s totals. For comparison, a project in Georgia built affordable housing for $104,000 per unit while a California project cost $606,000 per unit — a staggering difference of more than a half a million dollars per unit.

The study is also a unique glimpse into the components that make up the full price tag costs of low-income housing projects in California. California’s land prices were more than double the national average, according to the study. California’s softs costs — items like permit fees and construction loan interest — also topped the list. Interestingly, California’s construction hard costs were not the highest noted in the study. Chicago’s construction costs were significantly higher.

The study did examine some ways to bring housing project costs down, including showing that larger projects resulted in lower per-unit costs.

The Mountain Housing Council is examining many of these same issues in our local region, including the hard costs and soft costs that are barriers to achievable local housing.

To read more about the study, check out CityLab’s article Why Affordable Housing Isn’t More Affordable or read the actual study here.