Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Things are moving apace

Lots is happening at Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community. Buyers are moving into their apartments. Landscaping is being done. The place is looking spiffy.

Our potluck suppers at 6:00 pm on Thursdays are turning out to be great fun. Friends, neighbours and strangers drop by, sit around, and chat. Some of the people whom I've met have been fascinating. The reality of this community is exceeding my hopes.

Every now and then I remember that I've been wanting to take photos, so that I can record our pioneer days. But then I get so involved that I totally forget to lug a camera.

That's all I have to say for now. Stay well.


Mog said...

Hi Judy. I wish you all well in your new homes

I have a question though, you said buyers were moving in. So the co-housing is only open to those who can afford to buy? Could one of those buyers sublet or buy on behalf of someone who can't afford a mortgage?

Judy Roberts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Judy Roberts said...

Hi Mog,

Thanks for your good wishes.

Yes, the cohousing community is a strata or condominium. That is, each apartment is bought and owned individually, with free title. Ownership of each individual apartment includes ownership of a 1/25 share in the grounds and common amenities. (Since there are 25 apartments, there are 25 shares in the common space.)

About rentals ....... Our strata (condominium) corporation has no restriction on rentals. So an owner is free to rent his/her apartment. There is no cap on the number of apartments in the complex that can be rented, as is the case with some strata corporations.

If an owner can afford to do so, he/she also is free to sell an apartment to someone else at a price that is below what is considered to be market value.

Another option that is available, which two of our members are in the process of doing, is for two or more people to club together to buy one of the larger apartments. In that case they would have to share a kitchen. Depending on the size of the apartment, that also might involve sharing a bathroom.

In the earlier days of the project we had hoped to designate a couple of apartments as affordable housing for low income families. Construction delays and cost overruns have made that impossible. In fact, the original group of investors who bought shares in the real estate development company that built this project may very well lose money. Even without designating a couple of apartments as "affordable housing," we may not be able to realize enough money from the sale of the presently unsold units to recoup our investment.

However, I should clarify that people buying an apartment at this point would be protected from the losses that we, the developers, may incur. People who buy in now simply would be buying an apartment. At the stage at which I invested, I was buying shares in the real estate development company that built the project.

Some of the Scandinavian countries subsidize cohousing communities. They recognize that the cohousing model enables people to age in place (live for a longer time in a largely independent state, with some support from neighbours). As such the cohousing model has been found to save governments money in the long run. However, that notion has not yet reached Canada. No Canadian cohousing communities that I am aware of have received government subsidies.

As far as I can tell, comments cannot be edited once they have been published. I deleted and am re-posting my response to add this piece.

The scary financial aspects of this project have been part of what has made this last year such a growing and stretching experience for me.