Thursday, March 12, 2009

Unwanted Condos Get Affordable in Germantown

Prolific affordable housing providers, AHC Inc. - whose resume includes developments such as The Shelton and Macedonia in Northern Virginia - have just inked their first deal with Montgomery County. Using a total of $5.4 million in loans from County's Housing Initiative and Community Development Block Grant Funds, AHC has purchased 29 new condominiums at Fairfield Residential's Ashmore at Germantown development for the purpose of converting them in to long-term affordable rentals. According to the developer, "After the units are leased, AHC will refinance the property and return a portion of the funding to the County to be recycled into additional affordable housing initiatives."

While certainly not a boon to the development’s marketing strategy, the sale is certainly a relief for Fairfield; this past November, when faced with a declining market and a glut of unsold units, the developer put 45 two and three-bedroom units at the Ashmore up for auction - with some going for as little as $140,000, or one-third of the initial asking price, for those counting. Despite being sold to AHC at well below original point (the developer picked them up for approximately $186,000 each), the units at the Ashmore still boast standard amenities, including “custom cabinetry, ceramic flooring, crown molding” and a community center with a pool and fitness center.

For the County’s part, they seem pleased to have funded an arrangement that will provide affordable housing, while sidestepping the obvious the downsides of providing for a ghost town smack in the middle of the County (see the current market conditions in Florida for numerous examples of less fortuitous outcomes).

“Creating and preserving affordable housing is one of my highest priorities,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett in a statement announcing the sale. “I am pleased that the Housing Initiative Fund is being used to acquire more than two dozen condominiums and make them affordable for eligible residents.”


Anonymous said...

Yikes. This is one of the first steps in the evolution of the suburbs.


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