One result of Santa Fe's attractiveness has been an ongoing rise in housing costs. The City countered the escalation of home prices through its proactive involvement in the local real-estate market and its comprehensive approach to affordable housing development. Likewise, the City has provided administrative funding to its nonprofit partners through local funds to build the on-the-ground capacity of these groups to provide housing services, support and real estate development.
Through capacity building, technical assistance, and regulatory mechanisms, the City of Santa Fe has built a network of strong cooperation and assistance among various non-profit agencies, other government agencies and private sector builders. These groups help to make possible the improvement and expansion of affordable housing opportunities in Santa Fe.
Inclusionary zoning. One of the city’s most effective tools for spurring the provision of affordable housing is through its inclusionary zoning programs. The first city program, the Housing Opportunity Program (HOP), was implemented in the late 1990s. The program required that all new development trigger an affordability requirement so that either 11 percent or 16 percent of units built were sold to qualified homebuyers at a predetermined price point (reliant on homebuyer’s family size, HUD income limits, etc.). HOP homebuyers on average earn 65 percent of area median income and no more than 80 percent of area median income.
In the mid‐2000s, the city initiated a more stringent inclusionary zoning program, the Santa Fe Homes Program (SFHP) which mandates a 30 percent requirement for any application including annexation, rezoning, subdivision plat and increase in density. Three income tiers are served: 50‐65 percent AMI; 65‐80 percent AMI; and 80‐100 percent AMI, with 10 percent of the total units serving each tier.
In 2010, in response to the economic slowdown, in particular the building and construction industries, the city further modified the requirement. Until June of 2014, SFHP requires that 20 percent of new homes proposed for construction are sold to income‐qualified homebuyers. As with its other housing programs, the city relies on its nonprofit partners, Homewise and the Housing Trust to train, counsel and qualify the buyers. Additionally, homebuyers are often subsidized with downpayment assistance funded through CDBG, the state’s Mortgage Finance Authority, or other sources accessed by the housing counseling agencies.
To date, approximately 100 HOP, 27 SFHP and 397 Low‐Priced Dwelling Units (LPDU, affordable to 100% AMI) have been created.
Tierra Contenta. On an annual basis, 30 percent of all residential construction permitted in Santa Fe occurs in Tierra Contenta, a master‐planned community of 1,400 acres. The Tierra Contenta Corporation, a nonprofit development entity, provides builder-ready tracts of land to both nonprofit and for-profit builders. More than 2,000 homes have been built since 1995, of which 40 percent are required to be affordable. Trends in home production in Tierra Contenta are shown in Figure I‐33. With the current economic downturn, the construction of infrastructure is in hiatus, which has delayed the development.