CARLSBAD — The city of Carlsbad is adding two more homes to its affordable housing stock using federal grant money aimed at helping lower-income residents and households.
During its July 19 meeting, the City Council authorized allocating up to $590,000 from the Community Development Block Program to buy two affordable units for the city’s Affordable Housing Resale Program, according to Allen Edwards, the program’s manager.
The single-family affordable homes are located on Laguna Drive in Carlsbad Village and Leighton Circle in Bressi Ranch.
Since December 2021, the city has purchased 11 homes for its resale program. Over the past two months, the council has approved the purchase of three more units for resale.
When the city launched its resale program, more than 2,500 people applied to buy the 11 homes — five of which are currently in escrow, Edwards said.
“If we didn’t purchase them, they were at risk of being lost from the affordable housing inventory,” Edwards said. “Right now, we have sold five and are working on the sixth. These three in the pipeline, we haven’t closed on any of these three (from the past two months). We are closing escrow on one at the end of the month.”
Applicants must meet specific criteria to purchase a home, but Edwards said rising interest rates made the mortgage too expensive — a roadblock to several prospective buyers who later had to withdraw from the program.
According to the city’s program guidelines, loans are 30-year, fixed-rate conventional mortgages with no mortgage insurance. Regarding the applications, he said the city would not restart the process but instead go down its current list and find qualified applicants.
As for the homes, Edwards said the city inspects and makes any necessary repairs, such as new appliances or repairing significant damage. The city’s goal is to scale down the total cost of the homes to roughly 38% of a household’s total income compared to higher rates (up to 50%) seen across much of the region.
“It’s a gratifying program because you see families that, more than likely, would never have a chance to own property,” Edwards said. “There are a lot of moving parts. Once a household is vetted and approved, we start the escrow process and get them moved in. It’s just so cool when it finally closes.”
The council approved the resale program in December 2020 but it took about one year to ramp up operations. Edwards said the city knew there was affordable housing demand. Once the application window opened, staff was flooded with hopeful buyers, which Edwards likened to turning on a “firehose.”