As property prices rise on the Wasatch front, a new program is helping families find a home | News, sports, jobs

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Abby Reader, left, with husband Kevin and their three children. The Readers recently bought a home on Washington Terrace with support from the Rocky Mountain Homes Fund, a new nonprofit that helps working families find homes.

WASHINGTON TERRACE – Abby Reader, a middle school music teacher, assumed she and her family would rent indefinitely.

She and her husband Kevin, who lived in a rental apartment too small for their growing family, had hoped to have a home of their own. But given the down payment required and the ever-rising property prices – the focus of intense scrutiny by politicians, housing advocates and many more along the Wasatch front – the dream seemed out of reach.

“It was extremely frustrating. We were at the point where we gave up, ”she said.

However, a new program to help working people – think teachers, health workers, firefighters and police officers – gave them new hope. the Rocky Mountain Homes Fund gave them assistance in buying a home on Washington Terrace – the readers’ dream finally came true – and proponents of the program hope they can help many, many more people across Utah.

Steve Waldrip, a Representative at Utah House from the Eden area, helped create the not-for-profit program regardless of his legislative duties, and thinks big. Intermountain health, the Salt Lake City-based nonprofit health care system, is involved and fund agents are looking for additional partners.

“It’s crazy what’s going on in east-central Ogden right now,” said Waldrip, alluding to the skyrocketing property prices. “It was brutal for working people.”

So far this year, the Rocky Mountain Homes Fund (RMHF) has helped six Weber County families get into homes, the first in the program. Given the current conditions, Waldrip doesn’t think any of them would have been able to hit the milestone this quickly.

And now he’s hoping for exponential growth as RMHF agents seek new investors and partners for the initiative, which helps with home down payments and securing affordable financing. With more money, Waldrip hopes to support more families, maybe even 60 in the next RMHF round. More precisely, he hopes to increase from an initial funding pot of around $ 2 million to at least initially $ 10 million. In the coming years, he hopes to increase the funds available to up to $ 50 million and expand the reach of the program to Washington, Cache, Salt Lake and Utah counties.

In the case of the Reader family, the program helped them move from a 900-square-foot rental apartment in Roy to a 2,100-square-foot home in Washington Terrace. The couple have three young children, so everyone has more space to move around. Significantly, it is also a great investment for the future.

“This is our first major investment that we have really made. It feels good, we’re making progress, ”said Abby Reader, music teacher at Sand Ridge Junior High School in Roy.

DOWN PAYMENTS, INTEREST RATES

The housing shortage in Utah is due in part to the lack of homes for people to buy, which is driving prices up. The average home price in Weber County is currently around $ 400,000, while in Salt Lake County it is $ 550.00, up 28% year over year. according to UtahRealEstate.com, an industry organization.

The RMHF may not necessarily be able to resolve the housing shortage, but it does help address some of the issues that make it difficult for middle-income families to pay the price of a home. In particular, it helps to cover the down payment on a home, usually 20% of its value. It also helps homeowners get a decent interest rate on their home loan so they can afford the monthly mortgage payments.

RMHF holds a part of the houses of the families it supports through equity splits and thus helps to keep the costs for the buyers in check. But the homeowners can refinance and buy up the RMHF shares over the years, and that’s the hope.

Likewise, the goal is that the program’s investors receive a return from the funds they have provided to support the families. “It’s not a charity,” said Waldrip.

For Intermountain Healthcare, the hope is that by supporting the efforts to “strengthen health outcomes,” that is, actually improve the health of program participants. The health system that runs McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden raised a million dollars.

“The evidence suggests that improving residential stability alone can help improve access to regular health care, and that improved access to regular health care can dramatically improve health outcomes,” Intermountain said in a press release.

Nicholas Fritz, director of impact investing at Intermountain, also noted that home ownership can actually reduce housing costs. This in turn can give families more resources for other things, such as healthier eating and access to recreational opportunities and exercise.

When he started the Rocky Mountain Homes Fund, Waldrip spent about five years researching the possibilities. RMHF is unique: “There is no such thing.”

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