One of the goals of the public-private partnership between Mueller developer Catellus and the City of Austin who owned the land of the former airport was to provide a mixed-income development. As part of this one in every four homes built is to be in the Affordable Program.
The Affordable Program is an income qualified scheme which maintains a pool of homes that are tied to the median income in the area. There are two components:
Purchase: to qualify for this scheme, a family unit must earn below 80% of the Austin Median Family Income. There are certain asset limits too, though the scheme does allow you to own another home in addition to applying for the scheme, so long as your primary residence will be the one in Mueller.The eligibility is examined once before purchase, and is valid for six months. After you buy the home, your income can rise, and you can stay in the home – there is no ongoing income eligibility.
80% Median Family Income is shown in the chart below for 2011 – for a single person this means earning less than $41,950, for two people $47,950.
It’s a shared equity appreciation scheme, which means that The Mueller Foundation holds a silent second lien on your home. Silent means that you don’t pay it off, or pay any interest on the lien. All the lien does is ensure that when you sell your home, the Foundation gets a share in the equity increase in your home. If your home goes down in value from when you buy the home, the Foundation takes a loss, but you don’t. What this means in practice is that you can’t lose!
Rental: to qualify for the affordable rental portion of the development, you need to earn below 60% of the Austin Median Family Income for your family size. This is reassessed periodically, so unlike the purchase scheme, you have to continually qualify. If your income goes up past the limit, you can no longer stay.
Availability: generally speaking, any home for sale at Mueller below $175,000 in the neighborhood is in the Affordable Program. Sometimes builders of new homes list them for sale in the MLS, and sometimes they don’t. There are also resale affordable homes which become available from time to time – some of these sell through the MLS and some go through the Mueller Foundation.
Get in touch if you want to learn more about the program. I can represent you as a buyers agent at no cost for a purchase of one of these homes.