Homeownership contributes to tax benefits, home equity, and a commitment to the community. The region benefits from local homeowners and renters with local purchases, from higher enrollment in schools, committed local employees and additional tax revenue. In addition, air quality is improved and traffic is reduced when employees live/work close to work/home. As home prices rise, low to moderate income working families often move further from work to afford housing, housing and transportation costs are allocated from other life necessities (i.e., food, health, and childcare), and time is spent commuting instead of at home.
The federal government considers housing affordable if the housing costs, including utilities, are no more than 30-35% of monthly income. During the first three quarters of 2013, the median home price in the Tahoe/Truckee area was just over $530,000, over the 2000 median home price of $400,000 but significantly below the 2006 median of nearly $700,000. A mortgage payment on a $530,000 home would be around $3,000 monthly. Although prices have decreased in recent years, prices are higher than California and the U.S. overall, and many families in the Tahoe/Truckee region cannot afford to own a home in this price range.
Currently, the Town of Truckee counts a total of 350 income-restricted housing units. DOMUS manages 92 low income rental units in Kings Beach. Families must meet several criteria to qualify for available rental units, including income levels from 30% to 50% of median household income. A family of four in Nevada County qualifies at the 30% income level if the combined full time hourly wage of all members is not more than $8.89 an hour ($18,490 annually). A family of four qualifies at the 50% if the income is not more than $14.82 an hour ($30,816 annually)
Affordable housing is a challenge in the Tahoe/Truckee region. With the high cost of new homes, land, and construction, prices are not expected to drop to affordable levels. Although new units are expected on the market in the coming years, additional housing is needed for moderate income and impoverished households.