The City of Menlo Park recently coordinated the sale of three below market rate (BMR) townhomes located on Encinal Avenue. The property, formerly known as the Roger Reynolds Nursery, was recently redeveloped the Marquis by Pulte Homes and includes 24 new LEED Silver-certified townhomes. As part of the City’s BMR requirements for residential development, three townhomes were required to be sold to qualifying BMR households.
Each unit had to be of similar size and designed to be indistinguishable from market rate units. The sales price for each BMR unit was restricted to $300,000–$470,000, depending on the designated affordability category of low or moderate income and requiring a 3–5 percent down payment. In comparison, market rate units at the Marquis property featured a starting sales price of $1.9 million and up.
To ensure affordability, BMR sales prices are calculated based on a standard 30 percent of income formula to safeguard a household from being housing cost-burdened.
BMR households who qualified to purchase a unit at the Marquis signed a 55-year deed restriction at the time of escrow closing, meaning their home’s value will remain affordable/below market rate for 55 years, even if it is resold.
These BMR units were each 4-bedrooms, meaning that qualifying households had to have at least four or more people in the household. This BMR unit size is rare to find for many large families and very beneficial to ensuring local families have long-term, stable and affordable housing. All four of these new BMR households also qualified based on Menlo Park’s BMR Program guidelines that contain a live and/or work requirement.
The City’s BMR housing programs are intended to increase the supply of affordable housing in our community. BMR units can be rentals or for-purchase homes. BMR sales and rent prices are kept affordable based on specific income limits determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for San Mateo County.
Although the units at the Marquis have been filled with qualified buyers, the City does expect more BMR units to be added.
For more information or to apply for the City’s BMR rental interest list and ownership waiting list, visit the City’s BMR housing program website at menlopark.org/bmr.