Thistle will bring the opportunity for resident-ownership to Colorado homeowners living in manufactured housing communities
CONCORD, N.H. – For the first time, homeowners in Colorado will have the financing and technical expertise necessary to make resident ownership of manufactured home communities viable in the Centennial State.
After years of inquiries and requests from homeowners, community owners, and state and local elected officials, ROC USA® Network welcomes a new affiliate, Thistle of Boulder, Colo.
Thistle and ROC USA Network, signed agreements last week making it the ninth Certified Technical Assistance Provider in ROC USA Network. The Network is an affiliated group of nonprofits working together to help homeowners in for-sale manufactured home communities (MHCs) form cooperative corporations to purchase, own, and operate their neighborhoods. Thistle will serve Colorado, initially focusing on communities in the six counties of the Front Range Urban Corridor.
“We’re thrilled to have Thistle, our third NeighborWorks® organization, on board,” said Mary O’Hara, director of ROC USA Network. “Thistle Communities is a seasoned public-private affordable housing developer, has been active in the manufactured home industry for more than a decade, and is deeply committed to preserving and promoting manufactured housing as affordable homeownership. Most importantly, we’re expanding ROC USA Network into Colorado’s Front Range, the fifth-most expensive housing market in the U.S., providing affordable neighborhoods where there is a vital need for them.”
The Denver Post reported apartment rent growth in 2014 and 2015 to be 8 percent and 13.5 percent annually in the six counties where Thistle will work with MHCs: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Jefferson, Larimer and Weld. Growth slowed in 2016 but remained above the national average of 3.8 percent. ApartmentList.com reports the average monthly two-bedroom apartment rent in Denver’s suburbs to be $1,487. The average MHC monthly site rent in the six-county area, according to JLT Associates’ 2016 survey, was $629 per month.
The most costly homes for sale in MHCs in the Denver area are listed at $95,000 on MHVillage.com. Financing 80 percent of $95,000 at 7 percent for 20 years costs $589 per month. The monthly housing cost for a typical home-buyer in an MHC in the Denver MSA is $1,208, $279 less than the average apartment rent. And that, as Thistle CEO Mary Duvall points out, is an annual savings of more than $3,300 that comes with a driveway, small yard, and no shared walls.
“Having seen the impact of homeownership to families through Thistle’s Community Land Trust, we’re excited to promote homeownership in mobile home communities in the cooperative model,” said Duvall, who has led the Boulder nonprofit since 2007. “The ROC USA format for ownership works across the country with some communities in their second generation of ownership. Resident ownership through ROC USA provides sellers a qualified and quick-close buyer, no displacement and the opportunity to improve infrastructure.
The time is right in Colorado.
Thistle is a local mission-driven non-profit that’s dedicated to planning, development and management of affordable housing. The organization ensures that working families, disabled and elderly residents in Boulder County are able to live and work where they want. Thistle believes affordable housing is more than just a place to live. By creating inclusive communities, Thistle contributes to better quality of life for residents and invests in a brighter collective future for Boulder County.
ROC USA was launched in May 2008 by national and regional nonprofits that joined together to serve one mission: To make quality resident ownership viable nationwide and to expand economic opportunities for homeowners in manufactured (mobile) home communities. Based on the nearly 25 years of similar work in New Hampshire by the Community Loan Fund, ROC USA now works with 200 resident-owned communities (ROCs) in 14 states. ROC USA is comprised of two subsidiaries, ROC USA Network and ROC USA® Capital, a community development financial institution (CDFI) that makes loans for community purchase, rehabilitation, refinancing, and pre-purchase due diligence.
ROC USA President Paul Bradley said once ROCs are established in Colorado, they can expect the ongoing coaching and expertise of Thistle and ROC USA, as well as a host of programs such as innovative home financing, a community marketing program, and discounted purchasing for homeowners and communities alike.
“ROCs offer homeowners the security of cooperative land ownership, stable rents, and democratic community governance – all in a tight-knit neighborhood of homes that feature single-floor living,” Bradley said. “I can’t wait to bring that security and stability to the Front Range, where it’s critically needed.”
To learn more about Thistle or ROC USA, visit their websites at thistle.us or rocusa.org. For a confidential conversation about selling your MHC, contact National Acquisitions Manager Marc G. Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.