BERKELEY (KPIX) — Some much-needed new condominiums will soon be available for sale in Berkeley. Because of the city’s affordable housing mandate some of them will carry an amazingly low price.
A new residential complex on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley is almost completed. While it won’t solve Berkeley’s housing problem, six lucky people will be getting the deal of a lifetime.
The development is called Bloom Berkeley and will feature 41 housing units along busy San Pablo. There has been lots of construction in Berkeley lately, but virtually all of the large projects have been for rental units. These someone will own.
“We haven’t had below-market-rate condominiums go on sale in at least 14 years,” said City of Berkeley spokesperson Matthai Chakko.
Most of the glistening new units will be sold at market rate, but five one-bedroom condos will be available for as little as $162,000 and one three-bedroom will be sold for $230,000.
Eligible buyers cannot make more than about $79,000 for the smaller units and $99,000 for the larger. The buyers will be chosen by lottery, with Berkeley residents and workers getting priority.
Heidi Abramson owns a nearby real estate company West End Properties and deals with considerably higher home prices.
“My thought was, ‘I bet there’ll be thousands of applicants,” said Abramson.
She thinks it’s nice that a few people will get a great deal. However she also noted that, in general, the city drives up the cost of housing with regulations such as allowing neighbors to weigh in on any new development, no matter how big or small.
“With the community input, when it comes to a project, you’re looking at a year to two years minimum for approval. Just from the community,” said Abramson.
The bargain condos at Bloom Berkeley do come with conditions. If owners increase their incomes after purchase, they can only sell the property at an affordable housing price. And homeowners association dues will be from $400 to more than $500 per month.
It’s not free, but at $162,000 it may feel that way.
“Six units are just a drop in the bucket in terms of what we need for the city and the region as a whole,” said Chakko. “But we know that there are six households that will be helped, will get a little piece of security. And for that, we’re excited.”
There will be open houses at Bloom Berkeley on January 24th and 31st with the lottery scheduled for Monday, February 10th. For eligibility details or to apply, interested parties can visit the Bloom Berkeley website.