Spokane Valley-based Numerica Credit Union is partnering with Village Cohousing Works to create an affordable loan program for manufactured homes, says Greg Hansen, the financial institution's chief credit officer.
Over the next two years, Village Cohousing Works will place 10 manufactured homes inside the Takesa Village park, in Mead. The first dwelling has been installed, and an applicant has been selected by the organization, says Sarah Olson, executive director for the nonprofit Village Cohousing Works.
"We decided to make a positive change in the affordable housing crisis in North Spokane," she says.
The 780-square-foot, two-bedroom dwelling is valued at $90,000 and will be sold to the selected applicant at cost, says Olson. The applicant also will pay a $380 monthly fee to the resident-owned cooperative, which includes sewer and water service, she says.
The manufactured homes are the first of a new model called Net Zero Ready, which means it's a well-insulated structure with the potential to install solar panels, says Olsen.
Once the program's first applicant has gone through the necessary steps and moves in, the organization will begin to work on installing the next manufactured home in Takesa Village, she says.
Hansen says that because conventional mortgage lenders typically don't finance manufactured homes, Numerica Credit Union created a specialized loan program. The loans are standalone, non-guaranteed, unsellable loans, he says. The loans are almost identical to what a traditional home loan looks like, except the loans will be secured by titled collateral versus a deed of trust like on a traditional home, he says.
The loans are 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with rates that are just below today's market rate, which stands at about 7%, he says. Applicants will provide a small down payment of between 1% and 3% of the purchase price, depending on the borrower's capability, he says.
"We're not looking too much at credit score either," says Hansen. "We're relying more on the borrower's ability to pay back the loan because we understand that many of these applicants might have a checkered credit history and we didn't want that to be held against them."
Village Cohousing Works was launched in January 2023 by a group of volunteers, says Olsen. According to the organization's research, people who become homeless are usually on the tail end of 10 years of poverty.
"If we can meet people who are in the middle of that 10-year cycle and divert them from that trajectory and get them some permanent housing options, then we could permanently keep people out of what we know is a really damaging life situation," she says.
Hansen says when Village Cohousing Works presented the idea to Numerica last year, the credit union saw a way to help with an issue that aligns with the institution's mission of enhancing lives, fulfilling dreams, and building communities.
"And who knows where this will go?" says Hansen. "This may just be the start of something that other financial institutions can take over on other properties if the circumstances are right."
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