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Below Market Rate, or BMR, homes are established through a City Ordinance that is specifically targeted to expand the amount of affordable home ownership opportunities in the community. The ordinance requires that developers set aside a percentage of the new units they bring to market to be permanently affordable for low to moderate income households.
Prices are originally set and continuously maintained in compliance with the targeted income levels the Program has been established to serve. Most BMRs are priced to assist households with incomes that range from or are at below 80% of the area median income (AMI) or incomes that range from or are at or below 120% of the area’s median incomes. Incomes are adjusted for household sizes. BMR home prices are finalized by incorporating the various housing costs, including interest rates at the time the home is originally placed on the market. Prices for future resales are then established based on how much incomes rise in the area. Accordingly, a household who purchases a BMR will be assigned a resale price by the City at the time they sell their BMR home. BMR homes in a city increase or decrease in price by the same amount that Median Incomes change in a county.
BMR prices are set. Buyers cannot offer a higher price for the unit and there is no purchasing advantage gained by the buyer in offering cash or a higher down payment for the home. Buyers are chosen by the City based on their eligibility to participate and purchase within the parameters of the City’s BMR Program.
BMRs could offer households a viable format to secure the benefits of homeownership in a City. In many cases, the cost of ownership may be considerably less than purchasing an open market (not a BMR) home; and even in some cases (in today’s market) could be less than or comparable to the cost of renting a home. These privileges and benefits; however, do come with a number of restrictions that may apply to BMR homeownership:
Prior to closing your purchase transaction, the City will be providing you a comprehensive manual and set of Program agreements that outline all the responsibilities and restrictions associated with the ownership of a City BMR unit. It is important that you read and understand all the covenants and restrictions established in the Agreements and discussed in the Manual. These covenants must be strictly adhered to. Violation of any of the covenants could lead to a default in your ownership, which, if not cured, could lead to the required resale of your home to another eligible and qualified Program participant/owner.
There are a specific set of steps (including an application process) and protocols that you need to adhere to in order to become a BMR owner. Please make certain to contact the Program Administrator, the Bay Area HomeBuyer Agency (BAHBA), with any questions or concerns that you have. The preferred format to contact BAHBA is through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can reach them at (800) 480-9020 x3.
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The Bay Area Affordable Homeownership Alliance is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization focused on promoting & delivering affordable homeownership in the Bay Area.