Vermont Chamber Supports Workforce Housing Solutions

The Senate Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee took a deeper dive into the Omnibus Housing Bill, S.226, this week. The Vermont Chamber offered testimony in support of proposals that would increase housing stock for middle income Vermonters, with a focus on the Missing Middle Homeownership Development Program. This program is intended to address the value gap between the cost to build modest homes and the price that middle income families can afford. The program provides a subsidy to lower the price of a home, which would stay in the home in perpetuity with homeowners gaining any additional equity. To illustrate, a developer would spend $400,000 building a home, and the state would subsidize $50,000 so the home can be sold to a middle-income Vermonter for $350,000. The $50,000 subsidy would stay with the home so when the homeowner sold, the $50,000 would either reduce the price for the next buyer or be used to subsidize another home. Some committee members want the State to get back more than its initial investment and leave the middle-income homeowner with a smaller portion of the equity.  However, unlike the State’s shared equity program, the homeowner in this program will put in significantly more money than the State’s initial subsidy and the loss of the ability to build equity will negate the benefit this will have for families. Given the prevalence of ARPA dollars to fund this program, the Vermont Chamber is advocating for this funding as designed, to increase the middle-income housing in the state.