As home affordability in the Capital District continues to increase, we are still deeply reminded of our neighbors who are still priced out of traditional mortgages on market-rate homes in their own neighborhoods.
We’ve also been one of the Albany Business Review’s Top 10 Homebuilders, but we are the only homebuilder on that list (so far!) who built homes sold under $260,000. The average price of a home in that year (2017) was $230,992. Our homes sold on average $126,000. (You can read more about this a previous post about the affordable housing crisis and why we build.)
We are proud to partner with our neighbors to help them access the stability that comes with owning a safe, decent home and paying an affordable mortgage. We’re also proud to partner with community organizations like the Albany County Land Bank, Troy Community Land Bank, Affordable Housing Partnership, The Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region, and others to return vacant property to productive use and the tax rolls. To avoid undervaluing the entire neighborhood, Habitat homes are sold at market rate.
You may already know a little bit about how Habitat works. But do you know what the typical Habitat house looks like here in the Capital District?
Let us take you through one of the most affordable homes recently sold in the Capital District.
First floor/ground level
Because we focus on revitalizing urban neighborhoods, we are committed to building homes that match the historic style, streetscape and character of the neighborhood. In Albany, we mostly build attached row-houses.
Habitat homes such as these have private stoops with covered entries where homeowners can install mailboxes and keep their trash or other utilities in a closet.
Our new-build homes are built to National Green Building Standards, which means Habitat homeowners use less energy and resources each month to heat or cool their homes.
Fun fact! Everyone needs a decent place to call home, and different cultures have different ways of living in their homes. Many of our homeowners are Karen or Karenni, which are ethnic groups from Burma. These families always take their shoes off before entering the home and often have very little Western furniture like a chair and table set or couches. Regardless of how a space is furnished, the important thing is that families have a safe, affordable place to gather, play and thrive
While we do not do custom build or design requests, Habitat homebuyers are sometimes able to select furnishings like floors and cabinets.
To finish up the first floor (these homes also have basements), here is a porch off the kitchen of a Habitat home. While the stoop on the street provides a smaller space for neighbors to chat, the backyard and porch is for large gatherings and celebrations—or whatever the family wants to use the space for. Some families grow gardens, while others share their lots and play soccer.
We’ve build one-floor homes, two story homes, two-family homes, homes with basements and everything in between. It’s all about how the home’s location is zoned by the city, what reflects the character of the neighborhood, and what we heard from the community during stakeholder listening sessions called charettes.
When we work with our architects, we consider the needs of the neighborhood and the average family seeking an affordable place to live. Many people ask us why we haven’t built tiny house villages or the like – that’s because the average family partnering with Habitat has about 4 members – with 1-2 adults and 2-3 children on average.
Habitat homeowners work hard in their jobs and on the build site, raising their family and participating in the community, so they deserve a little oasis when they move in! This is the master bedroom of a Habitat house. Habitat homebuyers are sometimes able to choose between carpet and laminate in bedrooms.
One of the most important rooms in a house is the bathroom (though this is a relatively recent qualifier of a modern, decent home!). While homebuyers are required to put in 250 hours of sweat equity—where they help build their home and the homes of others—professionals handle tasks like plumbing and electric.