The housing board gave the OK on Wednesday for a homeowner to continue renting out his single-family home for the fourth year in a row after not being able to sell it due to a down economy.
John Goltermann first purchased the unit in 2004 for $1.05 million. The home is categorized by the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority (APCHA) as a resident-occupied (RO) unit, which are the most expensive kind of worker housing. The property is located in the North 40 subdivision.
Goltermann first placed the home on the market in 2009 for $1.37 million, which accounted for the $107,316 he invested in capital improvements to the unit. Since, Goltermann lowered the price twice, once in 2011 to $1.25 million and again recently to $1.2 million. He has had two offers. The first was made in 2009 for $1.12 million but Goltermann passed. There was a more recent offer for $810,000.
In the meantime, Goltermann has been renting out the unit to a three-member family that qualifies for affordable housing through APCHA. Each month he is operating at a $1,000 loss though, because he’s charging the renters less than the home’s expenses, which include neighborhood association dues, utilities and mortgage payments, he said.
APCHA guidelines require homeowners in the program to work in Pitkin County for a minimum of 1,500 hours a year, not own other property in the valley and maintain that the unit is his or her sole residence. They don’t allow homeowners to rent out units for more than two years.
Goltermann, who works in Denver for the Aspen-based Obermeyer Asset Management Company, argued that he has been actively trying to sell his RO home and recently enlisted a broker. He dropped the price so that he’ll likely be taking a six-figure hit, he said.
“I’m comfortable with that financial loss,” Goltermann said. “I fully intend to sell it; I’m not trying not to sell it, I’m just looking for more time.”
The housing board agreed to give Goltermann another year to sell the home, because of his efforts to rent it to locals.
“This is a situation where I appreciate the fact that it is being rented to locals for less than the expense of the home,” said board member Marcia Goshorn.
Goltermann’s situation proves that there is not a high demand for RO units and the local government shouldn’t create more, Goshorn said.
The city is currently moving forward with construction on the Burlingame Phase II affordable housing project that will consist of at least 48 new subsidized units and six single-family RO homes, which will start at 1,600 square feet and cost about $1 million.
The fact that Goltermann has had his RO home on the market for four years shows that the community doesn’t need six more Burlingame units at the same price point, Goshorn said.
Since the Great Recession hit in 2008, the down real estate economy has created a wave of enforcement hearings having to do with homeowners who can’t sell their units. Last year, for example, the housing board forced Anita Boda to move out of the Aspen affordable housing unit that she recently won, because she owned a free-market home in Basalt.
Boda argued that she purchased the Basalt apartment before she won the APCHA unit. As soon as she won the housing lottery, Boda placed the Basalt property on the market and lowered her asking price. Still, there were no buyers. In the meantime, Boda rented the Basalt unit to local employees who qualified for affordable housing for a low monthly rate. Despite her efforts, the housing board denied her request for a longer extension to sell her free-market home and forced her to leave her Aspen unit within six months. The market doesn’t appear to be turning around, so giving Boda an extension would be prolonging the inevitable, board members said at the time.