CHULA VISTA -- Crews have broken ground on a project in Chula Vista aimed at what some are calling the "new affordable housing."
These are not subsidies, but larger homes at more affordable prices.
Looking to start a family, Erika Smith and her husband went hunting for a starter home and found nothing affordable until reserving a spot at Monterey Place homes in Chula Vista.
Project spokesperson Armida Torres with the Phair Company says that with rents being sky-high in San Diego County, young families are looking to buy starter homes, but aren't finding affordable inventory.
The Monterey Place project aims to fill that need.
"We really think of this as the new affordable housing,” Torres said.
The project consists of 23 homes with four or five bedrooms starting in the high $400,000 range.
Torres points out that comparable homes in parts of north San Diego County cost almost twice as much.
The lead developer on the project is Douglas Wilson Companies. According to Torres, Douglas Wilson’s experience, its relationships with vendors, and the fact that the homes have fewer high-end amenities, have kept their prices more affordable.
“They will be well-made, eco-friendly homes with many modern amenities at a cost point hard to find,” Torres said.
Realtor Alex Wilson, who is selling the homes, says similar projects could pop up in east San Diego County and South Bay.
“South Bay is more affordable and there's potential for land to be developed as well,” Wilson said.
The first of the homes is expected to be completed by late summer.
According to the local research center Equinox Project, the total yearly rental cost in Chula Vista is $21,612. The total yearly mortgage cost for a median home is $31,024.
“Our research shows more than half of county residents spend over 30 percent of their income on rent,” said Stephen Heverly of the Equinox Project. “Increasing home inventory is a great opportunity to help, as occupancy rates are very high, driving up demand, and costs for owners and renters.”