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Investor beats out low-income families for affordable home

Posted at 5:19 PM, Sep 20, 2021

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A brand new home in a million dollar neighborhood in Encinitas just sold for pennies on the dollar. Low-income families were lining up to buy it, but an investor beat them out.

The ranch house, on Portola Road in Olivenhain, sold for $112,000 and is income restricted. It's surrounded, however, by other new homes that tower over and go for $1.9 million or more.

Developer Woodbridge Pacific built the affordable home as part of its permitting for its Loden Development. Woodbridge had the option to either sell the unit or rent it out to a qualifying household. It got roughly 80 applicants to buy the home, but instead chose to sell it to real-estate investor Scramark, LLC, according to The Coast News. The city of Encinitas approved the sale.

That was a tough blow to Leah Sorensen, a mother of four who has a part-time job and said she undoubtedly qualified.

"Oh my gosh, I'm livid," Sorensen said. "It's such a frustrating process, I feel like it's totally unfair and doesn't really give people that it's meant to go to a fair chance."

In a statement, the city of Encinitas said it's the developer's choice of who to sell the unit to and that the city was required to approve it. The city noted the buyer manages two other affordable units in the city and is in good standing.

Scramark will be required to rent out the home to a low-income household for the next 55 years. After that, the home reverts to full market value. Sorensen said she doubts she'll live that long, but would have loved to leave something like that to her children.