A new housing community that aims to counter the high real estate costs in New Mexico’s capital celebrated its grand opening on Feb. 24 and 25.
El Camino Crossing by Homewise Inc. is located near the intersection of Siler Road and Agua Fria Street, offering "high-quality, high-value, energy-efficient single-family homes" that are difficult to find amid Santa Fe’s high housing costs, according to a news release.
Homewise Inc. is a homeownership nonprofit organization founded in Santa Fe that has built over 600 high-quality affordable homes and helped over 3,600 people purchase homes since its founding in 1986. Last year the nonprofit received $15 million in federal loans to help finance and refinance single-family mortgages in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, as reported by Albuquerque Business First. The organization received $5 million last summer from the New Markets Tax Credit for the rehabilitation of the Siler Road and Agua Fria area, resulting in the development of El Camino Crossing.
Floor plans at El Camino Crossing range from 525 square feet to 1,481 square feet. The smallest housing option, referred to as "Little Tesuque," offers one bedroom and one bath starting from $199,000, while the largest housing option, "Truchas," offers four bedrooms and two baths from $289,900.
There are 40 homes on the property, as well as a community park and playground. All residences come with options like type of garage and the addition of studio space. Standard construction for the homes is set to include a solar photovoltaic system. Each home will also be equipped with a low-water-usage washing machine, water-efficient toilets and plumbing fixtures. Low-water-usage landscaping will be installed throughout the property. By sticking to these measures, El Camino Crossing will be built to meet Build Green New Mexico Silver standards.
“El Camino Crossing reflects so many of Santa Fe’s unique values and needs,” said Homewise CEO Mike Loftin in the release. “It provides reasonably-priced housing, revitalizes a neighborhood, supports local businesses, promotes creative entrepreneurship and values sustainability.”
The next step for El Camino is the addition of units for entrepreneurs who need space to both live and work. Homewise will offer 30-year fixed-rate financing on these live/work units, in an effort to allow small local businesses the opportunity to escape from the high cost of housing on top of the high cost to rent work space, a significant issue in the high-housing-cost community of Santa Fe.
According to the community’s online map, El Camino is located 18 minutes by foot from Meow Wolf, 18 minutes by car from Santa Fe Community College and 13 minutes by car from Santa Fe Plaza. The housing community is in the school districts for Salazar Elementary, Milagro Middle School and Santa Fe High School. The area also offers access to biking and walking trails.
Homewise partnered with MIX Santa Fe to gather and analyze community input on the project to ensure El Camino’s success. MIX Santa Fe is a local networking and business resource organization that offers a forum for professionals and entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate on projects aimed at enhancing the Santa Fe community. Through focus groups and surveys, Homewise and MIX Santa Fe learned that potential clients preferred the opportunity to purchase a live/work unit, rather than rent.
Real estate costs in Santa Fe are generally higher than those in Albuquerque. Business First recently reported on how much apartment space $1,500 will get you in either city. In Albuquerque, $1,500 will rent you apartment with an average of 1,650 square feet, while in Santa Fe that same price will get you an average of 1,030 square feet. Renters in Albuquerque looking to spend $750 or less can find spaces between 405 square feet and 850 square feet.
Albuquerque’s apartment market contributes over $1.3 billion to the economy and reflects 14,300 jobs supported by the industry, according to a study.