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Some states, counties or municipalities require developers of multi-family housing to have a certain percentage of the new units meet a standard for “affordability.” People in cohousing usually welcome this, and often wish they could make even more than the required percentage affordable. Unfortunately, unless the developer can get public or private subsidies or grants, a community can build only a limited number of affordable units without significantly driving up everyone else’s costs.
Many cohousing neighborhoods include a few rental units owned by members who intend to move in later or who are away for a period of time. In some communities, individual households rent out their attached “in-law” apartments or finished basement apartments. Some people want to rent in cohousing to try it out, because they cannot yet afford to buy a unit, or because they want to live in a particular community but no units are currently available for sale. Most residents agree that rental units are a positive addition to a community.
Affordability varies. Some cohousing neighborhoods now incorporate approaches to maximize affordability, but most often construction, consultants and financing costs are similar to those in any new development. Cohousing homes tend to be comparably priced with other single-family houses, townhouses or condominiums in the area. In addition to your new home, however, you also will benefit from a custom-designed neighborhood and extensive common facilities, as well as ongoing costs that tend to be less than in a typical U.S. home.