BMR Purchasing: General Information
The BMR Housing Purchase Program is part
of the Palo Alto Comprehensive Plan. When a development of five or more
residential units is built in the City of Palo Alto, the developer is
required to offer at least 15% of those units for sale at below market
prices. The initial sale price for new BMR units is set by the City of
Palo Alto. The buyer selection process is administered by PAHC Housing
Services, LLC (PAHC), a private non-profit organization that administers
the BMR Housing Program under a contract with the City of Palo Alto.
PAHC is an affiliate of the Palo Alto Housing Corporation.
Only persons whose household income and
assets do not exceed specified limits may purchase BMR units. Currently,
income limits for resale units are set at 80% or 100% of the Area Median
Income (AMI) for Santa Clara County depending on the sale price of the
unit. Most BMR resale units are in the $100,000 to $200,000 price range.
The income limit for units priced under $150,000 is 80% of AMI. The
income limit for units priced over $150,000 is 100% of AMI. Precise AMI
income levels are set forth in the attached
PAHC maintains a Waiting List of
potential BMR purchasers. Persons may add their names to the Waiting
List at any time by submitting a Waiting List
Application to PAHC and paying a $15.00 sign-up fee. When the
application and sign-up fee are received, PAHC notifies the applicant of
his or her number on the Waiting List. Numbers are assigned in the order
applications are received. Income and other eligibility requirements are
not assessed until an applicant is selected to apply to purchase a BMR
unit being offered for sale.
Only persons who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents may purchase BMR units. Also, there is a preference given to persons who live or work in Palo Alto. When a unit is offered for sale, persons who do not meet the live/work preference are ranked below persons who do. Because of the large number of applicants who meet the preference, persons who do not live or work in Palo Alto are unlikely to ever be selected to purchase a BMR unit. (Stanford employees should be aware that only the Medical Center and Shopping Center are located in Palo Alto.)
When a BMR unit is available for sale,
PAHC sends an information packet to persons at the top of the Waiting
List (usually applicants with Waiting List numbers below 200) who live
or work in Palo Alto, and who have applied for and qualify for a unit of
the size being offered for sale. Information packets are not sent to
persons who do not live or work in Palo Alto. The packet includes
detailed information about the BMR unit being sold and an invitation to
an open house to view the unit. Persons who view the unit and are
interested in purchasing it must submit a purchase application to PAHC
by a specified deadline. The applicant with the lowest number on the
Waiting List who meets the BMR eligibility requirements, including the
income criteria for that unit, and obtains a financing commitment from a
lender within a reasonable period of time will be authorized by PAHC to
purchase the unit.
BMR units must be owner-occupied and must be the owner’s principal residence. BMR units may not be rented or leased to others without written permission from the City of Palo Alto, which is granted only in circumstances that further the affordable housing goals of the BMR program.
When a BMR owner wishes to sell, the
unit must be sold through the BMR Program to another BMR eligible
purchaser selected by PAHC from the BMR Housing Purchase Waiting List.
The resale price of the unit is established in accordance with a formula
that significantly the appreciation of BMR units compared to market rate
properties. Most BMR properties appreciate by approximately $1,000 per
year. These restrictions are necessary, however, to enable the City to
keep BMR units affordable.
Fair Housing Policy and Reasonable Accommodation Policy
PAHC Housing Services, LLC will not discriminate against any person or persons on any basis prohibited by law. Please read the Reasonable Accommodation Policy for the City of Palo Alto and PAHC Housing Services, LLC.