Ours is the oldest and largest mountain resort workforce housing program in North America. According to its own description, “APCHA is an independent, multi-jurisdictional housing authority designed to oversee the housing of low, middle and middle income people who are permanent residents and work full-time in the city and county.” But we all know it’s not just for middle and low incomes, nor strictly for the active workforce.

Winning the lottery to become a homeowner is truly a life-changing event. Beyond the obvious benefits of the roof over your head, there are some surprising benefits to buying Aspen’s state-subsidized housing.

APCHA purchases are not subject to RETT. All real estate transactions in the City of Aspen are subject to a 1.5% real estate transfer tax, of which 1% goes to the housing fund. In 2021, the housing portion of the RETT brought in $31 million. However, the beneficiaries of the APCHA in town do not contribute and therefore do not have their skin in the game.



There is no income cap for RO housing. But a buyer’s net assets cannot exceed $2.445 million at the time of purchase. The “Resident Occupied” category was created so that high-income households (doctors, lawyers, architects, real estate agents) also have access to subsidized housing because of their interest in the community.

You can pass your APCHA unit to your child. If your child is a qualified buyer who meets the minimum occupancy requirement of one person per room minus one, for a $1,000 transportation fee, your child can avoid the auction process and the lottery and you can simply transfer ownership of your unit. . With a documented local work history of 10 years, minimum occupancy is waived.



After purchase, there is no income or asset limit. Once you own your unit, there is no need to maintain or report your income or asset levels, or maintain minimum occupancy. A financial windfall, an inheritance and an empty nest are allowed, as long as you remain in compliance with residency and employment.

Priority in the complex rewards those who are already in the system. After a year of living there, you can bypass the lottery to upgrade your unit within the same complex. If your neighbor has the same idea, whoever has the most local work history gets the keys.

You can work for Google from your APCHA unit. If you have a dependent and your spouse continues to work at least 1,500 hours per year for a qualified local employer, with residency compliance, you can accept employment with any business anywhere and make a lot of money.

Your APCHA unit appreciates. APCHA units increase in value using a simple appreciation of 3% or the CPI, whichever is lower, per year for each year the unit is held. The long-term impacts of cumulative appreciation result in large payments for those moving while pressuring new buyers to pay above the category maximum, absorbing the cost despite their income limits. . By allowing landlords to realize these capital gains, APCHA pushes the market for better paid employees to purchase housing.

Your maximum selling price includes upgrades. When selling, the formula for determining your maximum sale price includes the purchase price, appreciation, and current value of approved capital improvements, not to exceed 10% of the purchase price. Improvements for health and safety (energy efficiency, green projects) are exempt from the 10% limit.

You can retire in your APCHA unit at age 62. At age 62, with 30 years of documented work experience of which 15 years immediately prior, you can retire to your APCHA unit. Otherwise, it’s 65, with only four years of local employment. As a retiree, although you are required to live there for at least nine months of the year, you can leave your accommodation vacant for up to three months without having to rent it.

The affidavit does not ask where you work or what you do. APCHA’s biennial requalification affidavit is online, so all you have to do is electronically check a box that attests to your residency and employment suitability. APCHA does not ask questions about where you work or what you do.

You can own property outside the OEZ. Neither you nor your spouse can own other real estate in the designated property exclusion zone: the Roaring Fork and Colorado River watersheds. Beyond those limits, it’s fair game. This is how we have owners of French vineyards and chateaux and Costa Rican beach villas in APCHA accommodation. Our taxes fund vacation homes at other resorts while owners live affordably in Aspen.

We certainly have a housing crisis. “The System” has evolved to specifically benefit those who already participate, and offers benefits equivalent to those of the free market, but at a heavily discounted and state-subsidized rate. The booming real estate market in Aspen has undeniably increased the demand for subsidized housing. however, the ever-growing list of amenities and benefits built into the program should not be overlooked as a major contributor.

For those who are already “in”, they are ready for life. But the model is an unquestionably unsustainable social pact that warrants serious philosophical discussion on a future-proof basis, especially if we ever intend to actually house the workforce.

It’s a lot if you can get it. Contact [email protected]