If the American dream among the Rim country's median-income families is to own a home they can afford even if it's manufactured and located in Star Valley then that dream is coming within reach for 91 area clans.
And they'll likely be able to move in by mid-August or earlier.
Saturday marks the grand opening of the Houston Creek Landing subdivision, a 21.4-acre single- and double-wide mobile home development where the price for land and home packages begins at less than $80,000.
Located a half mile south of Highway 260 on Quail Hollow, the subdivision is bounded by private subdivided property and the Tonto National Forest.
While the 59 lots of the project's first phase will go on sale this weekend, the second phase 32 lots won't be marketed until a later date, said Ray Pugel, owner/broker of Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty, the agency handling sales for subdivision owner Elk Run Development.
"The single-wides will start in the high $70s, the double-wides in the high $80s, and the largest available homes about 1,600 square feet, with three bedrooms and two baths will be priced under $100,000," Pugel said.
All the homes will be at ground level, he added, and will feature carports, a basic landscape package, a central sewer system, and "all of the finishing issues and detail work, which will be done by the Elk Run crews right on site."
The lots range in size from 3,545 square feet to 9,225 square feet. Base lot prices run the gamut from $27,900 for a standard singlewide lot to $32,900 for a standard doublewide. For the bigger lots, or those surrounded by open space, buyers will pay premiums ranging from $2,000 to $12,000.
Monthly expenses of homebuyers will include a homeowners' association fee, as well as standard central sewer fees.
Homebuyers will first select their lots, then pick their mobile homes from a variety that will include brand-name models from Cavco, Clayton, and a third, yet-to-be-named manufacturer, Pugel said.
"Elk Run is essentially a mobile home dealer, so they could get any line of mobile home that people want. But the best value is going to be one of the featured brands."
Current home renters who would like to become homeowners are not the only ones encouraged by the new subdivision's opening.
"I'm very pleased to see that there's more housing available in the area," said Payson's Community Development Director, Bob Gould, who thinks that the mobile home and lot packages offered at Houston Creek Landing meet all three criteria for affordable housing: "They're not only affordable, but decent and safe as well," he said.
The subdivision also helps to meet one of the area's most long-standing needs, he added.
"We have a median income that right now is probably in the $30,000 to $31,000 bracket. What that means is, that a person who makes the median income can afford to purchase a house that is roughly $90,000. But that median also tells you that half your population can't afford that house, and that half can.
"So," Gould said, "a $90,000 home would not qualify as affordable housing here, because more than half the population can't afford it.
"What is truly affordable? I don't know how far down you go. For somebody who makes $15,000 or $20,000 a year, obviously, there's an affordability issue."
That issue, Gould pointed out, not only affects the whole community, but the community's quality of services.
"At one of the recent public hearings, the school administrator said that they were losing a lot of applicants as soon as they arrived in town and saw the cost of housing in relationship to how much money they were going to be making here so they just moved on to greener pastures," he said.
According to Gould, Houston Creek Landing "is going to be very helpful on combating that problem. I just wish that (Elk Run developer) Steve Iverson would build some new homes here in Payson. Unfortunately, he has some very good reasons not to do that," he said, referring to hefty impact fees the town imposes on home builders.
"If things go right and people buy now," Pugel said, "we anticipate that the roads (within Houston Creek landing) will be completed by the end of July. Hopefully by mid-August, people will be able to start moving in. That's the schedule, anyway."
If things go right, there also will be a model home up and ready for inspection by those who attend Saturday's grand opening to be held "from 9 a.m. until there's no longer a line," Pugel said. "We anticipate a lot of people, because we've been getting a lot of phone calls."
For more information, call the Payson office of Coldwell Banker at 474-2216, or Elk Run Development at 474-1814.