Echo Village "Apartments", Gatehouse Road, Amherst
Obviously the profit margin on a pizza sold by the slice is a lot higher than pies sold in bulkier units measured as small, medium, or large ... but, can the same be said for rental housing?
Keep an eye on controversial Echo Village "Apartments" in East Amherst, and we will soon find out ... providing of course the Building Commissioner doesn't put the kibosh on it as a zoning violation, since selling by the bedroom kind of turns the building into a "rooming house," and currently that location is not so zoned.
At $575 per bedroom with a total of 62 bedrooms in the complex (at least officially anyway) monthly receipts would total $35,650. And even with the mortgage payment on the $3,000,000 acquisition price, a tidy profit to be made.
And that is of course a pernicious problem if you are on the wrong end of the supply/demand equation. With high demand and limited supply the price of housing skyrockets, pricing out of the market low-income residents, single-parent households, veterans, and basic service industry workers trying to survive on minimum wage jobs.
Yesterday the Amherst Housing Authority shelved a controversial vote on reducing the value of individual Section 8 housing vouchers because -- according to state law -- they cannot do so without first holding a public hearing within 45 days of taking such drastic action.
Out of the 11 families who formerly called Echo Village home (with the aid of vouchers overseen by the AHA) only 3 families still remain.
The Town Manager commissioned an infrastructure study of Echo Village Apartments as a prelude to taking it by eminent domain, a drastic solution that will never make it through Town Meeting, where it would require a two-thirds vote.
But the town should at least maintain a level playing field for all landlords/rental property owners by enforcing the zoning,
UPDATE (4:00 PM)
I'm now told this selling practice is probably legal as it is "common practice all over town." But then, cramming too many students into basement rooms with inadequate fire/carbon monoxide detection systems and no second means of egress also used to be common practice all over town.