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First Western Backs a Much-Needed Affordable Housing Development in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

February 20, 2023

Thanks to a $14M affordable housing project backed by an $11.6M loan through First Western Trust, Jackson Hole was able to build one of the first affordable condominium developments in the town’s history. The 174 North King Street Project broke ground in 2020 and was a collaborative effort between local banks, non-profits, and government entities. Today, 41 people live in the two dozen beautiful and affordable condominium units located within walking distance of Jackson’s famous town square.

Why Jackson Hole Needed Affordable Housing

Located along a 55-mile-long valley, Jackson Hole is considered the crown jewel of Wyoming. Featuring thousands of miles of lush wilderness and stunning landscapes, Jackson Hole is a popular tourist destination. It’s also one of the most expensive places to live in the country.

With the average home selling for $2.5 million, affordable real estate is hard to come by. Not only are home prices incredibly high, but the average income in the area is just over $38,600, which makes property ownership difficult for many local residents.

How First Western Helped Make Housing Affordable

Recognizing the need for more affordable housing options, First Western Trust partnered with the Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust, First Republic Bank, First Interstate Bank, and Bank of Jackson Hole to back an affordable condominium development close to the town square. Through this collaborative project, Jackson Hole received a 42,425-square-foot development comprised of 18 one-bedroom units, four three-bedroom units, and two three-bedroom units.

The price of each condo came in well below the median home price for the area. One-bedroom, one-bath units (700 SF) ranged from $267,750-$355,000, while two-bedroom, two-bath units (1,000 SF) went for $440,000-$457,000, and three-bedroom, two-bath units (1,210 SF) units went for $495,000-$556,200. The lower sale prices were made possible by the “favorable financing terms” offered by First Western Trust and other lenders, including First Republic Bank, First Interstate Bank, and Bank of Jackson Hole. On average, homebuyers were able to lock in a 30-year loan at 2.5%.

Alison Lee, Director of Developments for the Housing Trust, shared, “The loan terms that First Western presented were very competitive, which was really helpful in an affordable-housing project. We’re a nonprofit, and we don’t have partners with capital to put into the project, so everybody has to stretch to get these projects done. First Western really understood the mechanics of an affordable housing project and was very responsive. The other extraordinary thing was that they made that commitment to do a construction loan at the beginning of a pandemic.”

First Western’s Impact on the Jackson Hole Community

Within 28 days of the Certificate of Occupancy being issued, buyers closed on all 24 available units at the North King Street Development. Associates at the First Western Trust Jackson Hole office attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, where they toured units and met the new homeowners. Recounting this experience, Chris Jones, Jackson Hole Senior Vice President and Relationship Banker III, shared, “Walking into the residents’ homes, they were just speechless… the end product is really a great place that facilitated what was needed, right here in an ideal part of Jackson.” Martha Bancroft, a Jackson Hole Portfolio Manager and a 36-year resident of Wyoming, added, “Most of the residents were renters who had lived in the community a long time. It was a big deal for them to purchase those units. We helped build 24 new units in the heart of our community. It’s never enough, but it sure is great.”

Today, 41 people live in North King Street Development, where they own beautiful condominiums, complete with private exterior decks, a secure bike room, conditioned storage units, and garbage and recycling services. The North King Street development is also permanently deed-restricted, making it eligible to qualify as affordable housing under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

“It just goes back to being part of the community,” said Mike Eden, Jackson Hole Market President. Economic development is one of First Western’s philanthropic pillars, and First Western Trust is excited to continue investing in its communities through more initiatives, like the North King Street Development.

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