New Affordable Housing Community Coming to Irvine

February 16, 2021 Updated: February 16, 2021

Construction for 68 affordable townhomes is underway in Irvine to help the city meet its state-mandated affordable housing quota.

Sage Park will include 16 two-bedroom, 36 three-bedroom, and 16 four-bedroom homes. The construction lot spans fouracres north of Irvine Boulevard in Portola Springs.

When it’s complete, it will be the first ownership project by the Irvine Community Land Trust (ICLT), a non-profit that creates affordable housing.

“We are aiming to make Irvine a place where residents can thrive rather than barely get by,” ICLT executive director Mark Asturias said in a statement. “Sage Park provides a wonderful opportunity for moderate-income families to enter the world of home-ownership at nearly half the cost of a comparable home elsewhere in Irvine.”

Construction is expected to be complete by early next year.

Buyers will need to qualify for the Sage Park development by meeting income requirements.  Applicants must also sign a statement agreeing to resale price restrictions, prequalify for a fixed-rate mortgage, and have at least five percent of the total purchase price on hand.

The median price for homes in Orange County last year was $950,000, according to the California Association of Realtors.

Most of the units will be limited to households making less than 80 to 120 percent of the area median income (AMI), or midpoint of an area’s income distribution, per household size.

Potential residents interested and qualified for the properties need to sign up on a lottery list basis until the homes are leased.

Irvine’s Affordable Housing Quota

The City of Irvine is entering the sixth cycle, which occurs every eight years per state mandate, of its Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA), spanning October 2021 through October 2029.

RHNA, which is developed by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), is a state-mandated affordable housing quota that a specified region must meet.

If a region fails to meet the quota, it could become ineligible for millions of dollars in state funding.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development estimates each regions housing need for all income groups for the upcoming eight years.

The RHNA for the Southern California region is more than 1.3 million units; Irvine was allocated a 23,554-unit quota last September.

Irvine filed an appeal with SCAG about its RHNA allocation last October, seeking to reduce the number of housing units from 23,554 units to 15,295 units.

“The city council has determined that this number was calculated in a manner that did not follow state housing laws and is requesting an adjustment of the City’s housing responsibility,” it said on its website.

Irvine said it considered the RHNA allocation to be unfair compared to other Orange County cities. Newport Beach was allocated 4,834 units, and Yorba Linda 2,411 units.

Final RHNA allocations will be released by the end of February.

The city’s housing element update plan must be submitted to the state for certification by Oct. 15.