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WASHINGTON MUTUAL: HOMES AT HALF THE AVERAGE PRICE IN KING COUNTY AVAILABLE FOR FAMILIES EARNING LESS THAN $40,000

 RENTON, Wash., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by Washington Mutual:
 Benson Glen may look like your typical suburban housing development, but here families earning less than $40,000 can afford brand-new homes selling for as little as $112,900, half the average cost of a new home in King County.
 Benson Glen is an example of how nonprofit developer Threshold Housing and its affiliate King County Housing Partnership (KCHP) are working with the public and private sectors to increase the availability of affordable housing. To celebrate the innovative development, Gov. Mike Lowry, King County Executive Tim Hill, King County Council Member Cynthia Sullivan and others will tour and discuss the development of Benson Glen, 3 p.m., Aug. 11, at Benson Glen, S.E. 170th and Benson Highway near Renton.
 "More than 100,000 households in King County need assistance with housing, but many of these families wouldn't need help if homes were available at a reasonable price. With Benson Glen, we're taking a close look at the costs that go into building a home to find long-range solutions to the affordable housing problem," said Bill Longbrake, chair of Threshold Housing's Board of Trustees and chief financial officer of Washington Mutual. Washington Mutual, the state's No. 1 home lender, financed the land development and construction of the project and also will underwrite and close home loans on behalf of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.
 When complete, the Benson Glen community will have 43 new, two- and three-bedroom homes featuring innovative designs and quality construction. Currently, 11 of the homes at Benson Glen are available, ranging in price from $112,990 to $129,990, and applications are being accepted from qualified households earning less than 80 percent of the median income in King County. Priority will be given to households of three earning less than $34,500; households of four earning less than $38,400; and households of five earning less than $41,400.
 In addition to providing affordable homes, the Benson Glen project serves as a laboratory for studying the effects of regulation and the regulation process on the cost of housing. Washington Mutual has given KCHP $5,000 in support of the study, due for release this fall. The study will evaluate the public policies and regulations that guide the housing industry in King County and provide recommendations for possible regulatory reform. The goal is to expand the possibilities of providing quality, affordable housing. The results will be shared with King County officials, private developers and builders as well as other governmental jurisdictions statewide.
 "Benson Glen is being scrutinized by county officials, the building community and lenders," said Jim Soules, executive director of Threshold Housing. "I believe the channels of communication we've opened between members of our private sector team and King County officials is leading to positive dialogue, and, ultimately, to a more cost-effective regulatory approach that won't sacrifice our quality of life or environment."
 Threshold Housing is a nonprofit real estate development corporation established in 1992 to expand the possibilities of providing affordable housing to working families. Benson Glen is its first project, made possible through an alliance among the Conner Development Co., Mithun Partners, lenders such as Washington Mutual and Washington State Housing Finance Commission, and King County elected and planning officials. Potential home buyers can obtain more information by calling 206-235-7148 or visiting the sales office at Benson Glen between 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Thursday through Monday. Four model homes are now showing, one of which has been furnished by The Bon Marche.
 Founded in 1889, Washington Mutual is the state's largest local, independent bank and the Northwest's largest consumer bank. The bank focuses on affordable housing and education in its community-involvement efforts. Washington Mutual operates 228 financial centers and 26 home loan centers in Washington and Oregon. At June 30, the bank had $14.4 billion in assets.
 -0- 8/9/93
 /CONTACT: Jennifer Maxwell-Muir of Washington Mutual, 206-461-2484/
 (WAMU)


CO: Washington Mutual ST: Washington IN: FIN SU:

SB -- SE004 -- 0884 08/09/93 16:18 EDT
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Date:Aug 9, 1993
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