ORINDA -- The city will hold a workshop this month for potential buyers of eight affordable housing units that will soon be up for sale as part of a 73-home residential development.

Orinda city staff and a representative from developer Pulte Homes will conduct the workshop Jan. 13 at the Orinda library auditorium and provide information about the application process and requirements. Representatives from the city of Walnut Creek, with their affordable-housing expertise, are assisting Orinda with the sale of the units, and bank representatives are also scheduled to attend.

While anyone can apply for the "below-market rate" single-family housing, city staff says households with at least one member currently employed in Orinda for a year or more will get the first opportunity to qualify for a home purchase. Prospective buyers must also meet basic eligibility requirements including that their household's gross annual income doesn't surpass 120 percent of the area median income for Contra Costa County. For a four -person household, that income can't exceed $112,200. The limit is $121,200 for a five-person household and $130,150 for six people.

According to Orinda senior planner Christina Ratcliffe, the city is not maintaining a waiting list of interested buyers. However, staffers have received "three or four" preliminary applications for the homes and a handful of inquiries, Ratcliffe said last week.

The "moderate-income" duplexes will add affordable housing stock to a city where average home prices hovered around $930,000 late last year, according to real estate information company Data Quick. That amount is more than double the median home price in Contra Costa County.

The price of the first four affordable single family homes available for purchase later this year is $385,000; prices of the 65 "market-rate" single-family homes are estimated to range from $1.17 million to $1.24 million, according to the city.

Unlike some cities, Orinda does not require developers to set aside a certain percentage of a development -- typically within multifamily projects -- for affordable housing. But the city does recognize the need for such housing, said planning director Emmanuel Ursu.

"As part of the Pine Grove neighborhood design policies, we required that no less than 10 percent of those units be set aside in perpetuity as for-sale units at rates that are affordable to moderate-income households," Ursu said. Only one "moderate" income single-family home has been built in Orinda since 1996, according to data in the city's recently adopted housing element, which details how the city plans to make sure that "an adequate supply of housing" is available for current and future residents.

In addition to the 73-unit Pulte development, the city has in recent years approved a number of single-family homes, including 245 of them in the Wilder development, 12 homes at Orinda Oaks and eight homes in the Lavenida Lane development. While none of those projects have affordable housing on site, Wilder's developers did contribute $2.5 million to the city that was set aside for affordable senior housing.

The city has also approved a number of "very low-" to "moderate-" income second, or "in-law" units to meet state housing requirements. Unlike the eight single-family homes for sale, those units are rental only and can be attached or detached to a primary residence.

A 67-unit apartment complex that will provide housing for "extremely low" and "very low" income seniors is also in the works, and is being partially funded by the Wilder money.

The Orinda Grove development includes a ball field, new school district offices and a tot lot. Pre-application forms are available on the city's website at www.cityoforinda.org.

If you go
What: Below-market-rate homes workshop
When: 7 p.m. Jan. 13
Where: Orinda library auditorium, 26 Orinda Way
Contact: 925-253-4200; www.cityoforinda.org.