It took more than 20 years, but Joe Hopper is finally a Ketchum homeowner. He will soon move into a deed-restricted community housing unit at Chilali Lodge in downtown Ketchum.
Hopper moved to Ketchum in 1980, and he's worked various jobs, most recently for six years at Ketchum Spa.
Home ownership, he said, has seemed beyond his reach.
"For a single guy it's pretty darn impossible," he said.
And that is despite his near-perfect credit and the investments he'd tucked aside.
Hopper was approved for purchase of one of two deed-restricted community housing units at Chilali early this summer, but when he attempted to retrieve one of his investments he realized the sub-prime mortgage meltdown that swept America was affecting his ability to buy his first home.
Indymac, with which he'd made an investment, had just filed for bankruptcy.
"So I had to wait for the money," he said. "I couldn't close. Even a little guy like me—I never thought I'd be caught up in the sub-prime garbage, so even a little guy like me can get wrapped up in it."
Just the same, Hopper said he is very happy with his new home, a beautiful basement unit at Chilali Lodge.
"The reason I started playing this game to begin with is because I did not want to start doing that commute from Hailey," he said. "I work in Ketchum, I ski in Ketchum, and I golf in Ketchum. Now I know I'm going to live in Ketchum."
Hopper said he usually prefers to stay below the public radar, but agreed to talk with the Mountain Express to try to bring attention to the Blaine County Housing Authority, which he described as a "top notch" operation.