Community Land Trusts Make Homeownership Accessible

The organizations sell homes to low-income buyers at rates far below market prices, putting homeownership within reach for more families.

Read Time: 1 minute

September 27, 2022, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

View of Seattle skyline with houses in foreground

Frank Fell Media / Seattle, Washington

An article by Josh Cohen in Next City describes how community land trusts are helping low-income Seattle families become homeowners. Organizations such as the Homestead Community Land Trust and Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County make homes available at costs much lower than the median home price, which in the Seattle area is currently $855,000.

“Like any other homeowner, land trust homeowners get to live in their home for as long as they want (and as long as they’re able to keep up their mortgage payments). It doesn’t matter if their income increases or the household size changes, the home is theirs.” As a trade-off, if the homeowner does decide to sell, they must do so at a restricted price—meaning that their homes are prevented from appreciating at the same rate as market rate houses.

For many, the tradeoff is worth it, as “community land trust homeowners almost certainly could not become homeowners on the open market in Seattle, so it’s equity they would not have otherwise built as renters.”

The article describes the history of the community land trust model, which was first created in Georgia in 1969 and has roots in anti-displacement activism. Today’s land trusts are evolving the model to mitigate rising land costs, in some cases by building duplexes and other multifamily housing types.

Friday, September 23, 2022 in Next City


The Top Urban Planning Books of 2022

An annual list of the must-read books related to urban planning and its intersecting fields.

November 28, 2022 - James Brasuell

Urban separated bike lane with street trees on one side and cars parked on the other

How Urban Trees Save Lives

New research shows a strong connection between a healthy urban tree canopy and lowered mortality rates.

December 1, 2022 - Congress For New Urbanism

Houston, Construction

How To End Homelessness: The Houston Model

While the numbers of unhoused people in other major U.S. cities grow, Houston has managed to effectively end veteran homelessness and house more than 26,000 people since implementing a ‘Housing First’ approach a decade ago.

December 1, 2022 - Smart Cities Dive

Old church and modern glass building in downtown Boston, Massachusetts

How One Massachusetts Governor Rejected Car-Oriented Development

Fifty years ago, Governor Francis W. Sargent nixed a proposed expressway and set in motion a transportation future for Boston that would be remarkably different from many other U.S. cities.

19 minutes ago - The Boston Globe

Man walking away past glass elevator in brightly lit New York City subway station corridor

New York MTA Releases Plan for Improved Accessibility

The MTA announced plans for new or improved elevators at almost two dozen stations as part of its pledge to make more of its stations fully accessible.

1 hour ago - The Architect's Newspaper

Rendering of Juneteenth Museum

The Best, Worst, and Most Questionable in 2022 Architecture and Design

A list of innovative projects, intriguing design, and flummoxing failures.

December 6 - Medium

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.