Community Land Trusts

Under this approach, the land is owned by a community land trust (CLT) and then leased to families who purchase the homes that sit on the CLT land. Because the family needs to purchase only the building and not the land, a CLT home is more affordable than a conventional home. The ground lease establishes the conditions under which ongoing affordability is maintained, with the CLT always having the right to repurchase the property at an affordable price established by a resale formula built into the ground lease. One common approach to governing CLTs is to establish a board of directors consisting of an equal number of representatives of the following three groups: existing owners of homes on land leased from the CLT; residents from the surrounding community; and, public officials or other supporters of the CLT. There are approximately 200 Community Land Trusts active throughout the United States.

Learn More

  • Urban Land: CLTs, Foreclosure Prevention and Neighborhood Stabilization
  • This article from the September issue of ULI’s Urban Land magazine provides an overview of the features of community land trusts and their applications under today’s current housing market conditions, particularly how CLTs can be used in the context of foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization. CLTarticle_UL_Sept09

  • Survey: Community land trusts lower risk of losing homes to foreclosure
  • Homeowners in community land trusts (CLTs) across the country are much less likely to lose their homes to foreclosure than owners of market-rate homes, according to survey results released by the National CLT Network and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. The new data show 2008 closing with a slight 0.52 percent foreclosure rate among […]

  • Burlington Resale Study
  • picture-51This 2004 study of the first 100 home resales conducted by the Burlington Community Land Trust (now known as the Champlain Housing Trust) is the only formal study of program outcomes for shared equity homeownership completed to date. The study documents significant asset building outcomes for homeowners as well as success in preservation of affordability for future buyers.

  • American Planning Association: Affordable Forever
  • planning0309This article from Planning Magazine profiles a number of community land trusts and describes how local planners are turning to CLTs as a means for preserving long term affordability of homeownership units.

  • Fannie Mae: Guidelines for Resale Restricted and CLT Properties
  • Fannie Mae has developed a thoughtful set of guidelines that allow lenders to originate mortgages for buyers of shared equity homes. The guidelines are designed to protect the lender's security interest in the property right to repayment while still allowing local affordable housing programs to protect affordability for the longest term possible. The guidelines allow for resale price restrictions that survive foreclosure by the mortgage holder.

  • WA Housing Finance Commission: CLTs Come of Age
  • picture-31The Washington Housing Finance Commission published this 8 page overview of Community Land Trusts in Washington and the growing role that they are playing in implementing the state's affordable housing goals. Kim Herman, Executive Director of the Commission and past president of the National Council of State Housing Agencies, writes ...

  • Boston Globe: A Foreclosure Free Option
  • THE MORTGAGE CRISIS and the rise in foreclosures nationwide have left the American dream in tatters and may be sparking a recession. Yet a fast-growing form of housing - the community land trust - has become a virtually foreclosure-free safe harbor. One of the best examples of this fresh approach to putting a roof over people's heads is in Boston.

  • Christian Science Monitor: One Path to Affordable Housing
  • from the November 22, 2006 edition One path to affordable housing: You own the house, but a trust owns the land By Amy Green | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor  ORLANDO, FLA. – A single mom and X-ray technician, Jennifer Sorrentino couldn’t keep up with Orlando’s racing housing market of recent years. She and her 16-year-old daughter […]

  • The City CLT Partnership
  • 1395_clt-pfr-cover-loresCommunity Land Trusts can offer a stable institutional structure for long term stewardship and monitoring of affordable homeownership units. This report produced by the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy provides an overview of the Community Land Trust model for local and state government policymakers and outlines best practices among cities that have chosen to partner with land trusts to produce permanently affordable homeownership opportunities.

  • National Association of Realtors: On Common Ground
  • winter2008_cover_smThis article comes from the Winter 2008 issue of On Common Ground, a publication of the National Association of Realtors focused on smart growth issues. The article describes "a growing trend toward shared equity housing, a trend that, in the past few years, has taken on the momentum of a bullet train." The article profiles several shared equity homeownership projects including the Beecher Cooperative in Washington DC and Southern Lights a " a deed restricted housing project initiated by the Boulder Area REALTOR® Association."