homes for sale homeownership center about us

 

 
 What We Do 
 
Although new to the Lehigh Valley, community land trusts have been promoting neighborhood stability throughout the U.S. for over 30 years. A community land trust is a private, non-profit organization whose goal is to acquire and hold land for the benefit of the community and to provide secure, affordable access to housing for community residents. Community land trusts attempt to meet the needs of those priced out of the housing market. They also help to reduce real estate speculation, to limit absentee ownership, and to preserve the community’s long-term affordability investment in their housing stock.
 
In a community land trust, a nonprofit community-based organization owns a parcel of land and then agrees to never sell it. Like conventional market housing, the homeowner has every legal right to use, occupy and enjoy the land. A community land trust homeowner may even pass the home on to his or her heirs. But the community group—the community land trust—maintains ownership of the land.
 
Community land trust homeowners lease the land under their home through a 99-year ground lease. This ground lease is the legal agreement that protects the homeowners’ interests—including the rights to privacy, security, and a generational legacy. It also provides that homeowners are voting members of the community land trust.
 
Furthermore, whenever a homeowner wishes to sell her or his home, the ground lease protects the future affordability of the property in two ways. First, a provision in the lease ensures that the house is sold to another homebuyer who is income-qualified. Secondly, a resale formula allows the homeowner to participate in the equity appreciation of the property by giving the homeowner a pre-agreed upon percentage of the net proceeds at the time of resale.   This is one of the reasons it is called a community land trust; each homeowner agrees to pass the benefit of affordability on to the next homeowner. In so doing, the property remains affordable to future generations of homebuyers in the community.