Community Housing Trust

As for-sale housing in the area became more and more expensive, it became clear that housing affordability issues are here to stay.

Owning a home can be a pathway to financial stability, but it is a dream that’s out of reach for many people with modest incomes.  The Community Housing Trust (CHT) is a program that helps make homeownership achievable and affordable for the long term.

Since 2009, all of INHS’s for-sale homes have been part of our Community Housing Trust.  The CHT is a “shared equity” program:  the homebuyer buys only the house, and the Trust owns the land.  The homeowner has a 99-year lease on the land under their home, and they pay a small monthly land rent. 

This ownership structure greatly reduces the purchase price of the house, so the homebuyer needs a smaller down payment and a smaller mortgage.  INHS can usually provide grants or forgivable loans to further help with the purchase and closing costs.  And because most CHT homes receive a special tax assessment, the property taxes can be substantially lower than a market-rate house.

In exchange for this assistance, CHT homeowners agree to limit the amount of profit they can take from their homes when they are sold.  The increase in value of CHT homes is capped at 2% per year, which enables CHT homeowners to build wealth in their properties but still keeps the homes affordable for future CHT buyers.  This “permanent affordability” is a reason that housing trust programs like the CHT are growing all around the country!

The CHT includes both newly constructed homes and rehabilitated existing homes.  For both, INHS has extremely high standards for quality and energy efficiency.  Our new homes are built to EnergyStar and LEED standards, and existing homes are retro-fitted to make them sustainable and energy efficient.

As of 2020, INHS has made 59 homes permanently affordable through the Community Housing Trust, with four currently under construction and 21 more in development.  For more information, contact the CHT Manager, CHT@ithacanhs.org.

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