While INHS was able to secure development subsidies and down payment assistance to help many people, these scarce resources were becoming harder to obtain. So, after thinking about this in the long term way, INHS began selling its new homes using a Community Housing Trust.
The Community Housing Trust (CHT) is a program that helps people with modest incomes buy their first homes. It reduces the barriers to home ownership by keeping the purchase price lower, thereby reducing the cash needed for a down payment and closing costs. The CHT uses subsidies from state or federal programs to significantly reduce the purchase price and operating costs of CHT homes, making them extremely affordable. By using the Trust, INHS is able to keep the homes affordable not just for the first buyer but for all future buyers as well.
Most home owners buy both their house and the land underneath it. This gives them the full rights and responsibilities of ownership, but often at a very high cost.
A CHT homebuyer buys only the house. The land is leased from INHS under a very affordable 99-year lease. This reduces the initial purchase price because the land is not included. More importantly, subsidies provided by INHS are used to significantly lower the purchase price of the house. CHT homes are sold at prices that are up to 50% below market value.
The CHT program has four important goals:
- To help renters buy well-built, affordable housing that allows them to build wealth.
- To ensure that CHT homes remain permanently affordable to future generations of home buyers.
- To maximize the use of the valuable housing subsidies that make CHT homes affordable.
- To build high quality, energy-efficient homes that will be assets for the community.
In exchange for the opportunity to buy a home at an affordable price, each CHT home buyer agrees to limit the amount of profit that she or he can take from the home when it is sold. If the resale price rises moderately, a CHT buyer keeps all of the increase. However, when the resale price rise rapidly, the CHT buyer keeps only a portion of the increase and the remainder stays in the house, ensuring it remains affordable.
INHS’s CHT homeowners are part of a growing national movement to create permanently affordable housing. All homes in the CHT program are built to high standards that make them energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable. INHS builds sustainable homes that are EnergyStar and LEED-certified, ensuring low utility and maintenance costs.
As of 2019, INHS has made 70 homes (and counting!) permanently affordable through the Community Housing Trust.