Resale restrictions give buyers access to below-market prices
A CLT measure of success is different from the general market, Lewis said. "It isn't how many people get into homes. The measure of success is the homeowner.
CLT works with people on the front end. You just can't get a mortgage -- it has to be approved. Secondly, when people are delinquent, CLT finds out and works with them, developing options and understanding the situation. Success is based on where the homeowner ends up."
The City of Lakes Community Land Trust (CLCLT) in Minneapolis has purchased 130 properties since being formed in 2004. It has had only three foreclosures to date.
As can be expected, the housing bust has turned into a great opportunity for CLCLT. With houses cheaper, more people can enter the program. "We have been able to help people that we would not have been able to help four years ago," said Staci Horowitz, CLCLT's program director.
CLCLT focuses on helping individuals and families at 80 percent or below the Minneapolis area's median income through what it calls a buyer-initiated program.
"The homebuyers select the brokers they want to work with and then we have a meeting with them to talk through the parameters of the program," said Horowitz. "Part of the reason we have that meeting is that the broker needs to have an understanding of what the program is about."
To which, Horowitz added, "For a majority of Realtors, especially after they have gone through a transaction with us, it gives them an opportunity to have a larger customer base because they have a way to help individuals who they might not have been able to help before."
One other benefit for the Realtors and the general market: "Over 60 percent of CLT households eventually go into the general market. We are talking about a housing market solution," said Lewis.
Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer in Arizona and author of several books. His latest book, "Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis," is now available for sale on Amazon.com.
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