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Buying a house without having to buy the land makes makes home ownership more affordable

A one story single family home with a big drive way, green yard and beautiful live oak tree
Regan McCarthy
WFSU Public Media
This home is part of the Community Land Trust program. The land is owned by the trust making it less expensive for a family to purchase the house.

The first house built as part of the Community Land Trust program in Tallahassee is nearly complete. All it needs now is a bit of landscaping.

The program aims to help lower housing costs by building homes on land owned by the trust and selling them to low-income buyers.

The new house on Eddie Road is a one-story, single-family home with a garage, front porch and wood floors.

“And as you can see it’s new construction," said Executive Director of the Tallahassee Lenders Consortium, Karen Miller.

The Community Land Trust is a partnership between Miller’s organization and the Tallahassee and Leon County governments. It helps make houses more affordable by building them on trust-owned land, then leasing that land to the home owner. For the Eddie Road House, the land will be rented to the home owner for $25 a month.

"How that impacts a homeowner is that you actually purchase the structure—the building that’s on the property. The land belongs to the land trust and the land is rented to the homeowner on a monthly basis," Miller said. "Everybody can’t afford to buy a home fee simple, so this is just another way of keeping the price of home ownership down.”

The idea is when a person doesn’t have to pay for the land the house sits on, the cost to buy a home is reduced.

The county donated land for the program and the city has given funds that will be used for down payment assistance and to subsidize construction.

The home comes with a 99-year lease agreement for the land. It’s renewable and inheritable, so a family can pass their home down to their children if they choose. But if they sell, Miller said the home must be sold to a buyer who meets certain low income qualifications.

“When they sell their home we want them to be able to pay it forward to another family that could not be able to afford to buy a home with the land," Miller said.

The program will also offer support for the homeowners to help them focus on wealth building so if they choose to sell they'll be ready to use the equity from their home to purchase a house outside of the program.

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Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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