For the third consecutive year, a team of Tufts UEP Field Projects students partnered with the Greater Boston Community Land Trust Network (GBCLTN). This year, the GBCLTN Field Projects team focused on understanding the challenges and opportunities for private homeowners to transfer their property into permanent affordability.
The project drew inspiration from the challenges faced by the Chinatown Community Land Trust, a key member of the Greater Boston CLT Network. Since its founding in 2015, the Chinatown CLT has faced severe challenges in acquiring land due to the intensely competitive urban land market in Chinatown. The lack of vacant and public land for acquisition has forced the Chinatown CLT to seek alternative strategies, which has in turn led them to explore opportunities for existing properties to be transferred into permanent affordability.
The report seeks to answer two main research questions:
- What are the barriers for homeowners interested in transferring their homes into affordability?
- How can GBCLTN support the development of tools, programs, policies and partnerships to encourage the transfer of homes into long-term affordability?
The researchers conducted interviews with homeowners and local housing experts to understand some of the barriers homeowners face in transferring their homes into permanent affordability. For one, the intense market pressure encourages home sales to occur quickly and at steep prices. Investors with deep pockets are often able to pay upfront in cash and even above market value. In addition to the barriers caused by market pressures, homeowners often lack access to information about CLTs or how to transfer or donate one’s home.
Graphic: Affordability Options for Homeowners
The report concludes with a breadth of recommendations that offer a range of potential impact. Some of these recommendations include
- Support for housing tax policies such as a Donation Tax Credit, luxury tax, speculation tax, and/or real estate transfer tax;
- Down payment assistance for potential homeowners in exchange for the home being placed into a community land trust or for the CLT to receive a right to first purchase;
- Monitoring deed restriction Ensuring long-term housing affordability by monitoring and enforcing deed restrictions; and
- Offering classes on shared equity homeownership models.
For more details, read the full report: Pathways to Transfer Private Housing to Permanent Affordability.