Building Permanently Affordable Housing in Madison

This article originally appeared in the January 2004 Issue of the REALTOR® Review
1nLike good schools, a clean environment and a healthy economy, affordable housing is a critical component to the quality of life in South Central Wisconsin. Beginning with this issue of the REALTOR® Review, it is our goal to feature organizations active in our market areas with the provision of affordable housing opportunities. Below is an article from Greg Rosenberg, Executive Director of the Madison Area Community Land Trust.

The Madison Area Community Land Trust
By Greg Rosenberg, Executive Director

It is no news to anybody that housing prices have moved beyond the reach of low to moderate income households in Dane County. With housing prices continuing to increase 8-10% annually, it will take a variety of approaches if we are to preserve the dream of home ownership for all.

The Madison Area Community Land Trust (MACLT) was founded in 1991 to create a stock of permanently affordable housing in Dane County. It sprang from the vision of Sol Levin, who wanted to make sure that his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren would be able to afford to own a home in the community he loved so much. Sol played a major role in numerous affordable housing initiatives over a period of four decades, and dedicated his retirement years to the establishment of the MACLT.

Under the land trust model, there are three key mechanisms used to create permanently affordable housing. First, the land trust sells houses but not the land, and rents the land to the homeowner under a long-term ground lease (98+ years) at half the cost of conventional land ownership. Second, the land trust sells all housing at below-market rate prices. And third, homeowners agree to “pass along the good deal” by limiting the amount of appreciation they get at the time they resell their home, thereby making it affordable to future generations of homeowners.

To date, the MACLT has built and/or renovated 23 units of housing ­ and we are poised to triple our inventory of land trust houses over the next two to three years. On the north side of Madison, the MACLT will be building 41 units of housing over the next several years, as part of two development projects that were planned in collaboration with north side residents. The first is Camino del Sol, a subdivision on Troy Drive, where we will be building nine single-family homes and two zero-lot line duplex units over the next twelve months. The second is Troy Gardens, a 31-acre project combining community gardens, a working farm, a prairie restoration project, and 30 units of mixed-income housing, where we hope to break ground before the end of 2004.

We are pleased to be partnering with the REALTORS® Association of South Central Wisconsin on our Camino del Sol project, which will help the MACLT get the word out to the widest range of potential homebuyers. And we are particularly grateful for the assistance of Al Lynk and the Stark Company REALTORS®, for all the help they are providing in marketing these homes.

For more information about our Camino del Sol project, and land trust homes in general, contact Al Lynk at 608.831.6309 ext. 243.

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