Lincoln County Land Trust Builds Momentum with Two More Homes
Four years and three homes; Lincoln Community Land Trust is creating affordable homes for Lincoln County working families at a growing rate and trying to catch up with growing need. The organization, founded in 2008, and it’s all volunteer board are spending their time getting two more homes ready and available for sale to Lincoln County’s working families.
On November 1st at 5:30 PM, the public is invited to attend the open house and ribbon cutting of the land trust’s second home coming for sale in November. The event will held at 4690 John’s Avenue in Neotsu. LCLT invites everyone to attend and show their support for homes that Lincoln County’s workforce can afford.
The Land Trust renovated and sold its first home in 2011. One year later, the home on scenic Johns Avenue is the second LCLT home. The cozy, cottage style home has an upstairs with two bedrooms, one bath and an basement with additional multipurpose rooms. The home has been fully renovated and includes a view of Devils Lake. A third home, a new construction, is already in the works. The home will be located next door to the first LCLT home sold in fall of 2011. The new 1,200 square foot, will have three bedrooms – two baths and a single car garage. It will be Energy Star certified giving the homeowner savings on their utilities due to an energy-efficient design. Central Coast Construction Inc. of Lincoln City was selected for the job after a competitive bid process through a two county area.
The trust serves those families working in Lincoln County with incomes between 60-120% of Lincoln County Median Family Income, ($21,000-47,000 for single heads of household or $31,000-67,000 for a family of four). The trust supports interested homeowners with pre- purchase homebuyer education, and orientations to homeownership and finding ways to hang on to hard earned dollars for their future.
The LCLT considers household expenses over 30% of gross income each month to be unaffordable. “It’s hard to make ends meet, let alone invest in your future when all your income is going to the roof over your head,” says Benjamin Baggett, Director. “Since housing and housing related expenses make up the greatest percentage of a household’s expenses, bringing down that cost alone can generate big savings for families.” “Affordable homeownership is a large contributor to a healthy and vibrant Lincoln County economy.”
Several factors drive high home prices on the coast. Land is in limited supply and existing homes are quickly sold to those looking to move to the coast; some year round, many during the sunny summer months. This creates a high priced housing market with little to choose from for those who work here. “The lack of affordable homes for hardworking families has severe impacts on the economic health and diversity of our communites,” said Bill Hall, county commissioner and LCLT board chair. “The average nurse, teacher or construction worker can’t afford a median priced home in the county right now.”
The trust intervenes in these high market prices by acquiring the land and instead of selling it, asks the homeowner to enter a 99-year inheritable lease for $50/month to enjoy uninterrupted rights to the land. That drastically reduces the cost of the home where the land is normally the greatest expense to the homebuyer. And it doesn’t’ stop there. These homes are intended to be affordable for generations to come. In exchange for this opportunity to buy a home at such a low home price, the homeowner agrees that if they ever decide to sell the home they will help the next buyer with a low price by keeping it not more than 2% appreciation per year. It may not be so noticeable now, but when the market comes back these homes will remain affordable compared to the one next door that skyrockets.
There are pros and cons the land trust model, and it is a very good option for many; especially those looking to own rather than rent or those who look to ease into homeownership create savings, build credit and one day move into a market home. It is another affordable housing option that the Lincoln Community Land Trust provides that could make the difference in someone’s ability to live affordably in their own hometown or the town they wish to call home.