About Us

A Community Land Trust (CLT) is a non-profit organization that preserves the affordability of land for community uses, including housing, urban agriculture, and commercial space, using a long-term ground lease. 

The Madison Area CLT has over 60 permanently-affordable homes in our land trust, which remain affordable for low-income and first-time homebuyers over generations. An initial public subsidy makes each home affordable for families making 80% of the area median income or lower. 

MACLT owns the land under the home, and the homeowner leases the land from the CLT using a 98-year renewable ground lease. The homeowner agrees to pay it forward to the next buyer by selling the house at an affordable price based on a resale formula, and MACLT facilitates the sale of the home with an equity-focused policy for choosing the next buyer based on need. MACLT uses a resale formula, which governs the resale price. The resale formula is:

Resale price = Initial purchase price + 1% simple interest per year home owned + Qualified Capital Improvements. 

With each sale MACLT works and facilitates the sale and, with the use of our equity focused buyer selection process, MACLT connects those most in need of a home to the opportunity to purchase. MACLT also owns and preserves non-housing land at Troy Gardens, including of a large community garden, organic urban farm, and restored urban prairie, managed by Rooted.

Our Impact

We have used public dollars from the City of Madison to preserve affordability for over 60 homes in Madison, but the impact goes beyond the first buyers of those homes. MACLT has enabled over 120 low-income families to access affordable homes. We have already doubled the impact of public dollars invested into the CLT, and this impact will grow with time.

MACLT homes the last few years have sold between $157,000 and $210,000, while the average home sale in Madison in 2022 was priced at $425,000! CLTs stabilize home values over time so that future generations get a chance to live in desirable neighborhoods as prices go up.

Our Applicant Selection Criteria uses equity-based measures to prioritize those who have been systematically excluded from buying homes. We have been successful in targeting buyers considered “very low income,” whose incomes are below 50% of the county median income

Our current homeowners have an average of $58,000 saved in equity in their homes and they will generate additional modest returns on their investment when they sell. The average renter only saves about $100 per year and our program allows those who have only been able to rent a chance to build wealth through homeownership.

MACLT staff support long-term success of our homeowners by helping them access grants and other resources, partnering with lenders to offer fair lending options, and answering any other questions in the homeownership journey.

CLT homeowners’ foreclosure rate is 1/10th of the conventional homeowners’ foreclosure rate. After the 2008 foreclosure crisis, only 0.46% of CLT homeowners across the US went into foreclosure, compared to the conventional ownership foreclosure rate of 4.63%. While many low-income homeowners in the conventional market lost their homes and their accumulated equity during the crisis, CLT homeowners stayed in their homes and gained a modest return. CLTs protect low-income homeowners, stabilize home values, and provide housing security during crisis periods

CLT residents most often report gratitude for housing security, stability, and autonomy over the home as their primary motivation for buying a CLT home. Our homeowners have predictable, low mortgage payments and are not subject to rent increases or non-renewals that renters often deal with.

The CLT model is versatile! CLTs can use a ground lease to keep land affordable in perpetuity for any use that benefits the community. MACLT uses a ground lease to protect open space at Troy Gardens, including 26 acres of restored prairie, community gardens, and an organic farm, managed by Rooted.

Map of Community Land Trusts and Nonprofit Shared Equity Homeownership Programs in the United States

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