New London — The Southeastern Connecticut Community Land Trust is marketing its first affordable home to qualified buyers over the next two months.
The price of the two-family home at 34-36 Prest Street is $128,000 for buyers who fit the 2019 HUD income limits for New London.
The stone house, built in 1870, has two apartments — a one-bedroom on the lower level and a three-bedroom on the two upper floors.
The land trust has a selection process for applicants that includes filling out a program application, obtaining a pre-approval letter stating income qualifications, verification of first-time-buyer status or not owning a home in the last three years, a membership in the land trust and verification of attendance at one land trust meeting in the last year.
The selection criteria include income level, housing expense compared to household income, risk of displacement.
Even though the new homeowner will own the house, the land itself is bound by a ground lease covenant that ensures the house will retain its affordable status.
“It’s taking the public investment and safeguarding that — so we continue with a ground lease that assures the affordability is durable,” Rain Daugherty, Executive Director the land trust, who gave a tour of the space on Friday. “Otherwise the deed restriction expires in 30 or 50 years and if there’s a foreclosure, it wipes away those restrictions completely.”
The CLT structure safeguards the first right of refusal so the affordable component remains with the house and land. When the owner sells the house, the price increase is restricted to what is deemed the affordable range, according to a formula.
Renovation work on the house included a complete overhaul of the kitchen, as well as refinishing floors throughout. Daugherty said the community raised about $20,000 and the land trust received two grants totalling just under $20,000. One was a grant to make the house lead safe. The other was “a housing conservation grant that took care of many code and health and safety issues,” she said.
The house is the land trust’s first affordable housing project and the trust also works with farmers to secure affordable farmland and assure farmland succession.
“The vision is to put people into affordable housing but we’re also working with a farmer co-op,” said Sharmaine Gregor, vice president of the land trust board, who joined Daugherty in giving the house tour on Friday.
The organization started about five years ago with small-group meetings organized by Facebook posts and had its first official annual meeting in June.
“We’re definitely sailing the ship while building it,” said Daugherty.
For more information, call 860-772-4012 or go to sectclt.org.