Land Trust program makes owners out of renters

Published March 22, 2006 ~ By David F. Ashton

Explaining how first-time home-buyers can benefit from land trust programs is Kelly Caldwell, speaking to a group at the Holgate Street Library. David F. Ashton

Apartment dwelling families can easily pay $1,000 per month in rent. With houses costing upwards of $200,000, home ownership today seems, for many, an impossible dream.

However, one program, Portland Community Land Trust, is making homeowners out of renters.

Using this program, the Land Trust takes ownership of the land on which the house sits. “This reduces the purchase price to the new owner of the home by up to a third,” explained Kelly Caldwell to a group at Holgate St. Library. “We are helping families move into homes today ‚Äì and at the same time, creating a base of permanently affordable homes.”

Owners of a home purchased with help of the Portland Community Land Trust get their full equity, plus a portion of the appreciation value of the home when they sell it. The balance of the appreciated value returns to the Land Trust, allowing them reduce the selling price to the next buyer.

“In outer Southeast Portland,” Caldwell continued, “we have a buyer-initiated program. At the time of closing, we bring in funds to reduce the amount of the buyer‚Äôs mortgage.”

Comparing a land trust home sale to a conventional property, Caldwell informed the group their rate of return would be a bit lower. “Yet, the profit one could realize is still a significant amount of money, considering one gets no return from paying rent. If one can‚Äôt qualify financially to get into a home using conventional strategies, this makes sense.”

Interested? Learn more about Portland Community Land Trust by calling (503) 493-0293 or go online to

2006, David F. Ashton, East PDX News

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