Founded by community activists in 1973, the Northern California Land Trust (NCLT) is a community-based non-profit committed to making homes and community facilities permanently affordable through the community land trust (CLT) model. NCLT envisions a future where safe, high quality homes in healthy, sustainable communities are permanently affordable to residents of Northern California, regardless of socio-economic status, geographic location, race, religion, gender, orientation or physical ability. We believe that making community lands and real estate sustainable, permanently affordable, and accessible to all individuals, families and the communities they are a part of will:
- Enable employees, especially critical members of the local community such as teachers and first responders, to live where they work;
- Allow businesses to attract and retain well-qualified candidates locally;
- Reduce urban sprawl and its associated problems for the benefit of the entire region.
With like-minded groups who support the CLT model, NCLT strives to revitalize healthy, sustainable communities and permanently increase the number of affordable homes for low- and moderate-income people in Northern California who have no access to the traditional, speculative housing market. NCLT executes our mission by providing housing services, community development, and consulting/training services. We revitalize or develop properties (on our own or with local builders and funders) and then sell the homes at below-market cost to residents who have been trained by NCLT for home ownership responsibilities.
Unlike most other affordable housing developers, NCLT retains the rights to the land below the house to ensure that the home is resold at affordable, below-market rates to each subsequent homebuyer, guaranteeing low-cost housing in perpetuity. Specifically, NCLT holds land in a community land trust (CLT) model through a 198 year land lease, while selling the homes, condominiums or coops on it to low income households. Through the land lease, the CLT limits the appreciation of the home value, keeping it permanently affordable. NCLT allows its property owners to increase sales prices by the increase in area median income (AMI) in the Bay Area. This means that a home purchased today by a person earning 65% of the area median income will still be affordable to a household earning 65% of the area median income in 10 or 20 years. At the same time, CLT homeowners will still see a return on their investment as the median income in the Bay Area has increased between 5% and 13% per year over the past 2 decades.
These permanent and easily enforceable resale restrictions mean that every subsidy dollar put into NCLT ownership housing is reused (and increases in value, relative to the rising cost of housing) each time the housing is resold. Thus grantors and governmental agencies do not have to re-subsidize the housing to maintain its affordability, and NCLT acts as the monitor, eliminating oversight costs for local housing agencies. This way, communities can build up a stock of permanently affordable housing in a very cost effective way. At NCLT:
- We believe land is a public trust that should serve people, communities and the environment, regardless of the wealth or income of affected people or communities.
- We are dedicated to promoting and using the CLT model to help foster sustainable communities through housing, community gardens, affordable business, contributing segments like artists and other ways. •
- We support bringing control over community assets back into the community, especially to those often excluded from the traditional, speculative real estate market. We believe that without equal access to land, the community is shattered and fragmented by gentrification, super-inflationary land values and speculation.
NCLT has been involved in dozens of community development projects, has developed more than 165 units of housing, and has more than 35 new units in process. Our portfolio of properties includes several types of properties within the Housing Ladder, including homeownership and rental units. NCLT has also developed a homeless transitional house, affordable office space for nonprofits and small businesses, community gardens and an organic farm. To meet the needs of specific housing project types, NCLT designs and implements training programs. We have, for example, a training program for our limited-equity cooperative owners, limited-appreciation condominium owners, as well as single-family CLT homeowners. We work in partnership with other financial literacy and education programs to help purchasers be ready to buy when a unit is available. The objective of these programs is to give residents the information and skills they need in areas like planning reserve budgets, bookkeeping, home maintenance, earthquake safety, meeting skills and conflict resolution.