To say that Fauquier County has a housing affordability crisis is uncontroversial.
A review of the most recent sales data from Realtor.com highlights the affordability challenge, with the median sale price of a home in Fauquier County remaining above $500,000 as of August 2022. the current inventory (as of September 19, 2022) finds only 16 properties available for purchase priced below $350,000, including 9 single-family homes (including 3 requiring major renovation). With most new developments in the vicinity “starting in the $500,000s”, there is no indication that these price pressures will improve any time soon.
Rental options are just as difficult. If you want to live within 20 miles of Warrenton, you can find 33 rentals for less than $1600 per month on Craigslist – with only 4 units offering more than one bedroom. And even if you find a rental available, you’ll likely find yourself among a group of applicants desperately trying to find accommodation.
With a limited inventory of affordable housing available, individuals and families are left with few options. Are you moving your family further? Are you moving into a smaller space than necessary? Or are you paying more – like 33% of all Virginians who spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs, or 7% who pay more than 50%?
There are no quick fixes or easy solutions to solving housing affordability – but breaking away from using the same strategies that put us in our current situation is an important first step.
In early September, Fauquier Habitat for Humanity “stepped out” of its traditional homeownership model by placing its first home with the Virginia Statewide Community Land Trust (VSCLT). In doing so, Fauquier Habitat guarantees that every home it builds will be continuously affordable for the lifetime of the home.
As a founding member of the Virginia Statewide Community Land Trust, Fauquier Habitat for Humanity has long envisioned a future where we could expand the incredible work we do to provide deeply affordable property for families in need. VSCLT’s partnership allows us to do just that. From now on, this house will not only serve this first family, but each subsequent family who buys it will receive an affordable price. That’s the power of CLTs.
VSCLT is an innovative model and the only Statewide Community Land Trust (CLT) in the United States that primarily works with Habitat for Humanity affiliates to create permanently affordable property. In this case, FHFH built an affordable home in the town of Remington and sold it to a qualified Habitat partner family. VSCLT, a statewide nonprofit, supports FHFH in using the CLT legal structure to make the home permanently affordable. The end result is a home that will be sold affordably to a person or family earning between 30% and 60% of the area’s median income.
Amelie Rives, Executive Director of VSCLT, highlighted the essential role of the land trust in high-cost communities. “Homeownership is the American dream and for too many in our community that dream cannot be realized. Inflation, rising interest rates and limited housing stock have made housing extremely unaffordable. This VSCLT home is an innovative approach to creating and maintaining affordable property even in our most cherished communities. »
The partnership between Fauquier Habitat and VSCLT enhances the work already done by Habitat to connect families to opportunities for wealth creation through homeownership by amplifying this impact for families through the ongoing affordability of home for current and future generations.
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