Download Preservation of Affordable Homeownership: A Continuum of Strategies Written by Rick Jacobus and Jeff Lubel.
Published by the Center for Housing Policy of the National Housing Conference.


In recognition of the significant benefits of homeownership for families and the communities in which they live, many cities, counties and states have adopted policies that seek to increase residents’ access to affordable homeownership opportunities. This paper examines the range of different policy options that communities have adopted to reduce the cost of homeownership, with a particular focus on the effectiveness of each option in preserving affordable homeownership opportunities over time.

The focus of this review on the preservation of affordable homeownership grows out of the collective experience of numerous communities around the country with sharply rising home prices over the past five to ten years. As many communities have learned the hard way, homes that they helped make affordable through an initial downpayment grant or other assistance often have become unaffordable when sold to the next family. With the amount of subsidy needed to bring homeownership within reach of working families growing exponentially, communities have struggled with the question of how to ensure that the public’s investments in homeownership keep pace with the market. This review provides an overview of the range of mechanisms that local governments use to ensure that housing funds invested in affordable homeownership today are able to serve additional families into the future. In general, this is accomplished either through resale restrictions that preserve the affordability of specific assisted units or through deferred loans that allow the locality to capture a portion of home price appreciation at the time that assisted units are sold that can then be used to help subsequent buyers purchase homes of their choice.