Creating affordable homes and
strengthening communities through the
wise stewardship of land and resources.
sage land trust house

The Dallmann family purchased their Acquistion Rehab Land Trust home in 2009.

How to Buy a Home with the Land Trust

Understanding the Community Land Trust


The Community Land Trust (CLT) model of affordable housing was created over thirty years ago by the Institute for Community Economics in response to the rising costs of housing, the limited space for new construction, a growing number of abandoned buildings and an aging housing stock in eastern U.S. cities.

Currently there are over 5,000 community land trust homes across the country. CLTs nationwide also provide housing through affordable rental properties and housing co-ops, while developing community facilities, preserving open space and working with other community groups to promote economic opportunities. As the number of CLTs nationwide has more than doubled in the last ten years, this model is creatively and cooperatively fulfilling a need for permanently affordable housing in this country.


The purpose of a Community Land Trust is to provide access to land and housing to people who might otherwise be denied access; to increase long-term community control of neighborhood resources; to empower residents through involvement and participation in the organization; and to preserve the affordability of housing permanently.

Organizational Structure

Though the program specifics vary among different CLTs, the basic model is the same.

How Our Program Works

Through our program, lower income home-buyers receive significant down-payment and rehab assistance to purchase new or existing homes in Duluth.  In exchange for this assistance, Northern Communities Land Trust maintains ownership of the land, which homeowners lease for a small fee.  When homeowners move, they agree to pass on the benefits they received by selling their home below market price to another low-income, Land Trust qualified buyer.

When Land Trust homeowners sell their homes they receive the amount they originally paid for the house, plus thirty percent of how much it appreciated in value during the time they owned it. That new amount is essentially what the next buyer pays.

Because of the Land Trust resale formula, the organization’s initial investment (in the form of down-payment and rehab assistance) is recycled and stays with the home every time it is sold.  To date, Northern Communities Land Trust has resold 35+ homes and recycled over 1,700,000 in subsidies – meaning we did not have to seek any additional funding when those Land Trust homes resold to make them affordable. 

Next... Qualifying for the Program

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Northern Communities Land Trust   l   206 W. 4th St., Suite 201  l   Duluth, MN 55806

Phone: (218) 727-5372  l   Fax: (218) 727-3646  l   E-Mail: