What is Area Median Income?

Area Median Income (AMI) for short is a figure that is updated annually by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and it is indexed by family size. The Pittsburgh Area’s Area Median Income includes all of Allegheny, Butler, Beaver, Westmoreland, Washington, and Fayette Counties. The chart below shows exactly what AMI is for our area in 2017.

Household Size

1 2 3 4 5
50% AMI $25,450 $29,050 $32,700 $36,300 $39,250
80% AMI $40,700 $46,500 $52,300 $58,100 $62,750
100% AMI $50,850 $58,100 $65,350 $72,600 $78,430

How is CLT homeownership different from market rate homeownership?

CLT home ownership is very similar to market rate home ownership. Home owners build equity, make their mortgage payments, and are responsible for property taxes. They can use their yards as they wish, and can make aesthetic modifications to the homes.

The difference is that CLT homeownership involves a ground lease. The ground lease includes a resale formula, which sets a cap for the maximum price the home can sell for in the future, and also requires owner-occupancy. This means that the home cannot be leased out – the homeowner must live in the house for at least 10 months out of the year, and it can’t be an income-producing property. The ground lease also requires that if the homeowner wants to make any modifications that will increase the size of the house, they let the CLT know before beginning construction.

Can CLT homebuyers modify their homes?

Yes. Interior and exterior modifications are allowed. CLT homeowners own their homes and con do most of what a conventional homeowner can do, with the stipulation that they must report structural changes to the CLT.

If these are affordable houses, does that mean they are low quality?

The Lawrenceville CLT is committed to the idea that a house doesn’t need to be expensive to be high quality. The CLT houses are built beyond Energy Star sustainability standards, which reduces their environmental impact and saves the homebuyer money by reducing energy usage. They are also designed to fit the neighborhood’s existing character, with respect to the 10th Ward plan’s design guidelines, and will not look out of place.

Do these houses have garages?

None of the houses have dedicated off-street parking. No original houses in the the neighborhood have garages, and these homes are designed to fit with the neighborhood context. In addition, cutting into the curb to create a private driveway to access a garage eliminates a public street parking space. Given this neighborhood context, and the bike and public transit accessibility in Lawrenceville, it made more sense to use the space on these lots to provide each house with a backyard instead of a private parking space.

How does the Lawrenceville CLT acquire property?

The CLT acquires vacant or abandoned property through Lawrenceville Corporation’s land recycling program, which relies heavily on the City’s property reserve and treasurer’s sale. The CLT has also received in-kind gifts, and LC has purchased properties to renovate.

How have CLTs impacted other communities?

CLTs exist in 45 states throughout the U.S. Nationwide data shows that 70% of CLT homebuyers go on to buy a market rate home for their next home, and CLT homebuyers default on their mortgages about 10 times less frequently than market rate buyers.

Can CLT homebuyers bequeath their homes?

Yes. The ground lease allows the homes to be fully inheritable. Income restrictions don’t apply to inheritors, but the person who inherits the hours is still bound to the maximum sale price stipulated by the ground lease.

Why can’t CLT homebuyers rent out or Airbnb their homes?

This is a subsidized home ownership opportunity, intended to provide residences for people who would not otherwise be able to own a home. Rental and Airbnb properties are not subject to the same affordability rules that CLT homes have. Having renters paying to live in the houses would not address our neighborhood affordability issue, and would defeat the purpose of providing affordable housing.