VHFA joined housing partners and residents on September 8 to celebrate the completion of Butternut Grove Condominiums in the heart of Winooski. Developed by Champlain Housing Trust (CHT), the newly constructed building offers 20 shared equity homes starting at $143,500 for a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath unit and up to $184,500 for a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath unit. All 20 condominiums have been purchased or are currently under contract and are affordable to buyers earning 100% of area median income, approximately $96,000 for a family of three in Chittenden County.
“These homes were built with more than concrete, wood, and steel. They were built with partnerships and through dedicated community development specialists leveraging state and federal resources in a way that has not been done in Vermont before, “ remarked Maura Collins, VHFA Executive Director.
The partnerships started when the City of Winooski donated the land on which the homes are sited to CHT, which brought the overall cost of the $7.8 million project down. Winooski Mayor Kristine Lott opened the celebration by acknowledging that the city is located within Ndakinna (in-DAH-kee-NAH), the homeland of the Western Abenaki people, and is named after the original Abenaki word ‘Winoskitekw’, or ‘onion land river’, in relation to the Winooski River in Vermont.
VHFA provided $1.3 million of state affordable housing tax credit equity to the development. Additional funding and loans came from Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, NeighborWorks America, and Housing Partnership Network. In addition, $1.5 million came from the New Market Tax Credit, which was used for the first time in Vermont for a homeownership project. Finally, downpayment assistance was offered by CHT as part of its Homeownership Equity Program, available to buyers who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color.
The perpetual affordability of the homes comes at a time when home prices and mortgage interest rates are rising, making homeownership even more out of reach for so many. “They could not come at a better time,” Collins exclaimed. “The region’s housing market has hit new affordability challenges in recent months. The median price of homes sold in Winooski climbed to $390,000 in the first 6 months of 2022 putting home ownership even further out of reach of many residents.”
Butternut Grove homes are located near jobs, schools, community and health services, as well as recreational spaces, making this neighborhood well-sited for people to put down roots.