By: Mia Watson

September 2, 2021

On Monday, the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) Board of Commissioners awarded $425,000 in state housing tax credits for homeownership development projects. Once sold to investors, the credits will yield nearly $2 million in equity for construction. The projects will create new, high-quality homes affordable to low- and moderate-income Vermont homebuyers, which are virtually unavailable in Vermont’s in private housing market.

The Board awarded housing tax credits for three new homeownership projects developed by Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) and Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity. CHT and Habitat have previously collaborated on 17 homes. The sites are purchased by Habitat, which provides construction oversight and identifies potential future homeowners. CHT provides project financing and homebuyer education. All three projects also received funding from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB).

Manufactured home

The homes will be sold to low and moderate-income buyers who will use the equity as a down payment which will lower monthly mortgage payments. When buyers are eventually ready to move, the home is resold through CHT to another moderate-income buyer. The original homeowner makes a small profit and the perpetual affordability of the home is ensured.

Projects include 1891 North Avenue in Burlington’s New North End. It will include a newly constructed duplex and a single-family home on a single site. All three units will be 3-bedroom homes. The homes will sell for between $151,500 and $160,000, affordable to households earning 48% of area median income (AMI). The project location is immediately adjacent to the Green Mountain Transit bus stop at Northgate Apartments. Construction has already begun on the project, with completion anticipated by June 2022.

At 92 Irish Hill Road in Shelburne, CHT and Habitat will develop two new 3-bedroom townhouse style homes. The site is located a short distance from Shelburne Village and is walkable to a Green Mountain Transit stop and the LaPlatte River Nature Park. The homes will be sold at a net sales price of $145,000, affordable to households earning as low as 50% AMI. The project is expected to be completed in December 2022.

A third project will build a duplex with 3-bedroom units at Clearview Estates in Milton. The site is less than a mile from Milton’s Village Center. Clearview Estates is being developed by Sterling Homes and will consist of 34 family homes and five duplexes, with all the other homes being developed as market rate homeownership. Eligible buyers will be able to purchase homes in the CHT/Habitat duplex for  $126,500, affordable to families at 41% of area median income (AMI). Project completion is anticipated by June 2022.

Champlain Housing Trust also received tax credits for approximately 35 new homes through its Manufactured Housing Down Payment Loan Program. The statewide program provides 0% interest second mortgages to help borrowers place a new traditional Energy Star manufactured home on owned land or in a manufactured home community. The program also serves households looking to replace old manufactured homes with a highly efficient modular home like Vermod. Since 2012, CHT has served 230 households and 489 individuals, in  every Vermont county. The median income of borrowers is $45,350. With 76% of households either living on land they own or in a non-profit owned manufactured home community, the program offers a sustainable path to long-term affordable homeownership.

 The Board also awarded additional state tax credits to previously awarded projects at Butternut Grove in Winooski (a homeownership project formerly referred to as Mallets Bay Avenue), Tuttle Block in Rutland, and Clark Canal Phelps in Windsor/Brattleboro. The three projects encountered unexpected delays and increased costs due to the pandemic, which the additional tax credits will help alleviate.

Pictured: Vermod high efficiency modular home.