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City of College Park Celebrates First Sale in New Homeownership Program

By Maryland Today Staff

A new program that provides a path to affordable homeownership in College Park for middle- and low-income residents celebrated its first home sale Wednesday.

The $15 million College Park Community Preservation Trust, a program of the College Park City-University Partnership, purchased and resold the house to its longtime renter in the Calvert Hills neighborhood, as part of a commitment to bolster affordable housing opportunities.

Created in May as one of 15 Affordable Housing Land Trusts in Maryland, the program buys homes in the College Park area at market value and retains ownership of the land, establishing a 99-year land trust agreement. The house itself is then sold at an affordable price adjusted to the homebuyer’s income level, based on the number preapproved by the mortgage lender. For example, if a homebuyer is approved for a $300,000 loan on a home valued at $400,000—which is the average home price in College Park—the remaining $100,000 is retained by the Trust.

“We want people to own homes in a way that doesn’t cost-burden them,” said Tawfiq Abdul-Karim, a senior associate with the Trust.

Should the homeowner choose to sell the home, the trust continues to hold the land, with a portion of the market appreciation going to the seller. The program is available to households that do not exceed 140% of the regional median family income (roughly $200,000 for a family of four).

The program’s first home sale was funded by grants from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, with an additional grant from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

“By facilitating homeownership opportunities here, we’re really supporting the economic mobility of families to be able to move forward financially, not just now, but even intergenerationally, passing that on to their children or the assets they’re able to save over time through homeownership,” said Susan Hartman, executive director of the nonprofit College Park City-University Partnership, at the ribbon cutting Wednesday.

The College Park Community Trust complements the partnership’s Homeownership Program, which provides $15,000, in forgivable loans, to eligible university and city employees so they can become homeowners in the city.

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