Champlain Housing Trust and City of Winooski officials, flanked by funding agencies, state leaders and city residents, announced the completion of twenty new affordable condominiums [PDF] in the heart of Winooski on Thursday morning. The homes – which have all been sold or under contract – were completed this month by builder Snyder Homes on land provided by the City of Winooski on Malletts Bay Avenue.
“We are thrilled to see this opportunity for homeownership in Winooski and I am excited to congratulate the buyers on your new homes. This project fills a gap in our local housing market for more home ownership and more options for larger households. It’s a real win for our City,” said Mayor Kristine Lott. “And I’m so thankful for all the efforts of the City staff, Champlain Housing Trust and the funding agencies that made Butternut Grove a reality.”
The sales prices for the homes were reduced through the support of three sources. Among them were two State agencies, the Vermont Housing Finance Agency and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and the federal New Markets Tax Credit program. Through the housing trust’s Shared Equity Homeownership program, the homes will remain affordable forever.
Sales prices for the condos ranged from $143,500 for a two-bedroom, 1 ½ bath flat to $184,500 for a three-bedroom, 2 ½ bath row house with a rooftop deck. According to data compiled by Redfin, the median price of all homes sold in Chittenden County was $478,260 in July – a year-over-year growth of 15.9%. The median price of condominiums and town homes were at $345,000 and $380,000, respectively.
“Butternut Grove is an excellent example of how we can make homeownership affordable for people priced out of the market, do so equitably, and create long-term benefits for the City of Winooski,” added Michael Monte, CEO of Champlain Housing Trust. “Through the shared equity program, owners here will build their assets, have security and stability in their housing costs, and preserve access to affordable homeownership for future buyers.”
The New Markets Tax Credit program has been used in Vermont for community and economic development projects for many years. This is the first time it has been used for homeownership in the State, and the first time ever it has been used to create permanently affordable homeownership.
The City of Winooski is celebrating its centennial this year. Earlier this summer the City Council also acknowledged that Winooski 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. It also passed a resolution stating that the community was built upon the unceded land of the Abenaki people, and recognized that the Abenaki people, their culture, and their experiences are fundamental to the existence and culture of the city.
In marketing the homes, CHT engaged with the City, the Winooski School District, AALV, and others in efforts to expand homeownership opportunity to historically marginalized communities. Education and outreach was coordinated in five different languages, and CHT prioritized outreach to Winooski residents. Buyers include a bus driver, librarian, nonprofit and public sector employees, and a small business owner. A quarter of the buyers are from Winooski.
CHT has plans to develop about 100 affordable shared equity homes in Shelburne, Burlington and Hinesburg in the coming years. The organization also partners with Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity to bring some additional permanently affordable homes on the market each year.