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New housing model lands in Church Hill

Officials break ground on the 26th Street site, where construction was slated to begin Thursday. (Jonathan Spiers)

RICHMOND, Va. — A new-to-Richmond approach to facilitating homeownership while adding to the city’s housing stock is beginning to take shape in North Church Hill.

The nonprofit Maggie Walker Community Land Trust celebrated the groundbreaking of its first single-family home at a ceremony Thursday. The 1,600-square-foot home, to be built on a vacant lot at 1114 N. 26th St., is designed to provide permanent affordable housing through a “pay-it-forward” approach to help qualified owners build equity.

To make the home more affordable, the trust leases the land to an income-qualified homebuyer for little to no lease payments, and the buyer then only has to purchase the house. In exchange for the reduced price, the buyer agrees to keep only half the proceeds when it is later sold, while the remaining equity stays with the house to keep it affordable for the next qualified buyer.

Rendering of the planned 1,600-square-foot home at 1114 N. 26th St. (MWCLT)

Income-qualified buyers are those who make 50 to 115 percent of the area median income, which is $60,700, according to U.S. Census figures. Homebuyers will be qualified through and take homeownership classes from Housing Opportunities Made Equal.

With support from Bon Secours Richmond Health System and Virginia Credit Union, MWCLT purchased the 0.1-acre lot from the city last year for $40,000. By removing that cost from the overall price, the new house, valued at $235,000, will be sold for $195,000.

MWCLT is eyeing additional properties for homes, including at least two others in the Church Hill area. Virginia Credit Union is providing a $100,000 multiyear contribution to MWCLT and a $1 million line of credit to rehab properties.

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