Long-term Resale Restrictions

Currently, the DC government places long-term resale restrictions – typically 15-20 years and in some areas more – on affordable ownership units. These restrictions force home owners to sell their properties at below market rate and restrict them from accessing any equity in their homes.  The intended purpose of these restrictions is to preserve affordable housing units in Washington DC and ensure against people immediately reselling their properties and making a “windfall” profit.  However, the flipping of affordable ownership units is almost nonexistent and these restrictions have the unintended result of preventing home owners from building up and/or accessing their equity.

The short-term effects: home owners are unable to access their home equity when unforeseen or emergency expenses arise (e.g. health emergencies, emergency home repair, etc.).

The long-term effects: home owners are unable to build wealth like their market-rate neighbors.  With resale restrictions, home ownership is not a viable investment, and homeownership is often the only asset low-to-moderate income households have.

Manna is in support of 5-10 year resale restrictions at the most, but no higher. Manna has publicly expressed its opposition to long-term resale restrictions for many years now, and has also supported an alternative.

In December 2013, Councilmember Anita Bonds introduced the Affordable Homeownership Preservation and Equity Accumulation Amendment Act of 2013, an option derived through a several year process of compromise and cooperation that 1) recognizes different markets in DC and 2) recaptures subsidies and pre-existing equity from affordable units, and recycles them to produce more affordable units. On October 28, 2014, this legislation passed its final reading at the DC City Council. Implementation began for newly constructed affordable homes in 2015.

Listen to various DC residents’ views and experiences:

See the below links for more information:

A Bifurcated DC

Manna’s 2012 paper to the Mayor’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy Task Force

Addressing Affordable Homeownership in a Different Way: The Present and The Alternative

Manna’s Response to a DC Fiscal Policy Report on Affordability Controls

The District Can Learn from Others about the Effects of Long-Term Resale Restrictions

A 2009 City Paper article: “D.C.’s Designated Affordable Condos Are Great–Just Don’t Move Any Time Soon”

A 2010 City Paper article: “How Long Should Affordable Housing Have to Stay That Way? The City Council Takes Another Look”

A 2010 Washington Post article: “D.C. needs to change affordable housing law if it truly wants to promote homeownership”

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