Partnership for a Year-Round Community

Mount Desert 365 and Island Housing Trust share a vision for the long-term viability of communities on Mount Desert Island through affordable housing opportunities. A partnership between the two organizations and a local family has made a Northeast Harbor property available for purchase with covenants to ensure that the home remains affordable and inhabited year-round by median-income households in the future.

5 Lookout Way, Northeast Harbor – $275,000

Built in 1925 with a traditional shingle roof and yellow shingle and clapboard exterior, this sun-filled house is in the heart of Northeast Harbor and conveniently situated around the corner from the elementary school and library. With four bedrooms and two bathrooms, it would be ideal for a household of 4 to 8 people. The kitchen, living room and dining room are located on the first floor, along with a room that could be converted into a fifth bedroom.

The property is located on a residential street and features a sunny front yard and private backyard. Recent improvements include double-paned windows on the second floor, recently painted exterior trim, and a renovated kitchen with open shelves, new counters, and fresh paint. Other amenities include a wood stove and walk-out basement.

What are affordability covenants?

Affordability covenants are a tool used around the country to ensure that homes are kept affordable for certain income brackets. Typically, an organization makes an investment into the property that makes it possible to transfer ownership at sales prices below the market rate. With a shared equity model, the organization retains ownership of the land while the homeowner owns the improvements. A long-term lease between homeowner and organization ensures that the land is available to the homeowners for life.

Through this partnership, Mount Desert 365 will purchase 5 Lookout Way, retain ownership of the underlying land, and resell the improvements at a reduced price with covenants. Island Housing Trust will facilitate the sale of the property to an eligible buyer and work with the homeowners to manage the land lease and covenants for the duration of their ownership.

How do I know if I am eligible?

All applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Must agree to live in the house year-round;
  • Must be pre-qualified for bank financing;
  • Must meet income requirements, which are determined by household size and tied to the state median income ($76,000 in 2020) established each year by HUD. For example, the maximum eligible income for a household of 4 is 160% of the area median household income, or $122,560.
  • At least one household member has earnings from employment on Mount Desert Island equal to or greater than 20% of median household income (equal to or greater than $15,320 for a family of four or fewer for 2020).
  • Must review and agree to abide by the affordability covenants regarding the land lease, changes to the property, and any future sale of the property.

NOTE: the preferred household will consist of 4 - 8 people.

Applications must be received before 11:59pm on Sunday, January 24, 2021. Priority will be given to candidates employed in public safety or public/community service, addressing critical needs facing our community. All else being equal, the final selection of the future homeowner will be made by lottery.

Interested in becoming a Mount Desert homeowner?

Eligible applicants may apply at www.islandhousingtrust.org/md365-how-to-apply

Keep yourself in the loop with our monthly newsletters.