Lincoln has a Housing Commission with official statements and info about affordable housing. Lincoln generally complies with the minimal regulations established by the state.
Massachusetts’ affordable housing policy is designed to create incentives for builders and landlords, since the free market does a poor job. Incentives basically fall into two buckets: tax savings/incentives and regulations. The best known regulation applies to the municipalities and is known as 40B.
The Commonwealth has a very complex suite of incentives for developers. **Do we want more here?
** Do we need more here about the market and the history of affordable housing policies?
To achieve an increase in the number of housing units available to rent and purchase at less than the “fair market” would produce, the state needed to encourage the creation of such housing. Municipalities then regulate it.
“Chapter 40B is the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Production Law. The law requires all municipalities to provide affordable housing. The mandate is: 10% of a municipalities’ housing stock must be reserved for low or moderate income households earning less than 80% of Area Median Income. The data used to determine what percent of a community’s housing stock is affordable, originates from the US decennial census data. Every 10 years when the census is conducted, one of the many things counted is year-round housing units. In 2010, Lincoln’s year-round housing units were tabulated as 2,153 year-round housing units. 10% of 2,153 = 215.3 Rounded up to 216 Therefore, in 2010, Lincoln needed to have 216 affordable housing units to comply with Chapter 40B. At the time, Lincoln had 236 affordable housing units, a surplus of 30 units, therefore; 236 ÷2,153 = 10.96%” — from This Lincoln Subsidized housing sheet
In Lincoln, both rental and owned units count towards the total percentage of housing units that are considered affordable housing. But the calculation for how many of a particular development add to the affordable housing stock. For example, Oriole Landing created 60 units.
Application for affordable housing
Income Limits for affordable housing (outdated)
Generally, barriers to homeownership include:
- Qualifying for a mortgage
- Income eligibility/affordability
- Downpayment (typically 20% but not required, can be as little as 3.5% but more expensive)
- Downpayment assistance via MassHousing ($30,000, or $50,000 for select communities)
- There are other grant and loan programs, but awards typically cover 1-3% of the purchase price of a single family home in Lincoln
They are awarded through lottery programs, managed by Regional Housing Services Office. This regional management org offers listings and management of transactions.
Here is an example of the application:
The income limits for this unit are 100% of Area Median Income (AMI) which is:
The maximum gross household income will be verified and compared to the HUD 2022 published income limits: 1 person- $98,140, 2 person- $112,160, 3 person- $126,180, 4 person- $140,200, 5-person- $151,416 The asset limit is $93,750. The process is very specific and prescribed
- Options to preserve (but not grow) wealth
- Stronger sense of place and control
- Income eligibility required at time of purchase, but not required thereafter, unlike rentals
- Affordable homeownership units are capped price units, usually set at the time of construction and rise only with inflation, meaning that they can not substantially appreciate.
- The application and lottery system is very complex, and there can be hundreds of applicants, so unmet demand
- Condo fees and taxes can limit affordability
- Housing can only come out of affordable status if there are no applicants
Rental Housing Programs
Need to find info about Lincoln’s rental housing stock – the info available is very limited. Not all lower-rent options qualify/are managed by the affordable process.
Regional Housing Services Office with regional management and listings.