City Lots for Working Families

The City Lots for Working Families (CL4WF) program provides vacant, City-owned lots to developers of affordable single-family homes and two flats for $1 each. Through the program, eight to 20 City-owned lots with a maximum appraised value of $125,000 can be conveyed per developer for each project. Homes must be made available to qualified buyers with incomes up to 140 percent of area median income. Buyers must use the homes as their primary residences for a minimum five-year occupancy period. The program:

  • incentivizes home builders to purchase vacant, City-owned property to construct affordable housing
  • helps to repurpose vacant land, create local employment, and expand homeownership opportunities
  • encourages critical economic development and community improvement to neighborhoods, including promoting local wealth building through home equity appreciation
  • promotes affordable homeownership opportunities in higher-cost communities, expanding economic and racial diversity
  • provides a streamlined acquisition process and reduced permit fees, enabling greater participation for small and minority developers

Program Requirements

Land sold under the program must be used for owner-occupied, single-family homes and two-flats. Properties constructed under the program will be subject to affordability criteria for a minimum of five years. The buyer must execute a mortgage, security, and recapture agreement, as well as a covenant of residency. The initial buyer will earn a 20% write-down of the first $50,000 of land value through a recapture mortgage amount reduction for each year they live in the home. If the initial buyer sells the building within the affordability period, the prorated balance of the recapture mortgage will be due on sale, proceeds of which would inure to the Chicago Community Land Trust (CCLT.)

Program Features

  • At Least 75% of homes must be priced and sold at a price determined by the Department of Housing (DOH) to be affordable to households at 120% of area median income (AMI)
  • Sale price may be lower depending on the local market conditions
  • Maximum buyer Income: 140% AMI
  • No buyer or developer subsidies provided under this program
  • Maximum lot value $125,000*
  • MBE/WBE, City residency requirements waived*
  • No prevailing wage requirement
  • First $50,000 of land value write-down forgiven over five years
  • Anything over $50,000 land value is recaptured with provision upon sale – fully forgiven after 30 yrs. (30 year provision may provide some property tax benefits to homebuyer).
  • Minimum lots per project: 8 - Maximum lots per project: 20 (for experienced developers)
  • Lots located on Chicago’s Park Boulevard System are not eligible for sale under this program
  • New construction homes built under the program will be subject to City minimum Design Standards, which are found in the application
  • Additional details and requirements can be found in the application.

Related Information


* Exception: If any one lot is worth more than $125,000 (but less than $175,000) then MBE/WBE and City residency requirements are not waived for the entire project

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