Nery Peña, 27, a first-grade English teacher, bought a two-bedroom apartment in Washington, D.C., overlooking the Washington Monument, for $50,000 in 2021. Similar apartments nearby start at $350,000.
The building is part of the Douglass Community Land Trust, a portfolio of properties purchased by former tenants and nonprofit groups, where qualifying buyers typically make between 30 and 70 percent of the area median income. In D.C., that could mean a family of three making roughly $35,000 to $81,000 a year. The land trust also includes rental apartments.
Ms. Peña, whose family rented in the building before it converted to a co-op in the 1990s, cobbled together $15,000 from her savings and a gift from her mother, and financed another $35,000 through a credit union.
She pays $1,420 a month, including co-op fees; similar units nearby rent for twice that amount. If she decides to sell the home, the sales price will be restricted to her purchase price,…