A $100,000 discount on a home in Sturgeon Bay came with conditions.
Among them: The homeowner owns the house, but not the land - which is owned by the Door County Housing Partnership, or DCHP.
Affordable housing is "...a national crisis, it's a local crisis, and it's a crisis that's not going away," said Jim Honig, the DCHP board president, who described the details of the recent home sale and the homeownership program.
The home and property, southeast of downtown Sturgeon Bay, were worth about $230,000 - but the home sold for $123,000, Honig said.
The DCHP comes up with what is an affordable price for a lower- or middle-income family in the area, then sells a home at that price.
"We raise the money that bridges that affordability gap, between... an affordable price, and what it costs to bring that home to the market," Honig said.
The DCHP has three homes right now, and will have two more by the end of the year, Honig said.
The group's goal is 30 homes by 2030, Honig said.
Homeowners in the program can only sell to another income-qualified family, Honig said.
To qualify for the program, for example, a family of four could make no more than approximately $98,000 total per year, according to the DCHP.
If a homeowner in the program wants to sell, the home can only increase in value by one percent for every year they lived in the home, Honig said.
If the homeowner of the $123,000 home wants to sell in ten years, for example, the sale price could be no more than $135,300.
Honig says that is how the home will remain affordable into the future.
For 2023, the median home price in Door County is more than $350,000, according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association.
For northeast Wisconsin overall, that figure is $235,000, according to the WRA.
"When a family is able to purchase a home, they set down roots in the community," Honig said.
"When you're in an apartment, you don't have a backyard to play in, you can't buy your kids a swing set and make them a sandbox."
How is it paid for?
The DCHP receives some grant funding, but most of their money comes from donations, Honig said.
They have also received some help from local governments.
For example, Door County and the City of Sturgeon Bay, through an agreement, gave DCHP one lot, Honig said.
While in Sister Bay, the Village offered land at a discount.
Hoping to stay in Sister Bay
Hanna Michalsen knows Sister Bay, where she was born and raised.
As the manager at the nine-room Goose & Twigs hotel in the village, she helps visitors in the area.
But Michalsen wants to stay in Sister Bay.
"My family's here, and I'd like to raise a family here myself," said Michalsen.
She said housing that is affordable will be important to that goal.
The DCHP owns eight lots in Sister Bay, with plans to purchase more, Honig said, with the goal of building houses that are affordable for working families.
The group is working on funding to build one home in Sister Bay this summer, with the goal of three built by the end of 2024, Honig said.
After a reporter described the program to Michalsen, she said she is interested in it.
"[It] sounds like it would be more manageable and affordable for people..." Michalsen said.