Land banking

Program basics

  • Community-owned or public entities that acquire troubled properties and transform them into community assets such as affordable housing, commercial properties, or open spaces
  • State and local governments often partner with land banks in providing low- or no-cost purchases of foreclosed properties, clearing titles, waiving taxes, etc.

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)

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Strong (second-highest tier)

Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps


Target population

Community-wide

Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

1960s-present

Outcomes and impact

  • Helps revitalize declining neighborhoods, accelerates community development, and promotes more economically integrated neighborhoods
  • Demolitions of unsafe buildings help reduce blight, increasing home equity and property values in the surrounding area

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Partner closely with community organizations, lenders, and others to identify distressed assets and to plan for acquisitions and repurposing of such land.
  • Evaluate and pursue a range of potential income sources, including foundation grants, government contracts, land sales, dedicated tax collection, developer fees, and rental income.
  • Create a set of clear, straightforward standards and measures of success for transactions and investment that align with community needs and public policy priorities.
  • Actively disseminate investment and transactions standards across the community and solicit feedback, including via public forums, written materials, and the creation of a community advisory council.
  • Develop a diverse investment portfolio and regularly search for abandoned or foreclosed properties that retain some market value; seek to avoid only acquiring properties in extreme distress.

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