NCST Community Buyers Play Critical Role in Stabilizing Middle Neighborhoods

Since our founding in 2008, NCST has aimed to stabilize neighborhoods by getting distressed properties into the hands of mission-driven, on the ground partners that rehab these properties and who then return them to low- to moderate-income families via affordable homeownership or rental opportunities.

Recently, a lot of attention has been focused on the need for stabilization efforts in so-called “middle neighborhoods.” These neighborhoods, also referred to as “tipping point” or “edge” neighborhoods, are where the housing market still has a chance to rebound, where some neighborhood assets still exist, and where incomes are in the 80 to 120 percent of area median income (AMI) range. Stabilizing neighborhoods meeting this description can stop the spread of blight and over time, decrease the footprint of the more distressed areas.

NCST and our Community Buyers have always focused on these neighborhoods, even before it was trendy. For example, in the past nine months, 41% of the property offers NCST has received have been in middle neighborhoods and 433 of these property offers were accepted by our Community Buyers.

Unfortunately, NCST sees too many properties located in these middle neighborhoods pass through REOMatch® without finding a buyer. In some cases, the homes are not of a desirable size or layout for easy marketability, jobs have been relocated to suburban areas, or the area and its residents don’t qualify for the housing programs and subsidies that focus largely on under-80 percent AMI.

Some NSI markets have active efforts underway to focus on middle neighborhoods with marketing efforts, rehab and down payment assistance programs and community revitalization, including Baltimore, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Cleveland, to name a few. NCST has Community Buyers working on each of these efforts, along with a block-by-block pilot program with Freddie Mac as part of the Greater Chatham Initiative.

How is your organization working to stabilize middle neighborhoods? What can NCST do to help you focus on these important areas? For example, NCST can help you identify which properties fall into middle neighborhoods in your target area by creating shapefile overlays enabling you to target acquisitions in specific neighborhoods without limiting your overall target area. If you would like to learn more, please email us:

To learn more about what is being done in middle neighborhoods across the country or talk to others about starting something in your community, visit

Erin Persons serves as Vice President, Program Operations for NCST.