Notes from Novogradac
The U.S. as a whole has lost nearly 4 million low-cost (see definition below) rental homes since 1990, according to a recent working paper released by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS). “Documenting the Long-Run Decline in Low-Cost Rental Units in the U.S. by State” looks at the loss of affordable housing supply nationally and through an individual state analysis to view the magnitude of the loss, as well as the timing of the loss, variance across states.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published Revenue Procedure 2019-41, announcing $2,709,998 of unused low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) allocated from the national pool to 31 qualified states for calendar year 2019. (Note that the term state includes a possession of the United States and constitutional home rule cities Chicago and New York City.)
Investment in opportunity zones (OZs) continues to grow, with qualified opportunity funds (QOFs) focused on residential development leading the way.
In 2018, the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks) awarded approximately $458 million in Affordable Housing Program (AHP) funds, approximately a 15 percent increase from 2017, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) recently released 2018 Low-Income Housing and Community Development Activities of the Federal Home Loan Banks.
On Feb. 26, 2019 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published final regulations regarding low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) allocating agencies’ responsibilities for monitoring properties’ compliance. The provisions replaced temporary requirements contained in Rev. Proc. 2016-15 and represent a significant departure from current practices.
The Treasury Department is widely expected to release updated opportunity zones (OZ) regulations in the near future–with the regulations first going to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, perhaps this month, for clearance before being released to the public 30-plus days later.
Treasury is expected to release updated opportunity zones (OZ) regulations in the coming weeks, and we expect that the updated regulations will merge the first two tranches of regulations into one and provide more clarity on many remaining issues, as well as some outright changes. Before their release, however, Treasury must first send the updated regulations to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for their review and comment, after which, the regulations can be released.
It is systematic barriers, not pure preference, that prevent lower-income families from moving to areas of high opportunity, according to research released by Brookings at a Sept. 19 event. This new research from Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights serves as a reminder of the importance of affordable housing in areas of high opportunity.
Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies recently released a working paper that argues that a national response to exclusionary land zoning practices is needed to effectively resolve not only the affordable housing crisis, but to improve the declining rates of economic mobility and productivity as well.
Since the enactment of the opportunity zones (OZ) tax incentive, which was designed to increase private capital investment in low-income communities and low-income community businesses, there has been great interest in using the new incentive to create more affordable rental housing. Participants in the OZ incentive are not limited to investing in affordable rental housing, but the incentive has aspects that are attractive to affordable housing developers and investors. For example, OZs aren’t subject to an allocation limit such as the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC).