Low-Income Housing Tax Credits News Briefs - July 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

AFFORDABLE HOUSING INDUSTRY

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released a report to Congress detailing the agency’s findings from the 2009 examinations of government sponsored entities (GSEs) Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBs) and the FHLB Office of Finance. Among other findings, the report concluded that the GSEs played a key role in mortgage market stability and foreclosure prevention efforts. It also found that the condition and performance of half of the FHLBs was less than adequate in 2009 due to investments in private-label mortgage-backed securities. The full report can be accessed online at www.taxcredithousing.com by selecting Hot Topics from the drop-down News menu, then clicking on GSE Conservatorship.

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The federal bank and thrift regulatory agencies announced the 2010 list of distressed or underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies where revitalization or stabilization activities will receive Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) consideration as community development. The list incorporates a one-year lag period for geographies designated as distressed or underserved in 2009, but not designated as such in the 2010 release. Geographies subject to this one-year lag period are eligible to receive consideration for community development activities for 12 months after publication of the 2010 list. See this year’s list and lists from previous years on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s (FFIEC’s) web site at www.ffiec.gov/cra.

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Red Capital Group LLC announced the May 7 completion of its acquisition by an investor group that repositions Red Capital as a stand-alone debt and equity capital provider. The acquisition was organized by former Red Capital chairman and CEO William E. Roberts, who led the business from its inception in 1990 through 2007. Red Capital will retain its operational autonomy and its mortgage and investment banking functions. Other leaders of the acquiring investor group include ORIX USA Corporation; Stonehenge Opportunity Fund; John B. McCoy, retired Bank One chairman and CEO; and David R. Meuse, chairman of Stonehenge Financial Holdings. Affordable housing entities Red Capital Community Developer Company LLC and SCDC LLC were included in the sale, along with the proprietary banking and asset management arm Red Capital Advisors LLC.

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The FHFA issued a proposed rule implementing provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act that establish a duty for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to serve very low-, low- and moderate-income families in the manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural markets. Under the proposed rule, each GSE would be required to provide an underserved markets plan against which the GSE would be evaluated and rated annually. Written comments on the proposed rule are due on or before July 22. More information is available in the June 7 Federal Register notice.

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The FHFA released a proposed rule to establish a framework for affordable housing goals for the 12 FHLBs. With issuance of the proposed rule, FHFA announced that it is seeking comments on the establishment of three purchase money mortgage goals and one refinancing mortgage goal applicable to the banks’ purchases of mortgages on owner-occupied single-family housing under their Acquired Member Assets (AMA) programs. An FHLB would be subject to the proposed housing goals if its AMA-approved mortgage purchases in a given year exceed a volume threshold of $2.5 billion. Written comments are due on or before July 12. See the May 28 Federal Register notice for more information.

STATE

The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC) announced its 2010 first round application results for 9 percent federal and state low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) in June. TCAC awarded more than $37 million annual federal credits and more than $13 million in state credits to 37 projects located throughout California. There were 126 applicants in the first round. Nine percent applications for TCAC’s second round are due July 7. For application details and a full list of first round results, go to www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac/2010/application.asp.

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The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) announced the members of its new banking team. JPMorgan Chase, Loop Capital and RBC Capital Markets will serve as co-senior underwriters, to be joined by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, D.A. Davidson, George K. Baum and Harvestons Securities as co-managers. The banking team will assist CHFA with structuring bond issuances and selling bonds within the capital markets. Following a national request for proposals process, CHFA’s executive staff and representatives from its board of directors conducted on-site interviews to select the firms.

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Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) announced its board of trustees’ approval of $13.6 million in Section 1602 LIHTC cash grant exchange program funds. The grants will ensure the completion of nine developments to create a total of 263 affordable housing units. Developments receiving the funding are Columbia Village in Sayre; East Side Redevelopment in Enid; Stonebrook Villas in Konawa; Stonebrook Estates in Konawa; Holdenville Oakridge Phase II; Manhattan Apartments in Muskogee; Smith Farm Estate in Broken Bow; Ardmore Affordable Housing in Ardmore; and Brooke Village in Oklahoma City.

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The findings of a recent telephone survey of more than 500 likely Rhode Island voters indicate that they support public investment in affordable housing, according to a statement from HousingWorks RI, which commissioned the survey. The survey showed that 69 percent of Rhode Islanders across demographic lines favor continued funding for affordable housing, and that those with incomes of $75,000 or higher were just as likely to support continued state funding as those at the lower end of the spectrum. Building Homes Rhode Island (BHRI) and the Neighborhood Opportunities Program (NOP) are the two state-funded programs that provide funding for the building and operation of affordable homes. The bond funding for BHRI is set to expire in 2011 and the governor’s proposed fiscal year 2011 state budget provided no funding for NOP. As part of its research into the effectiveness of these housing programs, HousingWorks RI plans to release a report of the economic impact of the first $25 million of BHRI funds invested.

BONDS

Sens. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, introduced legislation in May to make a financing provision under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) permanent. The bill, S. 3350, aims to help small and rural governments raise capital to finance infrastructure projects such as school and road construction. Under the bill, called the Municipal Bond Market Support Act of 2010, banks would be able to deduct interest on bonds purchased from debt issuers that issue as much as $30 million each year. Prior to the Recovery Act, banks could only deduct interest on bonds purchased from municipalities that issued $10 million or less in debt each year. After passage of the Recovery Act, bank qualified issuances doubled to $32.7 billion with nearly 6,000 issuances in 2009, according to Bingaman. The new legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by permanently raising the bank-qualified limit to $30 million and tying it to inflation. S. 3350 was sent to the Senate Finance Committee for review.

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The board of the New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA) approved more than $12.5 million in financing for major renovations to Bayshore Apartments, a 186-unit affordable rental complex in Brewerton, N.Y. HFA will provide a construction loan through the sale of as much as $9.5 million in tax-exempt bonds, plus a $3 million subsidy loan. The financing will enable Baldwin Bayshore LLC to acquire the project and undertake moderate rehabilitation while the tenants remain in place. In addition to HFA financing, the $16.8 million project is expected to receive more than $8 million in mortgage loans from USDA Rural Development programs; an annual allocation of more than $500,000 in LIHTCs; a $1.5 million loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York; and USDA rental assistance.

PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY

Sheldon P. Winkelman was elected chairman of the board of the Michigan Housing Council (MHC). He has served as an MHC member since its inception and was the first attorney to be elected president, a post he held for two terms that end this year. A partner in the real estate department of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, Winkelman has more than four decades of experience in commercial real estate and financing transactions with an emphasis on government-assisted housing. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the District of Columbia Bar Association.
Grandbridge Real Estate Capital selected Timothy J. Hudgins as vice president of its seniors housing team based in Atlanta, Ga. Hudgins, who has focused his efforts in the senior housing industry for the past 13 years, has more than 20 years’ experience in underwriting, asset management, accounting, auditing, investment management and financial analysis. Prior to joining Grandbridge, Hudgins spent six years as the deputy chief underwriter for Greystone Servicing Corp., where he underwrote Fannie Mae DUS Seniors Housing loans. Hudgins earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Auburn University.

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Matthew M. Berger has been named vice president of tax for the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC). As part of NMHC’s Joint Legislative Program and the National Apartment Association, he will be responsible for federal tax legislation. Berger most recently served as economist and press secretary for the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. He graduated from Stanford University, where he performed research at the Hoover Institution.

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Lily Batchelder was named chief tax counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Finance. She currently serves as a professor of law and public policy at New York University School of Law, as affiliated faculty at New York University Wagner School of Public Service and as an affiliated scholar with the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. Batchelder has worked as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, a tax associate at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, a social worker for the state of New York, and as a law clerk for the Senate Finance Committee’s tax office and the Department of Justice. She earned a
juris doctor from Yale Law School and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

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Michael A. Skrebutenas has been appointed to serve as executive deputy commissioner for the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). In his new position, Skrebutenas will help Commissioner Brian Lawlor oversee DHCR’s daily operations and assist with the agency’s integration with Nyhomes. Skrebutenas was the director of White House Operations during the Clinton Administration and served under Gov. David Paterson as deputy secretary for economic development and housing. He graduated from Columbia University in 1986 and from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1991, and earned a master’s degree in urban planning from Columbia University.

DEALMAKERS

The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) awarded $5 million in federal LIHTCs to build or rehabilitate 312 affordable housing units in nine developments. The nine developments approved are Fort Des Moines Senior Housing; Olive Street Brickstone Housing; South View Senior Apartments II LLC; Christ the King Senior Housing; and MLK Brickstone II LP, all in Des Moines; as well as Mitchellville Park Apartments in Mitchellville; Legacy Manor of Waterloo in Waterloo; Woodland West in West Des Moines; and 428 Walker in Woodbine. IFA has more than $31 million to allocate in 2010, including a special allocation of disaster tax credits.

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Officials in Albuquerque, N.M. celebrated the opening of the state’s first affordable housing development designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification. Located downtown on a reclaimed brownfield site across from the Alvarado Transit Center, Silver Gardens’ first phase includes 66 units for low- and moderate-income households. Green features include rainwater harvesting, use of recycled or recyclable materials throughout, energy-efficient appliances and landscaping designed to conserve water and reduce yard trimmings. The $12.5 million complex offers five studios, 46 one-bedroom apartments and 15 two-bedroom apartments, with 85 percent of units affordable for households earning between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). In addition to federal LIHTCs, sources of funding include the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority, the city of Albuquerque and Los Alamos National Bank.