Low-Income Housing Tax Credits News Briefs - September 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012

AFFORDABLE HOUSING INDUSTRY BRIEFS

The National Council of Affordable Housing Market Analysts, of which Novogradac & Company LLP is a member, has been renamed the National Council of Housing Market Analysts (NCHMA). This change, which was prompted by a rebranding initiative spearheaded by NCHMA’s executive committee, reflects the organization’s expanded mission. To date, the group has primarily focused on opportunities related to affordable rental housing development. With the expansion, NCHMA will increase its scope of issues to include other conventional market analysis and users, including market-rate apartments, multifamily condominium developments and senior housing products. The first iteration of NCHMA’s expansion will address market-rate and affordable rental housing development market study needs for properties insured by the Federal Housing Administration(FHA). More information on NCHMA is available at www.housingonline.com.

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Travois Inc. chairman and founder David Bland testified in a July hearing before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs titled “Housing Partnerships in Indian Country.” Bland testified that although the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program has been used successfully in tribal areas, several challenges remain, including a growing emphasis on urban areas by various funding programs and a lack of investment interest. A shift in state housing finance agencies’ (HFAs’) scoring preferences to increase opportunities for urban area projects near employment centers has resulted in the near elimination of tribal developments from LIHTC competition, he said. Furthermore, few commercial banks see Indian Country as a desirable Community Reinvestment Act investment opportunity. Bland recommended that Congress enact policies that would encourage HFAs to consult with tribal leaders when developing qualified allocation plans, and also encourage them to consider adding tribal set-asides. In addition, he said regulators could encourage banks to invest in the neediest communities beyond their immediate footprint. A copy of Bland’s testimony is available at www.banking.senate.gov.

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a notice announcing the implementation of increases to mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs) for certain FHA multifamily housing programs. The notice also addresses public comments HUD received in response to the announced MIP increases. HUD said the MIP increases will provide additional protection for the General Insurance and Special Risk Insurance fund, increase receipts to the Treasury and encourage private lending to return to the market by ensuring that FHA is not underpricing its risk. The revised MIP will be effective for any firm commitments issued or reissued on or after Oct. 1, with the exception of transactions for which firm commitment applications were submitted prior to June 1. See the Aug. 15 Federal Register notice for more information.

DEALMAKERS

Boston Capital invested in the construction of three affordable multifamily developments in North Carolina: Admiral Pointe, a 54-unit senior development in High Point; Sunset Place Apartments, a 52-unit family development in Asheboro; and Ardsley Commons, a 36-unit senior development in Locust. The developments will be financed with LIHTC equity. Boston Capital expects their construction to generate a combined $14 million in local income and create approximately 210 jobs.

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Morgan Stanley and National Equity Fund (NEF) Inc. have expanded their Rebuilding Local Economies Fund with an additional $25 million in capacity and a broader geographic reach. The $125 million fund supports LIHTC development in devastated areas to help jump-start economic activity and replace homes lost to tornadoes and floods. The fund covers Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-declared storm disaster areas in 27 states, with West Virginia and additional counties in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee added in response to storms in February and March of this year. When all $125 million is invested, the fund will have supported the development of roughly 1,000 units of affordable housing and the creation of thousands of construction and permanent jobs. To date, approximately $90 million has been committed to projects in several disaster areas, including Warren, Ark., Newington, Conn. and Guthrie, Okla. NEF is managing the fund and has made $4 million in predevelopment capital available to help expedite projects.

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The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) closed a nearly $8 million loan to help finance Sunrise Apartments, a 79-unit affordable housing complex in Wallkill, N.Y. The development will house families and individuals with developmental and physical disabilities; Occupations Inc.’s adjacent headquarters will provide access to support and employment services. Amenities will include a community room, program space, laundry facilities and on-site parking. Additional financing includes $13.2 million in LIHTC equity from Raymond James Financial Inc., and funds from the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, the Orange County Department of Social Services and Section 8.

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Stratford Capital announced the closing of Stratford Fund VII Limited Partnership (Fund VII), a $100 million LIHTC investment limited partnership comprising 12 affordable housing properties in 11 states. Seven institutional investors participated in the fund.

STATE BRIEFS

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to explicitly insert the word “housing” into the title of the newly created state agency that will contain the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Under Brown’s reorganization proposal, the California Housing Finance Agency will merge into HCD, which will be administered by a new agency that was to be called the Business and Consumer Affairs Agency. With the enactment of S.B. 1039, that agency will now be named the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. The bill also requires HCD, the Department of Transportation and the California Transportation Commission to coordinate state housing and transportation policies and programs to help achieve state and regional planning priorities and to maximize co-benefits of infrastructure investments.

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Gov. Rick Snyder approved the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s (MSHDA’s) 2013 qualified allocation plan (QAP). Many of the plan’s scoring changes involve components to stimulate community revitalization in rural and urban areas and take into consideration proximity to transportation and other amenities. Other changes were in the areas of cost containment, permanent supportive housing category modifications and community support. In addition, the agency has provided an Excel version of the primary application. See the new QAP at www.taxcredithousing.com.

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The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) allocated $48.6 million in LIHTCs through its 2012 allocation cycle. The awards are projected to help finance the construction or rehabilitation of 45 properties containing 4,773 affordable rental units. TDHCA expects the properties to have a combined economic impact of as much as $389.1 million on the state. More information about the agency’s 2012 LIHTC awards is available at www.tdhca.state.tx.us.

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The New Jersey Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) awarded $18.7 million in LIHTCs to support the creation of 18 affordable housing properties encompassing 510 affordable rental housing units for families, 234 units for seniors and 242 supportive housing units. Approximately 75 percent of the developments will be built in suburban areas and 25 percent will be in urban areas. The agency said the funds will leverage more than $170 million in investment capital. More details about HMFA’s 2012 LIHTC allocation cycle and the recipients are available at www.nj-hmfa.com.

PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY

Julie Williams, chief counsel of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), stepped down on September 30 and will retire from federal service at the end of the year. During her 19-year career at the OCC, Williams served as chief counsel for four different comptrollers and twice served as acting Comptroller of the Currency. She led efforts within the OCC on Dodd-Frank Act projects and participated in interagency efforts to coordinate and implement its provisions. Williams also oversaw endeavors to consolidate rules for national banks and federal savings associations into a uniform and consistent set of standards. Before joining the OCC in 1993, she served on the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and the Office of Thrift Supervision. Deputy chief counsels Daniel P. Stipano and Karen Solomon will alternately serve as acting chief counsel while the OCC conducts a search for Williams’ successor.

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The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) announced a number of leadership and staff changes. Sherry Seiwert, executive director, and Mark Young, chief operations officer and deputy director, have left the agency. Seiwert has become president of Indianapolis Downtown and Young has begun his own consulting business. Jacob Sipe has assumed the role of IHCDA interim executive director, and will continue his duties as chief real estate development officer and director of production. Mark Wuellner will become the interim deputy executive director while remaining IHCDA’s general counsel and chief of staff. A list of the staff changes is available at www.iaced.org.

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WNC & Associates has hired Amy Dosen as vice president, originations. In this position, Dosen will oversee WNC’s acquisition activities in the Midwest region. She has more than 15 years of real estate experience with a focus on affordable housing. Her background includes originating, structuring and closing affordable housing developments. Prior to joining WNC, Dosen served as the equity sales manager at Key Community Development Corporation, where she managed the originations team. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and an MBA from Ashland University.

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Catherine Cawthon, president of Fifth Third Community Development Corporation, joined the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) as its newest board member. Appointed by Gov. John Kasich, Cawthon replaces J. Gordon Priemer, whose tenure ended in January. The board consists of 11 members, including nine members of the public and the directors of the Ohio Department of Commerce and the Ohio Department of Development.

BONDS

Greystone Affordable Housing Initiatives LLC and HBREM LLC closed financing on a $33 million U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Section 515 multifamily housing portfolio in North Carolina. The portfolio consists of 12 family and senior properties totaling 368 units, which will be rehabilitated without displacing any residents. Developer HBREM LLC will upgrade the majority of the units with new heating and ventilation systems, energy-efficient appliances and hot water heaters, and new cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, doors, insulated double-pane windows and freshly-painted interiors. Financing for the rehabilitation comes from $13.9 million in tax-exempt bonds issued by North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, more than $7 million in 4 percent low-income housing tax credit equity from the Community Affordable Housing Equity Corporation, and $447,000 in owner contributions. Rehabilitation is expected to be complete in early 2013.