ncsha news update
Treasury Issue Brief: Housing Finance Reform Must Address Affordable Housing Access
Posted: 11/1/2016
Housing finance system reforms must preserve and expand support for affordable housing options, the U.S. Treasury Department argues in an issue brief released last week. The brief was written by Antonio Weiss, Counselor to the Secretary of Treasury, and Karen Dynan, the Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy.

In the brief, Weiss and Dynan contend that the most critical issue policymakers should consider when reforming the housing finance system is whether the new system will help more Americans access affordable housing. They argue that many of the current discussions about housing finance reform have not sufficiently focused on housing affordability and accessibility, treating them as secondary concerns.

Weiss and Dynan outline four specific features they believe should be included in any housing finance system to ensure that it supports affordable single-family and multifamily housing: incentives for affordable credit pricing; a mandated “Duty to Serve” underserved markets; national standards for loss mitigation; and funding dedicated to building and preserving affordable housing. The authors suggest that any reformed system build off the success that the current system, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have had in addressing these policy areas. The report specifically cites Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s support for affordable homeownership and multifamily housing as activities that should be replicated in a new system.

Treasury intends to issue additional issue briefs on housing finance reform in the near future.

The National Council of State Housing Agencies, known as NCSHA, is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan association that advocates on behalf of HFAs before Congress and the Administration for affordable housing resources. It represents the HFAs of the 50 states,  the District of Columbia,  New York City, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Visit us on the web at  ncsha.org .




The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas has ruled against the Inclusive Communities Project in its lawsuit against the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. To read the court’s ruling  click on document below.




Oaks District association opposes nearby low-income housing

The Oaks Historic District neighborhood association will oppose a proposed tax-credit apartment development planned for 11th Street, citing the possible impact on home values in Old Town.

On Tuesday, City Council received five proposals for tax-credit backed developments around the city and one outside its limits.

The property that the Oaks District opposes is called The Bristol, which would offer 120 rental apartments, 96 of them for low-income residents and 24 at market rate.

The proposed complex is not in the Oaks District but is near homes covered by the association.

Chris Akbari, president of the Itex Group, which is applying for the tax credits to build what he estimates will be a $14 million property, said he has the property at 1155 N. 11th St. under contract to buy.

The property was the site of the former Chula Vista restaurant, which is still standing, and the Castle Motel, which was demolished in 2015 after it became a derelict and destroyed by vandals. The property also includes a now-closed dry cleaning shop.

Akbari said he thinks The Bristol would help revive that part of 11th Street and could attract people who work at Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital.

One opponent spoke at Tuesday’s meeting. “We feel this would hurt property values in the Oaks Historic District,” said Lynda Kay Makin, who lives in the neighborhood.

Virginia Jordan, president of the Oaks Historic District, said a representative from Itex attended a neighborhood association meeting on Monday to outline the project. “We have major concerns,” she said Wednesday. “We’re canvassing our neighbors and preparing a response.”

Akbari, in response to Makin’s public comment, said after the council meeting, “You can’t please everyone.”

Itex used tax credits to build The Providence on Major Drive, which is reserved for people 55 or older. Itex also is building a tax-credit backed property called Place of Grace, next to Grace Lake near Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.

Itex is pursuing a project in China called The Carlyle, which led to a meltdown

Gordon Anderson, spokesman for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, said the top criterion for a successful tax-credit application is financial feasibility. The second is local government support.

Beaumont City Council also must declare to the state housing agency that it recognizes the city has more than twice the state average of tax-credit properties.

One of the factors in the decision-making process location, whether the property is within a “high-opportunity” area so low-income residents are not pigeonholed in poor areas.

Read the complete story in the Feb. 11 print edition of the Beaumont Enterprise.

DWallach@BeaumontEnterprise.com Twitter.com/dwallach

Market forces keep squeezing Austin-area apartment renters

By Shonda Novak – American-Statesman Staff


After I reported recently that apartment rents in the Austin area hit a record high in December — $1,190 on average — a reader lamented how difficult it is for the many folks making $10 to $12 an hour, or less, to afford even $800 a month for rent.

“Has anybody ever examined why all the new apartments seem to be so high-end?” he wrote? “Surely there would be a market for entry-level apartments — not for people who qualify as low income, but just for people who want and need a basic unit for less money.”

A short answer comes from local developer Ed Wendler Jr., who works for a real estate investment trust that has built hundreds of luxury apartments in Austin.

“The cost savings to strip out all the frills is about $7 a square foot on total current construction cost of about $235 a square foot for (traditional) product,” Wendler said. “Then you have a product that isn’t very attractive or marketable with very little savings. Bottom line is the savings just are not worth it — the savings are so small you can’t reduce the rent enough to offset the lack of frills.”

But the larger question — why the area is getting so many upscale units and not more within reach of people who earn below Austin’s median family income of $55,216 — is more complex and much discussed in a region grappling with a housing affordability problem.

Here are some of the issues at play in Austin’s apartment market:

High-income newcomers

Census data shows that the vast majority of new households that formed within Austin’s city limits from 2000-2014 made well above the median family income, a trend that’s continuing, Wendler said.

During that period, just over 80 percent of new households made more than $75,000, which is 150 percent of the median income. And 65 percent made over $100,000 a year, roughly twice the median — startling numbers, he said.

“When developers talk about matching supply and demand they forget to mention that the demand is mainly from high-income households, and they are matching that demand with higher-rent units. There’s a massive influx of high-income folks that can afford the new Austin. Their high incomes pull the price of housing up. They can and will pay more.

“At the same time because of the huge amount of new construction all the contractors, subs and material suppliers start raising their prices. Construction costs are up about 25 percent over the last couple of years. These costs also push up rents.”

Market follows highest returns

Jeff Jack, a former member of Austin’s Planning Commission and longtime neighborhood advocate, said there’s a misconception that increasing the supply of housing will ease prices.

“Lenders will say yes to projects that are the highest profitability and the lowest risk, and that’s high-end,” Jack said. “As long as there’s huge demand at the high end, lenders are not going to pay much attention to the vanilla housing.”

Another aspect: Austin’s job-recruiting efforts have largely resulted in importing higher-wage talent, Jack said. “We’ve never done an economic analysis to see what is the skill set of existing residents, and then go out and find the jobs they can have that will give them an opportunity to move up the economic ladder. The supposition that the ‘creative class,’ the high-tech class, was going to trickle down, raise all boats and work for the prosperity of everybody simply hasn’t worked out.”

In reality, he said, the gap between the haves and the have-nots has grown ever wider, “and everybody who hasn’t gotten the opportunity to participate in the financial success are gentrified out of the city. So you’re having a sea change in the community’s fabric, through gentrification. And it’s not just minority communities, it’s communities, it’s moderate-income people being pushed out as well.”

At the municipal level, Jack thinks city leaders too often give developers more in incentives for affordable housing and other public benefits, through increased zoning entitlements for developers, than the city gets in benefits in return. So the projects get approved, and the community gets “chump change.”

“Bicycle racks and a little bit of art,” Jack said. “Really?”

Stricter regulations

Charles Heimsath, president of Capitol Market Research and a consultant to developers, said the cost of development is rising in part because of the city of Austin’s stricter development rules and increasing fees.

“The amount of regulation, additional fees and the time required to get a project approved through the city planning process all drive up the cost of development to the point where it is almost impossible to deliver affordable housing… within the city limits,” Heimsath said.

Greg Guernsey, director of the city’s Planning and Zoning Department, said that although the city “is operating from out outdated land development code that is complicated and sometimes costly for Austin businesses and residents,” change is at hand. The code is being updated and simplified, and the city is evaluating policies and procedures “that could be revised to help lower development costs, and make the development process predictable and consistent.”

In addition, more positions are being added and new technology is being put in place that will expedite the review process, all part of a two-year streamlining plan, said Rodney Gonzales, director of the city’s Development Services Department.

Incentives for developers

If Austin really wants to increase the supply of below-market rental units in the city limits, city leaders can’t just stand by and let the market play out , said Mandy De Mayo, executive director of HousingWorksAustin, a nonprofit that advocates for affordable housing.

De Mayo said Austin is managing to increase its supply of affordable housing in a number of ways.

Left to market forces, she said, Austin most certainly will divide itself into “a city of the incredibly rich and the incredibly poor.”

“But that’s not the kind of city we are,” De Mayo said. “We have low- and moderate-wage jobs in all areas of town, so let’s make sure we have a range of housing types at range of income levels, geographically dispersed across the city.

In 2006, voters approved $55 million in bonds to be earmarked for affordable housing. That money helped create more than 3,400 units of below-market housing, most of it rental. Voters passed another affordable housing bond package in 2013, for $65 million. HousingWorks also is can build creative affordability tools into the code.

“Nonprofits and the city can’t solve the affordability crisis alone,” De Mayo said. “We need to bring private developers into the fold and be motivated and incentivized to produce affordable housing. If we can interest them, it gives us a whole lot more power and reach throughout the city.”

While the affordability challenges are enormous, De Mayo said, it’s important to tackle them “because we want to make sure Austin is home for everyone, not just a playground for the rich.”

 October 29, 2015
Churchill-Stateside-GroupChurchill Stateside Group Closes $10.1 Million Affordable Housing Transaction in Washington
Four Rural Multifamily Communities Rehabilitated with Innovative Financing Structure
October 28, 2015, Clearwater, FL – Churchill Stateside Group (“CSG”), a real estate financial services company serving developers and investors in the multifamily housing, renewable energy and entertainment tax credit industries, today announced the closing of a $10.1 million affordable housing transaction. The rural housing portfolio consists of four (4) affordable rural housing properties located throughout the state of Washington.

The properties were constructed in the 1980’s using the USDA 515 Loan Program and Section 42 low-income housing tax credits. CSG provided the construction and permanent financing guaranteed by the USDA-RD 538 Program. The acquisition and rehabilitation of the 109 units includes CSG’s construction and permanent financing coupled with subordination and re-amortization of the original USDA 515 loans, short term tax exempt bonds, Washington State Department of Commerce Trust Fund loan, HOME loan funds, and tax equity proceeds from 4% federal LIHTC. CSG’s affordable housing team provided financing by working with multiple agencies and parties to secure both public and private funding.

“We at Churchill are very pleased to contribute our efforts to assist with the financing of these properties which preserves and updates the apartment units for individuals and families in need of affordable housing,” said Keith Gloeckl, CEO of Churchill Stateside Group.

The scope of the rehabilitation will include new kitchen appliances, kitchen cabinets and countertops, plumbing fixtures, electric baseboard heaters, hot water heaters, flooring, bathroom cabinets and countertops, windows, window coverings, interior/exterior doors, unit painting, roof repairs (where necessary), exterior siding, parking lot resealing/repairs, accessibility issues, site lighting, dumpster enclosures and landscaping. The average hard costs of improvements are expected to be $30,000 per unit.

About Churchill Stateside Group, LLC
Churchill Stateside Group (CSG) and its wholly owned affiliates serve the affordable housing and renewable energy industries.  CSG sponsors tax credit equity investment funds for institutional investors and provides a variety of construction and permanent financing solutions.  The company’s investor and developer clients benefit from our experienced staff, prominent and proactive senior leadership, and attractive debt and equity platforms.  CSG has long-standing and successful investment relationships with numerous corporate investors, pension funds, and insurance companies.  The company is also an approved USDA Rural Development and HUD MAP lender.  CSG pursues high quality lending and investment opportunities across the nation.
May 22, 2015
Due to the recent weather in Texas, the Governor has issued an Emergency Disaster Proclamation.   In accordance with 10TAC§10.607(g), please update your Unit Status Report (USR) in the Compliance Monitoring and Tracking System (CMTS) with current household information so that the Department has accurate records regarding vacancy availability in the state.

Please contact Stephanie Naquin at stephanie.naquin@tdcha.state.tx.us with questions.


Last Chance to Support HB 1455

This is your LAST CHANCE to TAKE ACTION and help protect private property rights.

If you haven’t already done so, PLEASE contact your Senator and urge their support of HB 1455. (If you sent a support letter for SB 834, please send a new letter for HB 1455.)

Yesterday, the Senate State Affairs Committee voted favorably for HB 1455.  The next – and hopefully last – step the bill needs to pass through is being favorably voted on by the entire Senate body.  HB 1455 is eligible to be voted on by all 31 State Senators early next week.  Before all Senators take a vote on HB 1455, they need to hear from YOU, their constituents and voters.

Next week is the last week of the Texas legislative session; thus, the amount of time we have to pass this important piece of legislation is greatly limited.

PLEASE send a letter of support to your Senator TODAY, urging support for HB 1455!

Condo Owner Protection Bill
HB 1455 will:
•    Ensure that condo unit owners are provided with adequate information to make an informed decision that affects their private property
•    Require proper notice to an owner and owner approval prior to a condominium board initiating a construction defect claim
•    Protect unit owners from resale and refinance limitations due to unknown cases involving their property
•    Prevent lawsuit risk against a developer
HB 1455 will help private property rights by protecting condo owners from unknown and unauthorized disputes that lead to lower market values and complications in selling or refinancing their unit.  Without HB 1455, condo owners will continue to be exploited and an increasing number of construction defect disputes will prevent stable and healthy condo development in Texas.

Although this bill directly affects condo owners and builders of condos, this is an important policy issue that needs to be fixed in Texas.  This bill should matter to all property owners, builders and developers because private property rights should always be the primary consideration, especially when threatened by unknown lawsuits against your very own property investment.

**Remember, the condominium form of ownership may apply to single family homes, townhomes and high-rise buildings.

ACT NOW: Contact Your Senator Urging Support for HB 1455




May 1, 2015

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD BEGINS – Previous Participation (Title 10, Chapter 1, Subchapter C)

The Compliance Division has posted proposed new Title 10, Chapter 1, Subchapter C concerning Previous Participation that was approved for public comment by the TDHCA Governing Board meeting on April 16, 2015.

These rules will be published in the Friday, May 1, 2015, edition of the Texas Register and will constitute the official version for purposes of public comment. The public comment period ends June 1, 2015. Written comments may be submitted to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Patricia Murphy, Rule Comments, P.O. Box 13941, Austin, Texas 78711-3941; or by fax to (512) 475-3359. ALL COMMENTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY 5:00 P.M. June 1, 2015. The proposed rules can be found on the Texas Register website at:  http://www.sos.state.tx.us/texreg/index.shtml

If you have any comments or questions, please contact Patricia Murphy at (512) 475-3140 or by email at: patricia.murphy@tdhca.state.tx.us.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Apartment association appeals judge’s ruling on Austin housing vouchers

 A federal judge declined to grant an injunction against a Austin’s source of income ordinance, which prohibits discrimination against tenants who plan to pay with Section 8 housing vouchers. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks noted similar ordinances elsewhere have survived legal challenges, and “the court can see no reason to swim against the current.”

Friday, February 27. 2015

Judge clears the way for Austin to enforce housing vouchers ordinance

By Andra Lim – American-Statesman Staff


A federal judge on Friday refused to issue an injunction for a city of Austin ordinance that requires landlords to accept low-income applicants who plan on paying part of their rent with a housing voucher if they meet all the qualifications for tenancy.

U.S. Judge Sam Sparks’ ruling rebuffed arguments from the Austin Apartment Association, which contended in its lawsuit against the city that the ordinance unlawfully made participation in a cumbersome government voucher program mandatory.

A federal judge has denied the apartment association’s request to block Austin’s “source of income” ordinance from taking effect.

The so-called source of income ordinance, which the City Council passed in December, states thatlandlords can’t discriminate against applicants because their rent payment includes federally funded Section 8 housing vouchers, just as landlords can’t discriminate based on other factors, such as race and gender.

Sparks said voucher participants “suffer serious discrimination in the Austin private housing market,” though he also acknowledged the regulations of the voucher program “place some burden on the landlords subject to them.”

The city said in a statement it can begin enforcing the ordinance.

The Austin Apartment Association said in a statement that its attorneys were reviewing the ruling to determine how to proceed.

“We note the court stated that there are different, less burdensome ways the city could entice property owners to participate” in the voucher program, the association said.

If the city receives a complaint regarding source of income discrimination, it can now begin an investigation, the city said in its statement.

Proponents of the ordinance said it was intended to provide more housing choice for voucher holders, who are currently concentrated in low-opportunity areas that don’t have access to amenities, good schools and jobs with decent wages.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Travis County spends money on home, road repairs instead of apartments

By Andra Lim – American-Statesman Staff

After a developer scrapped plans to build an affordable apartment complex on Lowden Lane because of neighborhood opposition, Travis County also had to scrap its plans for directing $343,010 in federal grant money to the project.

Residents who live along Lowden Lane, which is just outside Austin’s southern city limits, told county commissioners earlier this year it made no sense to plant an apartment complex on a narrow street two miles away from the closest bus stop. Amtex Development, which had partnered with the Strategic Housing Finance Corp., began looking for another nearby location for the proposed 192-unit complex but has so far come up short.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development money that would have paid for the acquisition of land along Lowden Lane — or an alternative site if the developer could find one — will now instead fund a loan program for home repairs and improvements on two segments of Ross Road near Del Valle High School, the Travis County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday.

Those two projects will also receive another $125,000 that was supposed to go to a street project that recently became ineligible for the same pot of federal money.

The home rehabilitation program, which Meals on Wheels and More runs, offers homeowners zero-interest loans of up to $24,999 to pay for items such as roof repairs or improvements to make a home more accessible to people with disabilities. Loans are forgiven in five years if the homeowner still owns and lives in the house and hasn’t rented it out.

The county’s total allocation of money from the Community Development Block Grant program, which supports projects that benefit low- to moderate-income residents, is estimated to be $997,649 for the year spanning October 2014 to September 2015.

To meet a federal deadline, commissioners in August approved a list of projects to be funded with the money, though a county official said at the time the Lowden Lane development was likely not to pan out, meaning commissioners would need to select a replacement.

During a September presentation, County Judge Sam Biscoe asked staff to return with more information in two weeks rather than the four officials had suggested, citing the county’s “less than stellar history regarding timeliness.”

Travis County is supposed to spend a certain amount of the Community Development Block Grant funds it receives yearly by the start of August. At that time, any remaining funds are not supposed to exceed 1.5 times the most recent grant.

The county has struggled with spending money in a timely enough manner to stay under that threshold, most recently in 2013.

That was largely because a homebuyer assistance program proposed by the nonprofit HomeBase Texas fell through after the Federal Housing Administration, which was supposed to provide funding for loans, didn’t approve the program, according to county documents. Federal officials ended up reducing the county’s annual grant by $54,391.





Monday October 6, 2014



HUD Releases 2015 DDA and QCT Designations
Posted: 10/3/2014
On October 3, HUD issued a notice designating Difficult to Develop Areas (DDA) and Qualified Census Tracts (QCT) for 2015.  Housing Credit properties developed in areas with a DDA or QCT designation are eligible to receive up to a 30 percent basis boost.   2015 is last year for which HUD will designate DDAs spanning entire metropolitan areas.  Beginning in 2016, HUD will base DDA designations on Small Area Fair Market Rents (FMR) instead of metropolitan-area FMRs in order to better target areas most in need of a DDA designation.  Contact NCSHA’s Jennifer Schwartz with questions.

The National Council of State Housing Agencies, known as NCSHA, is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan association that advocates on behalf of HFAs before Congress and the Administration for affordable housing resources. It represents the HFAs of the 50 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Visit us on the web at www.ncsha.org.  




Thursday October 2, 2014


Work starts on 430-unit affordable housing complex

By Shonda Novak – American-Statesman Staff



A Kentucky-based developer and the Austin Affordable Housing Corp. broke ground this week on a $67 million apartment project on Austin’s east side aimed at families — and senior citizens — on limited incomes.

Described by developer LDG Development LLC as a “multi-generational apartment community,” The Pointe at Ben White and The Villages at Ben White will have a combined 433 units. Those include apartments for working families as well as for residents 55 and older earning up to 60 percent of the area’s median income, or $51,000 a year.

The Austin Affordable Housing Corp., a nonprofit affiliate of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, will be the owner and long-term operator of both apartment complexes.

The Pointe and The Villages will be separate complexes, but situated next to each other within the same gated area.

The first phase of construction will start immediately on The Pointe, 7000 East Ben White Boulevard near Montopolis Drive. It will have 250 units, the first of which are expected to open in late 2015. The Villages at Ben White will have 183 units.

Rents at The Pointe will start at $744 a month for a one-bedroom, $844 a month for a two-bedroom, and $944 a month for a three-bedroom.

At The Village, a one–bedroom will start at $744 a month and a two-bedroom unit at $844 a month.

For The Pointe at Ben White project, Enterprise Community Investment Inc., a national affordable housing organization, partnered with LDG and the Austin Affordable Housing Corp. to finance $13.2 million through low-income tax credits. Other financing for The Pointe is from an FHA permanent mortgage of about $21.9 million, plus $2.4 million from LDG.











Five Takeaways from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s 2014 Housing Summit

Posted By John Griffith on Sep 18, 2014


Earlier this week, the Bipartisan Policy Center hosted its 2014 Housing Summit, which brought together some of the top policymakers, industry leaders, advocates and other stakeholders in the housing and community development field. Over two days of speeches and roundtable discussions, the summit covered just about every housing-related issue under debate in Washington today – from rental subsidies and affordable housing production to housing finance reform and access to mortgage credit.


For those who weren’t able to attend in person, here are our five key takeaways from the event.

1.America’s renters face a growing housing insecurity crisis.


In his welcoming remarks to kick off the summit, former U.S. Senator and BPC co-founder George Mitchell said that, even though we “tend to overuse the word” in other contexts, America’s renters are truly in the midst of a crisis. Commentators echoed that theme throughout the event, with a focus on the one in four renters – or roughly 11 million renter families – who pay more than half of their monthly income on housing. As several panelists pointed out, America’s housing insecurity crisis has gotten significantly worse in recent years as rents rose, wages stagnated and the supply of affordable homes on the market dissipated.

2.The federal government needs a more comprehensive, balanced housing policy.


Several panelists at the summit debated the relative merits of renting versus owning a home and the extent to which the federal government should support each option. One thing was clear throughout these debates: federal housing policy is woefully out of balance. When asked which housing policy he would most like to see changed, University of Southern California economist and Enterprise Trustee Raphael Bostic pointed to the mortgage interest deduction, which directs billions of scarce subsidy dollars to higher-income homeowners instead of the lower-income owners and renters that need them most. Enterprise Chairman Ron Terwilliger and PolicyLink’s Kalima Rose offered similar recommendations.

3.We need innovative solutions to the significant demographic challenges on the horizon.


Another recurring theme was the country’s shifting demographics, which will pose significant housing challenges in the coming years. Demographers project that the total number of renter households will grow by at least 4 million over the next decade, led mostly by an increase in younger and senior renters. Each of these populations will have distinct housing needs, and neither is particularly well served by the current housing delivery system. For example, the clear majority of aging Baby Boomers hope to age in place, but the current housing stock is not well equipped for the specific needs of this population, especially the large portion of seniors with physical or mental impairments. Bold new policy solutions will be necessary to meet these massive shifts in housing demand.

4.Housing finance reform needs to be a top priority in the next Congress.


While there was a lot of debate and disagreement among panelists at the summit, one opinion seemed to garner near-universal agreement: housing finance reform is not likely to move forward between now and the end of the year. That said, several lawmakers from across the political spectrum – including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-TN) – said that housing finance reform should be a top priority for the next Congress, regardless of the result of the midterm elections. For a refresher on the reform bills under consideration in Congress today, see our recent summary.

5.Affordable housing is not a Democratic or a Republican issue.


If there’s one crucial takeaway from the summit, it’s that housing has always been – and should continue to be – a bipartisan issue. That fact was exemplified on Tuesday morning, when five FHA commissioners from Democratic and Republican administrations met onstage for a thoughtful, nuanced discussion of the challenges and opportunities facing the agency today. It was also apparent in the across-the-board support for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, the Regan-era program that remains the country’s primary tool for building and preserving affordable rental housing.


The 2014 Housing Summit culminated with a keynote address from new HUD Secretary Julian Castro, who laid out his vision for the country’s housing policy in the coming years. Building off of the summit’s spirit of bipartisanship, we look forward to working with Secretary Castro, other members of the Obama administration, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and our partners to make that vision a reality. Together we can work toward a day when every family in this country has a safe and stable home in a vibrant community, ensuring that everyone has a fair shot at success.





Monday, September 29, 2014

Getting Older

Change Policy for Changing Households

U.S. housing policy needs to evolve with America’s changing demographics.

By Robert Dietz Sept. 24, 2014

The characteristics of American households are reflections of long-run demographic trends and short-run housing policy issues. Data covering two decades of the American Housing Survey illustrate recent developments in detail. The typical head of household is getting older as the baby boomers enter their retirement years. Households are generally getting smaller, as the share of homes without children rises. But the overall count of homes continues to rise as population growth continues. Policymakers will need to take into account the nation’s growing demand for housing as household formations continue to move back up to historical norms in the aftermath of the Great Recession

Using the 1991, 2001 and 2011 vintages of the American Housing Survey, sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and conducted by the Census Bureau, I estimated changes over two decades in how Americans are housed by household type.

From 1991 to 2011 – 2011 being the most recent available version of the housing survey – the count of homes owned and rented rose. In 1991, there were 59.8 million owner-occupied residences. That total grew by 27 percent by 2011, reaching 76.1 million. In contrast, the rental stock expanded at a slower rate. Over the course of 1991 to 2011, the number of renter-occupied homes increased from 33.4 million to 38.8 million (16 percent). Of course, since 2011 there’s been a surge in rental demand, particularly for the fast-growing multifamily sector, but the long-term trend of an aging population has increased the overall number of owner-occupied homes.

To see the impact that an aging population has had on the counts of homeowners and renters, consider the following distributions concerning heads of household from the American Housing Survey.

In the 1991 and 2001 profiles, the largest shares of homeowners tended to be aged 35 and older. But recent impacts from the housing bust and the Great Recession can also be seen in the 2011 results. While an aging population has naturally increased the share of homeowners aged 55 and over, the economic consequences of the last few years resulted in sharp declines for the share of homeowners in their 30s and early 40s. Declines in homeownership for those in their 20s are also the result of lagging employment and wage growth for those just out of school, as well as credit challenges that include access to mortgages and rising student loan debt.

On the other hand, renter shares have increased for those 45 to 64-years-old. In part this is due to an aging population, but it is also a function of the high level of foreclosures over the last half decade. Declines in the renter shares for younger Americans, particularly those under age 25, are in part due to delayed household formation and the near doubling of the share of young adults living with their parents.

The combined effect of these changes can be seen in the median age of head of household homeowners, which increased from 51 in 1991 to 54 in 2011, and for renters, which rose from 34 in 1991 to 39 in 2011.

Typical household size has also fallen over the last couple of decades. While the share of single-person households increased from 31 percent to 36 percent, the share of married-couple families who are homeowners decreased from 66 percent in 1991 to 60 percent in 2011. A key reason why household size is falling is that the share of homes with children is decreasing. Overall, the number of owner-occupied homes with children under age 18 fell from 37 percent to 31 percent. For rental household, the share declined from 38 percent to 36 percent.

U.S. housing needs to evolve with these changing demographics. And housing policy can help. First, an older population means more aging-in-place. This dynamic will require remodeling existing homes for changing life-cycle needs, which in turn requires protecting and enabling access to homeowner equity – typically the largest source of savings for most households.

Second, a permanent solution to U.S. housing finance must be established soon. The present conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is unsustainable. Legislation co-authored by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, which replaces the government-sponsored enterprises with a new structure that includes private capital, a federal backstop and a liquid secondary market is the best approach going forward. This reform, in addition to defending the mortgage interest deduction, will ensure that the after-tax cost of mortgage financing does not rise due to policy changes.

It is important to keep in mind that younger homebuyers, currently a source of housing market weakness, pay the most mortgage interest as a share of their income and therefore are the most sensitive to such housing policy changes. These issues become even more important when you consider that the market should expect mortgage interest rates to rise over the next two years to 6 percent or more as Federal Reserve monetary policy tightens.

Lastly, supplying the new housing the U.S. needs, including construction in areas leading the nation in economic growth, requires checking growth in regulatory costs. Such costs are ultimately borne by homeowners and renters and hurt housing affordability.


 Monday, September 26, 2014

rentalRecent Studies Show Growing Demand for Rental Housing

With the housing market still recovering, more Americans are opting to rent a home rather than purchase one.

Research conducted by the  Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis shows that the percentage of American households who own their homes has decreased from 69% in 2004 to 65.1% in 2013. In contrast, rental vacancy rates  are the lowest they’ve been since the year 2000.

A recent article published by the New York Times suggests several factors have led to the increased demand for rental housing.

First, fewer multifamily units have been constructed in the past five years as a result of the recession. Second, the recession created an uptick in the number of home foreclosures nationwide, turning many homeowners into renters overnight.

The article also notes that the demand for rental housing has also lead to an increase in the number of eviction filings.

As more renters compete for fewer units, landlords are more inclined to evict tenants sooner.  Furthermore, tenants who are evicted may be forced to double up with friends or family, creating a domino effect that places their friends or family at risk of eviction for potentially violating their lease agreements.

Construction of Rental Units Is Going Up

Fortunately, it looks like the demand for rental housing may see some relief soon.   A second article published by the New York Times indicates that the construction of multifamily housing units is now on the rise.  Citing data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, the article reports that, in the past 12 months, developers have started constructing more than 332,000 new apartment units nationwide.  This is the highest single-year increase since the 1980s.

TSAHC Offers Financing for Multifamily Construction

To facilitate the creation of additional rental housing, TSAHC offers several financing options for multifamily housing developers.  These include tax-exempt bonds for larger affordable housing projects, as well as loan products for short and long-term financing. To view a list of TSAHC’s financing options, click here.

Developers interested in TSAHC’s multifamily financing should contact David Danenfelzer at 512.477.3562 or via email.

– See more at: http://www.tsahc.org/blog/post/recent-studies-show-growing-demand-for-rental-housing?utm_source=Blog_092614&utm_campaign=Blog_092614&utm_medium=email#sthash.A0oRqNmT.dpuf

Monday, September 22, 2014

Southeast Austin to get $38 Million Affordable Apartment Complex

By Andra Lim – American-Statesman Staff

A $38 million apartment complex with rents meant to be affordable for low- to moderate-income families is planned for Southeast Austin.

The development, by a partnership between Indiana-based for-profit Pedcor Investments and the Travis County Housing Finance Corp., is scheduled for groundbreaking later this month. It will be a 252-unit project on a vacant 28 acres on William Cannon Drive. Pre-leasing will start next June, and the first apartments will be ready for move-in by August.

affordable living complexes

Location of two affordable apartment complexes in the works.   Robert Calzada


Nearly all the units at the William Cannon Apartments will be aimed at people making no more than 60 percent of the area’s median income, which is $45,250 for a family of four, said Craig Lintner, Pedcor’s senior vice president of development. A handful of one-bedroom apartments are targeted at those making 50 percent of the median income or less, Lintner said.

Rents for the 72 one-bedroom apartments will range from about $600 to $750, including sewer and water, which is under the market rate of $900, Lintner said.

The 132 two-bedroom apartments will go for $885, compared with the market rate of $1,100, he said. The 48 three-bedroom apartments will rent for $1,000, while the market rate is $1,250, he said.

Pedcor Management Group, which will manage the apartment complex, plans to provide a bevy of on-site social services, some of which were required by the state, Lintner said. Services will include daily after-school homework help, summer youth programming, General Educational Development preparation classes, financial and health courses, and an on-site notary public.

A portion of residents’ rent will go toward paying for those services, Lintner said.

The development will also be less dense than the typical Austin apartment complex, with about nine units per acre rather than 15 to 20, Lintner said. The William Cannon Apartments will be constructed as 13 three-story buildings, he said.

The William Cannon Apartments will be Pedcor Investment’s first development in Texas, but the firm has completed affordable housing projects in 12 other states.

Though Pedcor Investment is setting rents below the market rate, it is able to receive $12 million in equity by obtaining tax credits from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Pedcor Investments then sells those credits to a private investor, Lintner said.

The project will mostly be financed with $22 million in bonds the Travis County Housing Finance Corp. will issue on behalf of Pedcor Investments, which is responsible for repaying the debt. (The corporation is a quasi-governmental agency with a board of directors made up of the Commissioners Court members.)

Any profits left over after paying back the debt go to Pedcor Investments, Lintner said.

Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gómez, whose precinct will be home to the project, said she sees a need for more affordable apartments in Austin — but also a need for more affordable houses.

“You rent for a while, then you say, ‘Wait a minute; I’m paying rent, and I’m not left with anything to call my own,’ ” Gómez said. “It used to be possible to find an affordable house … but all of a sudden, it became unaffordable to own a home.”

Pedcor Investments is planning an identical $40 million apartment complex, called the Heights on Parmer, at Parmer Lane and Dessau Road. That development should have its groundbreaking by January, Lintner said.

Correction: This article has been updated to correct that the Travis County Housing Finance Corp. is issuing bonds for the affordable housing development on behalf of Pedcor Investments.



Tuesday, September 14, 2014

Planned Apartment ComplexWorkforce housing planned for North Austin    

By Shonda Novak – American-Statesman Staff

A 76-unit apartment complex that will provide units primarily for low- to moderate-income households is planned for North Austin, the developer said Monday.

The project comes as the Austin area continues to face challenges in meeting the demand for affordable housing in Central Texas.

The project is being developed by Austin-based Wolfpack Group, an affiliate of Pinnacle Housing Group, a Florida-based developer of workforce housing. Wolfpack Group plans to build the $13.2 million Art at Bratton’s Edge project on 5 acres at the southeast corner of Long Vista Drive and Bratton Lane. The project will be the development team’s 11th in Texas, where it has other affordable housing communities Waco, Abilene, Tyler, Longview, Dallas, Denton and Selma, near San Antonio.

The first units are expected to be ready for tenants by spring of 2016.

“This is a terrific opportunity for the community,” Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said. “The project specifically targets our working class citizens. This includes people who are holding down multiple jobs to support their family, but are having trouble with our high cost of living.”

The project will have 68 units aimed at people who make 30 percent to 60 percent of the area’s median income. The other eight units will have market-rate rents.

Rents across the project will average $700 a month for the below-market units and $950 a month for the market-rate units, said Megan Lasch, a developer for Wolfpack Group.

For one-bedroom units, monthly rents for the below-market apartments will range from $300 to $700 a month compared with $825 for a one-bedroom unit at market rate, Lasch said.

Two-bedroom units for income-qualified tenants making 30 and 60 percent of the median-family income will rent for $325 to $832 a month respectively, while a two-bedroom at market rate will rent for $957 a month.Austin Color Site Plan (640x633)

The range for the affordable three-bedroom units will be $350 to $921 a month, and $1,046 at market rate, Lasch said.

Once the property opens, Wolfpack Group will partner with Skillpoint Alliance, an Austin-area workforce development nonprofit, to offer on-site social services and continued educational opportunities for tenants.

“Central Texas needs more projects like this,” said Margo Dover, president of Skillpoint Alliance. “We will work with this team to utilize their facilities and provide a wide variety of skills training on-site.”

The project also will include public art, which Wolfpack Group is known for incorporating into its communities, along with innovative designs and energy deficiencies.

To build the project, Lasch said, Art at Bratton’s Edge will receive $10.56 million in housing tax credits awarded by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs through a competitive process. The rest will be financed through conventional loans and a low-interest loan of $122,400 from the Travis County Housing Finance Corp.

Leasing for the planned Art at Bratton’s Edge Apartment complex will begin in the fall of 2015. For information about the project go to www. pinnaclehousing.com or call 512-383-5470








Monday, September 8, 2014



Opportunities Abound to House, Remodel for Aging Americans

September 2, 2014

Housing Americas Older Adults 2014: The existing housing stock is insufficient to meet the growing needs of Americans aged 50 and over, according to a new report released today by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and AARP Foundation.

Affordable housing with accessibility features such as single-floor living and extra-wide doorways that is located near public transit hubs is in too short supply, according to the study, Housing America’s Older Adults – Meeting the Needs of an Aging Population.

In other words, there has never been a better opportunity for NAHB members to understand the needs of this burgeoning market and take advantage of NAHB programs that give them an advantage over their competition.

“I’ve been saying that for years, and this report reinforces what CAPS designees already know. We bring a unique perspective to this market, and we solve problems,” said Tom Ashley, a remodeler from Denham Springs, La., and Chairman of the CAPS Board of Governors.

CAPS is the Certified Aging in Place Specialist educational designation. It familiarizes remodelers with the correct use and installation of assistive living devices and helps building industry professionals better target their markets.

NAHB also offers the Universal Design/Build class, which caters more to new construction specialists. And of course, the 50+ Housing Council offers networking and education opportunities for builders at the NAHB International Builders’ Show as well as through local council membership.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • The number of adults in the U.S. aged 50 and over is expected to grow to 133 million by 2030, an increase of more than 70% since 2000.
  • In 2012, one-third of adults aged 50 and over – nearly 20 million households – were cost-burdened, meaning they paid over 30% of their income for housing.
  • The median net wealth of home owners aged 50 and over in 2010 was 44 times that of renters in the same age group.
  • Just one in six homes built since 2000 has extra-wide doors and hallways, one in five has lever-style handles, and one in two has a no-step entry.
  • The typical home owner age 65 and over has enough wealth to cover the costs of in-home assistance for nearly nine years or assisted living for 6 ½ years. The typical renter, however, can only afford two months of these supports.

The report called on localities to change their zoning to support construction of accessory dwelling units and mixed-use developments that add housing within walking distance of services or transit.

“For the private sector,” the report said, “the growth of the older adult population provides vast opportunities to innovate in the areas of housing and supportive care. Indeed, substantial business opportunities exist in helping older adults modify their homes to suit evolving needs, delivering services at home, and developing new models of housing with services that promote independence and integrate residents with the larger community.”



Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014


East Austin Apartment location

Apartments with moderate rents planned for East Austin

By Shonda Novak – American-Statesman Staff

East Austin is in line for a $37.6 million apartment project that will have 250 units available at below-market rents to income-qualified tenants.

Louisville-based LDG Development, in partnership with the Housing Authority of the city of Austin, plans to break ground soon on the project, which will be at 7000 Ben White Boulevard near Montopolis Drive. Called The Point at Ben White, the first units are expected to open in late 2015 with rents that are within reach of residents making up to 60 percent of the area median income, or $51,000 a year.

Rents will range from $669 a month for a one-bedroom unit with 850 square feet; $802 for a two-bedroom with 1,072 square feet and $897 for a three-bedroom unit with 1,185 square feet.

By comparison, comparable units at market rates would rent for a minimum of $900, $1,100 and $1,350, respectively.

The complex will have 24 one-bedroom units; 130 two bedroom apartments and 96 three-bedroom units in 12 buildings of three stories each. Units will have energy-efficient fixtures and appliances, and amenities in the complex will include a community room, exercise facilities, a computer room, swimming pool, playground and theatre room.

The announcement comes as city leaders and affordable housing advocates say the Austin area faces an increasing need for more moderately-priced housing options. A 2014 report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that the gap between what average workers make and what they can afford in Austin is one of the fastest growing in the nation.

“The Point at Ben White is among a few developments in Austin financed recently by Enterprise that are providing high quality affordable homes to families. We look forward to continuing our work with local partners to help alleviate a growing affordable housing shortage Austin and Travis County,” said Aron Weisner, vice president of syndication at Enterprise Community Investment Inc.

Enterprise Community Investment is a national affordable housing investment firm that raised and placed $13.4 million in equity from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Other financing is from an FHA permanent mortgage through Lancaster Pollard of $21.9 million, and the developer funded $2.4 million.

Enterprise brings private capital into projects through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, which is the primary way affordable housing is financed in the United States.

Enterprise also was an investor in three completed affordable housing projects in Austin: Skyline Terrace, Park Palace at Loyola and Santora Villas.

Enterprise also has invested in another project currently under construction, the 135-unit Capital Studios in downtown Austin that is being developed by Foundation Communities.

“The addition of the Point at Ben White is welcome news for Austin,” said Walter Moreau, executive director of Foundation Communities, a nonprofit affordable housing developer with projects in Austin and North Texas. “In our 25-year history we’ve never had waiting lists for our apartments as long as they are today, especially for our supportive housing for the lowest-income families. Over 15 families with children in crisis situations apply for an apartment each week.”

Moreau said the first residents are expected to move into Capital Studios at Trinity and 11th streets in early December. Monthly rents will range from about $390 to $650, with the average being $500, all bills paid.

More than 300 people remain on the wait list for that community alone, Moreau said.


August 5, 2014

Corporate Portraits taken at TIAA-CREF March 22, 2007


Frank L. Sullivan, Jr. Joins The NHP Foundation Board of Trustees

New York, NY July 28, 2014: The NHP Foundation (NHPF) is pleased to announce that Frank L. Sullivan, Jr. has joined The NHPF Board of Trustees.

Mr. Sullivan brings to NHPF a wealth of valuable real estate experience. His real estate acumen comes from 30 years as a founder of Clarion Partners, including serving as a private market portfolio manager for several large institutional separate accounts.

“The NHP Foundation is extremely fortunate to have someone of Frank’s caliber join our board of trustees,” said NHPF’s Chief Executive Officer Richard Burns. “He has spearheaded a number of strategic initiatives, over the course of his career, and his input will be much appreciated as we move forward, in the expansion of our portfolio and as we consider our blueprint for the next five years.”

Mr. Sullivan’s expertise is further attested to by his activities outside Clarion. He, for 20 years, was a professor of Real Estate Finance at New York University’s Graduate School of Business. In addition, he has been a visiting lecturer at Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, tdhe University of Virginia, and Yale University. Lastly he has served as an expert witness in various courts and sits on the Cornell University Real Estate Advisory Board. He is a graduate of Wharton School (MBA) and Cornell University (BS).

“NHPF is extremely pleased to welcome Frank as a trustee,” said NHPF Chairman Ralph F. Boyd. “His depth of experience and his ability to communicate his expertise speak volumes about the asset we have gained, in his presence on the board.”

Headquartered in New York City with offices in Washington, DC, NHPF was launched on January 30, 1989. NHPF is a publicly supported 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation founded to preserve and create affordable multifamily rental housing for low- and moderate-income families and seniors. In addition to providing safe, clean and affordable housing to its residents, NHPF has a robust resident services program known as Operation Pathways. Through partnerships with major financial institutions, the public sector, faith-based initiatives, and other nonprofit organizations, NHPF owns 27 residential properties with approximately 5,800 housing units in 12 states and the District of Columbia.

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