May 26, 2017

Housing Credit Program Final Rankings Announced

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The Final Rankings for the Housing Credit Program (also known as Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program) Reservation Applications requesting 2017 credits are available on our website

Should you have any questions regarding the rankings, please contact the Housing Credit Program at

May 24, 2017

Brainstorming Affordable Housing

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About 100 professionals from the housing industry met recently in Botetourt County to help prime the pump of housing development in the area. A study commissioned by the county shows that while new jobs are coming into town, there is a lack of affordable housing for the people who will be taking those jobs. The housing summit brought together landowners, banks and developers to discuss possible solutions.

The keynote speaker for the event was Kit Hale, a member of VHDA's Board of Commissioners as well as principal broker at MKB Realtors and chairman of Housing Virginia.

May 19, 2017

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes

RECAP: For low-income and extremely low-income renters, this shortage is nothing less than a crisis. Families with limited economic means must either settle for lower-quality housing or spend far more than 30% of their income on housing costs. For many families, both of these conditions are true. The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) takes a yearly look at the supply of rental housing affordable to extremely low-income renters (defined by the federal government as households with income at or below the Poverty Guideline or 30% of their Area Median Income, whichever is greater). In their affordable housing gap analysis for 2017, NLIHC researchers looking at housing affordable to renters at different income levels nationwide, in every state and in the 50 largest metro areas.  The study’s authors urge greater investment in the production of housing affordable to ELI renters, offering policy guidance on specific tax reforms and public funding that could help fund the cost of such production.

The 21st-Century Utopia: Cities without Slums

RECAP: You might have missed it, but there's a quiet revolution beginning in a corner of business that until now has been relatively untouched by technology: construction. In the past decade or so, new technologies, including better land mapping, prefabricated construction and cheaper solar power, have begun bringing the costs of housing down 20 percent to 30 percent, say experts. The new technology is enabling feats of architecture and design, like an eight-story wooden apartment building in Finland and more affordable apartments in cities like New York, where the city has financed housing for 160,000 people making less than $40,800 a year. "Technology is a game changer for this," said Jonathan Woetzel, senior partner at McKinsey Global Institute. "Technology creates a set of solutions that we didn't have before. It will make housing cheaper and land use better."

Our Racially Divided Housing Market is Changing, Thanks to Millennials

RECAP: Racial covenants and other practices from the housing market’s racist past carry forward in the form of segregated neighborhoods and diminished wealth. They laid the groundwork for the terrible financial toll that black and Hispanic communities, in particular, paid during the Great Recession. Even redlining, a common practice from decades ago in which lenders denied loans in minority communities, has made a bit of a comeback in the wake of the housing crisis. For more than a century, there has been a persistent gap between white and minority homeownership rates. The most recent data show that 71 percent of whites own homes, compared with 41 percent of blacks, 45 percent of Hispanics and 58 percent of Asians, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The good news is that the youngest generation of homeowners — millennials — is more diverse. And they’re driving the housing market more than people realized, according to Zillow Group’s Consumer Housing Trends Report.

Learning From Two Months of Illuminating Abandoned Homes

RECAP: For two months last fall, Breathing Lights wove through New York’s Capital Region. Using gently pulsing lighting to humanize abandoned buildings, it was frequently perceived as a celebration, a sales pitch, or a call to action, but rarely as just art. “The lights had to be short lived to draw attention to the longer-lasting things,” says Adam Frelin, the upstate New York artist who helped conceive and lead the project. The idea of temporarily lighting vacant houses in Albany, Troy, and Schenectady took shape as a group of community leaders and artists mobilized to win a $1 million Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge grant in 2015. Breathing Lights was one of four proposals selected from more than 200. It ended up being one of the largest temporary public art works ever installed—requiring as much as seven hours for one person to see it all. “In community development, you put resources into rehabbing buildings and there is never quite enough money,” says Patrick Madden, mayor of Troy and former head of a non-profit housing rehabilitation organization. “Here, artists came in and saw them as an asset and started telling stories about neglected buildings. You could almost smell the Sunday dinners cooking,” he adds. “These buildings were cradles of ambition. The future needs to be written about this but we can say this is a very new way to look at this.”

May 17, 2017

A Partner Success Story: Former School Graduates to Vibrant, Mixed-use Community, Complete With Brewery

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Opportunity to grow affordable housing in Virginia is deeply rooted in partnerships. The Prices Fork community in Montgomery County is a stellar example. It began as a historic revitalization and renovation of a former elementary school, with plans to convert classrooms into 16 affordable apartments for people 55 years and older. Since then, the project has powered into a multi-partner effort that's expected to drive economic growth in the area.

VHDA and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) have joined forces with the New River Valley Regional Commission, HOME Consortium and Montgomery County Board of Supervisors to expand the development into a mixed-use community including a farm-to-table restaurant, brewery and food incubator (space for entrepreneurs in the food business). VHDA will provide a Mixed-use / Mixed-income loan, part of a REACH Virginia program designed to combine commercial and residential spaces with an emphasis on revitalization. Work is expected to be finished by year's end.

"When complete, this will be the place to be -- a signature establishment that will cater to a number of community needs and also serve as a regional attraction," said Chris Thompson, director of strategic housing at VHDA. 

According to Thompson, VHDA and DHCD have a long history of working together to build communities. In this case, the team also relied on the Vibrant Communities Initiative (VCI), which allows applicants seeking financing to apply for a variety of VHDA and DHCD resources all at once with a single application, rather than having to submit multiple applications to each agency. This single application may even open the door for funding at a higher level than would normally be available through multiple individual applications.

Thompson added that the Prices Fork project is "transformational" and a great example of how multiple entities can get things done when they work together. "This has really been a team effort. It has been amazing to see the opportunities align for this project as it has evolved," said Thompson.

More about Prices Fork

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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FHFA Requests Public Input on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's Proposed Underserved Markets Plans for Duty to Serve Program 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that it is requesting public input on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's (the Enterprises) proposed Underserved Markets Plans under the Duty to Serve program. FHFA issued a final rule on Dec. 13, 2016 to implement the Duty to Serve provisions mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.  The statute requires the Enterprises to serve three specified underserved markets – manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural housing in a safe and sound manner for residential properties that serve very low-, low-, and moderate-income families. The rule requires each Enterprise to adopt a three-year Underserved Markets Plan to fulfill this mandate.  FHFA requests public input on the Enterprises' proposed Underserved Markets Plans through its dedicated webpage,, by July 10, 2017.

GSE Duty to Serve Plans Include Proposals to Work with HFAs; Potential Housing Credit Investments 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's proposed Underserved Market Plans (the Plans). The purpose of these plans is for each firm to explain how it intends to carry out its duties as outlined by FHFA's Enterprise Duty to Serve rule. As NCSHA previously reported, the Duty to Serve rule requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to support lending for housing for very low-, low-, and moderate-income families (those earning 100 percent of area median income or below) in three underserved segments of the housing finance market: manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural areas. For each underserved market segment, the Rule outlines a number of activities that the GSEs may support to fulfill their Duty to Serve Obligations. The Underserved Market Plans outline which of the activities described under the Duty to Serve Rule Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac intend to pursue over the next three years (2018-2020) to support housing in the specified markets. Both Plans can be viewed on a special website FHFA has established that focuses on the Duty to Serve rule.

Senate Banking Committee Discusses Housing Finance Reform with FHFA Director Watt 

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing to examine the status of the housing finance system and the role in it of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This is the first in a series of hearings the Committee is expected to hold this year as it works on housing finance reform legislation.

May 11, 2017

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

DHCD's Blueprint for the Future Deadline Extended!

Don't delay--the deadline for DHCD's Blueprint for the Future Design Competition has been extended until Friday, May 26, 2017! Designed for students, architects and others interested in construction and home building, the purpose of the contest is to have a home designed and built that meets affordability, sustainability and accessibility criteria plus the 2012 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code.

The open competition consists of two phases. Phase I requires a short narrative (less than two pages), a site plan and two sets of scaled drawings. The Phase I winner, a student/non-professional, will win $500 cash!

Once Phase I has closed, entries are evaluated and those who meet the requirements move to Phase II. Next steps (in Phase II) including submitting a construction estimate, a complete set of house plans, a worksheet and information to educate the resident. The Phase II winner, a student/non- professional or professional, will win $2,000 cash! In addition, the winning design from Phase II will be built in Norfolk, Virginia.

The Student/Non-professional entry fee is only $50.  The professional fee is $100. Enter today by registering and submitting plans no later than Friday, May 26 at 5 p.m. If you have questions, email or submit your plans, drawings and narrative to

Guess Which Generation Is Making the Biggest Comeback in Real Estate

RECAP: Doc Martens are back in fashion. Hollywood starlets sport ’90s choker necklaces and Nirvana T-shirts. And guess what? Generation X home buyers are making their comeback, too. Gen X may not be getting as much attention these days as the (forever) up-and-coming millennial generation, but it’s making its mark on the housing market as the only generation to buy more homes last year than it did in the previous one, according to the latest National Association of Realtors® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends survey. With a stronger economy, housing values, and job market, the tide has begun to turn. The generation of Americans forever enshrined in iconic ’90s flicks like “Reality Bites” and “Singles” is storming back into the home-buying market. “Now, they’re actually in their prime earning years,” Smoke says. “And they’re also far more likely to have families. It makes complete sense that they’re coming back.”

Developers' Message

RECAP: Each year, Housing Finance asks affordable housing firms around the country to take part in a survey that determines top 50 lists of the top developers and owners. This year, Housing Finance posed a new question, asking developers to share what they would like people to know about affordable housing. The answers were as diverse as the developers themselves, showing just how multidimensional affordable housing is. Several said they want people to know that their developments are a world removed from the stereotypes of low-income housing. Some emphasized that their properties are important economic developments. Others made it a point to say the cost of affordable housing is offset by the long-term economic and social impact created by the developments.

Here’s What These Companies Are Doing to Increase Hispanic Homeownership

RECAP: The Hispanic Wealth Project (HWP), a plan to triple Hispanic household wealth by 2024, announced the addition of several partners for 2017. The Hispanic Wealth Project, in collaboration with the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), today released their annual State of Hispanic Homeownership Report, which shows that Hispanics continue to outpace the overall U.S. population in homeownership gains, household formation and work force participation. Hispanics are currently the fastest growing demographic in the real estate market as the group accounted for nearly 75% of all homeownership rate growth in 2016. The HWP focuses on three component goals including advancing sustainable homeownership, improving the success of Hispanic entrepreneurs and increasing Hispanic investments in non-cash financial assets. Partners of the HWP contribute to these goals by sponsoring and fulfilling initiatives with the HWP.

Why Housing Policy Should Be Health Policy

RECAP: It’s not news that where we live impacts how healthy we are. Public health is affected by many factors: neighborhood safety and walkability, nearby access to fresh food and health care, and the conditions of the homes we live in. Joseph Schilling, a senior research associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center,  co-authored a new report by the Urban Institute that delves into the latest research on how urban blight—defined here as substandard housing, abandoned buildings, and vacant lots—functions as a social determinant of health. 

May 10, 2017

VHDA Promotes "Loan Combo" in New Ads

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What's a VHDA Loan Combo?
It's an affordable VHDA mortgage, PLUS a down payment grant, PLUS an MCC homebuyer tax credit, PLUS our free homebuyer's class! VHDA offers the only loans in Virginia with this combination of money-saving benefits.

To get the word out to Virginia homebuyers, we've launched a statewide ad campaign. Ads are now running on TV, radio, social media and the internet, with the following call to action: "Ask your lender if you qualify for a LOAN COMBO from VHDA!" Consumers who see our ads are directed to a landing page at, where they can use our Find-A-Lender tool to get in touch with a VHDA-approved lender.

We anticipate that consumers will ask for our Loan Combo by name as they see start to see our ads.

Watch our "Loan Combo" TV spot 

Trouble viewing the video? Watch it on YouTube