June 30, 2016

VHDA To Offer Compliance Training Opportunities

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VHDA is partnering with the Mid-Atlantic Affordable Housing Management Association (AHMA) to provide targeted training on various compliance and management topics. The 2016 training courses for Virginia, scheduled throughout the year, are held at the Virginia Housing Center in Richmond and the Southwest Virginia Housing Center in Wytheville.

Presenter A.J. Johnson, of A.J. Johnson Consulting Services, Inc., uses his vast experience and knowledge to clearly explain technical aspects of the LIHTC program, as well as other funding sources such as HUD, HOME and Rural Development.

All courses are open enrollment so there is no restriction on how far ahead you may register.

Visit the AHMA website directly to plan your attendance. Please visit VHDA's website if you need additional sources of training.  If you have questions that relate to a specific property, please contact your assigned VHDA Compliance Officer for assistance.

June 29, 2016

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.


Models and Components of a Great Nonprofit Dashboard

(RECAP: Dashboards are enormously useful for keeping strategic goals in play. So, how do you create an effective dashboard? Financial-management experts Hilda Polanco and Sarah Walker guide readers through a step-by-step process, using real-life examples from a variety of nonprofit organizations.)
https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2016/05/09/financial-management-models-of-a-great-nonprofit-dashboard/

Affordable, Accessible, Integrated Housing – Expanding Options for People with Disabilities

(RECAP: CIL-NET is hosting a national training in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Aug. 23-25 to make sure Centers for Independent Living administrators, housing specialists and other advocates are equipped to help individuals find housing, all while increasing the stock of affordable, accessible, integrated housing in their community. The registration deadline is Aug. 2.)
http://www.ncil.org/affordable-accessible-integrated-housing-expanding-options-for-people-with-disabilities/

This elevator could shape the cities of the future

(RECAP: Though the technology will initially be more expensive, it will save buildings money by having a much smaller footprint and allowing for greener building designs. The elevators can also increase handling capacity by up to 45%, even though they move slower than many current elevators to increase comfort.)
http://money.cnn.com/2016/05/03/technology/maglev-elevator-smart-city/index.html


New Enterprise Research – Giving Due Credit: Balancing Priorities in State Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Allocation Policies

(RECAP: The Enterprise Policy Development & Research team has released its latest report on efforts to balance cost control with building quality and resident opportunity in affordable housing. The report, Giving Due Credit: Balancing Priorities in State Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Allocation Policies, examines overall approaches to managing the Housing Credit program as well as specific provisions, incentives and tools. It also discusses the numerous options and trade-offs that policy makers and housing developers face.)
http://blog.enterprisecommunity.com/2016/06/giving-due-credit-study

The Maturation of Modular Building: A Developer's Lessons Learned

(RECAP: The process saved one developer at least 15% of the total cost of development. If modular can slash construction cost in high-cost areas while providing more affordable and workforce housing, then why isn’t it being done more?)
http://www.housingfinance.com/developments/modular-building-maturity-lessons-learned_o

June 28, 2016

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

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JCHS Releases 2016 State of the Nation's Housing Report 

Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) released The State of the Nation's Housing 2016, its latest annual report on U.S. housing trends. While the report finds that the housing market continues to recover post-crisis, it highlights serious challenges, including all-time high renter cost-burdens, growing concentrations of poverty, falling homeownership rates, and tight mortgage credit. JCHS cites state efforts, including those by state Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs), to address these challenges but concludes that increased federal investment in affordable housing is also necessary. According to the report, the overall housing market recovery has been largely driven by increased demand in the rental market. Over 36 percent of U.S. households chose to rent in 2015—the highest portion since the 1960s. Rental demand is expected to remain strong as millennials form new households and homeownership rates drop.


Bipartisan Housing Assistance Reform Bill Introduced in Senate 

Chairman Tim Scott (R-SC) and Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development introduced S. 3083, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA), to streamline and reform several federal housing assistance programs. This legislation is essentially identical to legislation the House of Representatives passed unanimously in February, H.R. 3700, on which NCSHA has previously reported.  HOTMA would make various modifications to rental housing assistance programs, including streamlining Housing Choice Voucher program inspections, simplifying the requirements for project basing vouchers, and providing public housing agencies (PHAs) greater flexibility to transfer funding between their operating and capital funds. It would also require PHAs to either begin charging fair market rent or terminate public housing assistance for households who were income-qualified at move in, but whose incomes have increased to more than 120 percent of AMI for two consecutive years.

House Republicans Unveil Tax Reform Blueprint 

The House Republican Tax Reform Task Force, chaired by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), released its blueprint for tax reform, A Better Way: A Pro-Growth Tax Code for All Americans. The blueprint is silent on both the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and tax-exempt bonds, including Housing Bonds, but declares that it would "generally eliminate special-interest deductions and credits in favor of providing lower tax rates for all businesses and eliminating taxes on business investment." The only business credit the blueprint specifically calls for is a credit to encourage research and development (R&D) that is similar to the current R&D credit.  According to the blueprint, House Republican goals in tax reform are to fuel job creation and deliver opportunity for all Americans, simplify the tax code by making it more fair and less burdensome, and transform the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by making it more focused on consumer service. It maintains that the current tax code imposes burdensome paperwork and compliance costs; picks winners and losers by encouraging investment decisions based on tax savings instead of innovation; penalizes savings and investment; encourages businesses to move overseas; enables the IRS, which it describes as an example of executive branch overreach, blatant misconduct, and government waste; and stifles economic growth.

June 22, 2016

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.


Mixed-use density in a suburban center: Clarendon Center, Arlington

(RECAP: Building density that supports walkable urban centers is a key strategy of new urbanists—but this goal is challenging in already built-out suburbs. Existing conditions, space constraints, zoning restrictions, and long approval processes often present obstacles. Despite those barriers, Arlington’s two-block Clarendon Center combines historic buildings, 244 residences, office space and a neighborhood grocery store. Extensive community involvement throughout the planning and design process helped build local support, and today the beautiful Art Deco–style development fully leverages its location next to a Washington DC Metro station.)
https://www.cnu.org/mixed-use-density-suburban-center

APA Launches Pilot Program to Recognize Comprehensive Plans

(RECAP: Communities that have integrated sustainability into their comprehensive plan may now apply for recognition from the American Planning Association (APA). The new Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places Recognition Program Pilot seeks to recognize plans that advance the principles, processes and attributes of sustainability as defined in the Comprehensive Plan Standards. The program is designed to increase awareness about the importance and value of a comprehensive plan that also addresses a community’s overall sustainability.) https://www.planning.org/content/content/9103061/

This Neural Network Reveals Your City's Secret Patterns

(RECAP: What if you could search the topography of the real world as easily as you search the Internet, all in real time? Terrapattern is a new search engine that does just that, and it could have a big impact on the workflows of government agencies, urban designers, journalists and more, within the next few years.)
https://www.fastcodesign.com/3060424/this-neural-network-reveals-your-citys-secret-patterns

Do Tax Credits Fit the New Affordable Housing Needs of Seniors?

(RECAP: There are three “givens” in the affordable housing business. One is that seniors hate vouchers. Another is that seniors want to be in segregated settings. The last is that the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program is the cheapest way to build new housing. Wrap them all together and you have the essence of a new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center, entitled “Healthy Aging Begins at Home.”)
https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2016/05/26/new-affordable-housing-needs-seniors/


Trail-Oriented Development: The Next Frontier in People-Friendly Design

(RECAP: Real estate developers and cities are becoming more responsive to cyclists’ needs by creating an increasing number of communities tailored to those who would rather bike than drive. A new ULI publication, Active Transportation and Real Estate: The Next Frontier, identifies this trend as “trail-oriented development,” the latest phase in the evolution of urban development from car-centric to people-friendly design.)
http://urbanland.uli.org/infrastructure-transit/trail-oriented-development-new-uli-report-looks-next-frontier-people-friendly-design/

June 17, 2016

Minimum Design & Construction Requirements: VHDA Would Like Your Feedback

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VHDA will begin our Annual Review of the Minimum Design and Construction Requirements (MDCR) shortly. Modifications to the 2016 requirements will affect:
All VHDA loans applied for in 2017
Properties receiving 2017 Low Income Housing Tax Credits
The MDCR Committee would like your feedback on the 2016 requirements. For those interested, please forward your comments and suggestions to Angela.Coates@vhda.com.

Comments must be received by July 11, and will be considered by the committee during the Annual Review process. Due to the expected volume of comments, a formal response cannot be guaranteed.

Please review the 2016 Minimum Design & Construction Requirements. We appreciate you taking the time to help with the 2017 VHDA Minimum Design and Construction Requirements review process.

June 14, 2016

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

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GAO Releases Report on State Housing Credit Program Administration 

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the second in its three-report series on the Housing Credit program. This report focuses on state administration of the program. Despite its title, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit: Some Agency Practices Raise Concerns and IRS Could Improve Noncompliance Reporting and Data Collection, the report finds that states are administering the program in a manner largely consistent with federal laws and regulations, and in many cases, going above and beyond their requirements. The report is based on GAO's review of all agencies' 2013 Qualified Allocation Plans (QAPs) and site visits to and more extensive reviews of eight state agencies and one subrecipient agency.

Housing Industry Groups Ask Top Regulators to Resist Altering Fannie and Freddie Capital Requirements 

Several housing industry groups sent Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew identical letters asking them to maintain their current policy regarding Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's capital standards until Congress passes comprehensive housing finance reform. The Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of REALTORS®, the American Bankers Association, the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Housing Conference signed the letters.

House Republicans Release Plan on Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility 

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-OH) released an anti-poverty plan from the Republican Task Force on Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility (Task Force). This set of proposals is part of a larger agenda entitled A Better Way: Our Vision for a Confident America that Ryan and other Republican leaders hope will provide a blueprint for what they can accomplish under a Republican president. Speaker Ryan is expected to roll out the rest of the agenda this month, with recommendations on taxes, health care, national security, regulatory reform, and Congress' constitutional authority.

Representative Jordan Introduces Bill to Eliminate Means-Tested Housing Programs 

Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, introduced H.R. 5360, the Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act, which would prohibit Congress from funding means-tested housing programs and in their place create a single state block grant for housing activities. The legislation would cap appropriations for the block grant from FY 2017 through FY 2022 at FY 2016 appropriations levels, and then cut an additional 10 percent annually from 2023 until 2028, culminating in a 50 percent reduction in funding from their total FY 2016 level.

HUD Proposes Broadband Infrastructure Requirement for Multifamily Housing  

HUD published a proposed rule, Narrowing the Digital Divide Through Installation of Broadband Infrastructure in HUD-Funded New Construction and Substantial Rehabilitation of Multifamily Rental Housing that would require owners and developers of HUD-funded multifamily housing to install broadband infrastructure at the time of construction or if the property undergoes substantial rehabilitation. This requirement is in response to recommendations made by the recently convened interagency Broadband Opportunity Council and is part of a broader set of Administration and HUD initiatives designed to address the digital divide.

HUD Seeks to Amend ConPlan Regulations to Address the Digital Divide and Climate Change  

HUD published a proposed rule, Modernizing HUD's Consolidated Planning Process to Narrow the Digital Divide and Increase Resilience to Natural Hazards, that would require jurisdictions to consider broadband access and resilience to natural hazard risks, including hazards that may result from climate change, in their Consolidated Plans (ConPlan). The ConPlan is the outcome of the comprehensive planning process that jurisdictions administering HUD Community Planning and Development programs—the Community Development Block Grant program, the HOME Investment Partnerships program, the Emergency Solutions Grants program, and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program—undertake once every five years to guide program their activities. HUD contends that requiring jurisdictions to analyze both broadband access and resilience to natural hazard risks will help ensure more complete profiles of communities' needs.

June 13, 2016

Governor McAuliffe Recognizes Virginia Homeownership Month

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Governor Terry McAuliffe proclaimed June as Virginia Homeownership Month at a celebration held today (June 13) at the Virginian Housing Development Authority. The event was held to recognize homeownership as a major factor in strengthening families, stabilizing neighborhoods, building healthy communities and promoting economic opportunity.

Speaking at today’s event, Governor McAuliffe said, “We know that safe and affordable housing is a key component for creating healthy communities in which everyone can live, work and do business, and it is essential for building a new Virginia economy.  The Commonwealth provides many programs that help our citizens achieve the goal of homeownership, and during National Homeownership Month, we recognize the critical role homeownership plays in communities across Virginia and the United States.”

Also joining the Governor for the Homeownership Month celebration was Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones, VHDA Executive Director Susan Dewey, DHCD Executive Director Bill Shelton, and Santia Nance, a VHDA first-time homebuyer.

 “Homeownership is one of the greatest sources of wealth that individuals and families can have,” said Secretary Jones.  “In addition to the stability and security provided, homeownership facilitates access to education and other assets Virginians need to pursue their dreams.”

“In communities all over Virginia, we’ve seen the difference that quality, affordable housing can make,” added Ms. Dewey. “In honor of Virginia Homeownership Month, we look forward to continuing our mission of helping Virginians attain quality affordable housing by providing housing education; affordable fixed-rate mortgages; financing for rental housing; and support for community revitalization, homelessness and housing accessibility initiatives.”

During the event, the Governor presented VHDA with a certificate of recognition proclaiming June as Virginia Homeownership Month. In addition, he was joined by many of Virginia’s housing partners, including Realtors®, lenders, homebuilders, local governments, non-profits, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development and local housing authorities.

“I qualified for a VHDA FHA mortgage with a great interest rate,” said first-time homebuyer Santia Nance, a speaker at the event. “However, what made it even better was that I also received a VHDA Down Payment Assistance Grant which covered all of my downpayment costs, and a VHDA Mortgage Credit Certificate, which should save me money on my federal taxes in the future. So, thanks to VHDA, I am now a successful first-time homebuyer – they really went the extra mile to make homeownership a reality for me!”

VHDA, in partnership with DHCD, has been a leader in assisting Virginians to attain sustainable homeownership through a number of innovative homeownership programs.

VHDA also promotes financial literacy and provides free homeownership education and counseling to assist homebuyers in understanding the costs and obligations of any home purchase.

National Homeownership Month started as a week-long celebration of homeownership during the Clinton administration in 1995. In 2002, President George W. Bush proclaimed June as National Homeownership Month with a goal of helping more families achieve the American Dream. He wished to encourage all Americans to learn more about financial management and explore homeownership opportunities in their communities.

See DHCD's photos from this event. 
Read the Governor's proclamation.

June 10, 2016

Housing Credit Program to Hold 2017 QAP Forum

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VHDA’s Housing Credit Department will be holding a 2017 QAP Forum to discuss potential updates to next year’s QAP at 10:00am Wednesday, July 13 at VHDA Headquarters located at 601 S. Belvidere St., Richmond VA, 23220 and remotely at our southwest location in Wytheville.  

Advanced registration is very important in allowing us to provide adequate accommodations for all attendees. If you have not registered and plan to attend, please do so as soon as possible here.  

June 9, 2016

New Tax Credit for First-time Homebuyers

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A version of this post originally appeared on cruvita.com

Summer is typically one of the busiest homebuying seasons across the United States, and sales of both new and existing homes have been on a rollercoaster ride for the past few months.

First-time homebuyers face a number of challenges and one of the primary issues is affordability. However, there are a number of unique programs that can help save first-time buyers money. If you’re a first-time homebuyer searching for a new home and wanting to save money, there’s a federal tax credit program that could work for you!

Mortgage Credit Certificates, known commonly as MCCs, are available in many states throughout the country. Through the MCC program, eligible first-time homebuyers can save thousands of dollars by reducing the amount they owe on their federal income tax.

MCCs are typically administered by a state’s housing/development agency, such as the Virginia Housing Development Authority, a self-supporting, not-for-profit organization created by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1972 to help Virginians attain quality, affordable housing.

You could save thousands:


If you’re eligible, an MCC could reduce the amount of federal income tax you owe, every year that you live in your house! Unlike an income tax deduction, an MCC is a dollar-for-dollar credit against your federal income tax liability.

How an MCC could save you money:

•The amount of the credit can vary by state and in Virginia it is equal to 20% of your annual mortgage interest.
•The amount of the remaining deduction also varies by state. In Virginia, the remaining 80% can still be taken as a deduction.
•An MCC is good for the life of your mortgage, for as long as you live in your home.

How to apply for an MCC:


Be sure to ask your lender or Realtor about an MCC when you first apply for your mortgage. You can also contact your state’s housing/development agency to inquire about an MCC. In Virginia, for example, you can find an approved MCC lender and get more information about MCCs at VirginiaMCC.com.

MCCs are a great option for many people, but they may not make the most sense for everyone. State housing/development agencies typically determine whether homebuyers qualify for MCCs under the Internal Revenue Code, but homebuyers must determine for themselves whether an MCC will save them money and how valuable an MCC will be for them over the life of their loan. Remember to talk to your tax advisor to see whether an MCC will save you money and how valuable an MCC will be for you over the life of your loan.

To see if you’re eligible for an MCC, talk to your mortgage lender today and you could be one step closer to owning your first home!

June 8, 2016

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.


Housing 2020: Housing Finance 

(RECAP: Ethan Handelman, Policy Director at the National Housing Conference, joined with Housing Virginia to explore the recovery and the re-shaping of our national system of housing finance. The finance chapter of Housing 2020 looks at the future of the GSEs, new mortgage products and underwriting standards, rental financing gaps and long-term interest rates.)
http://www.housingvirginia.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Housing2020Finance.pdf

Rentals in two- to four-unit buildings are more affordable, so why are they so hard to finance?

(RECAP: Two- to four-unit properties have always made up a tiny share of total single-family lending, but their importance is unequivocal. From 2000 to 2007, these units comprised between just 5 and 6 percent of all single-family lending but provided 19 percent of the rental housing stock and an even higher share of the affordable housing stock. Unfortunately, financing these units has become difficult: lending plunged to just 2 to 3 percent of the market after 2009, reflecting tightened loan-to-value requirements since the housing crisis.)
http://www.urban.org/urban-wire/rentals-two-four-unit-buildings-are-more-affordable-so-why-are-they-so-hard-finance

Industry Outlook for Adaptive Use

(RECAP: Experts in adaptive use discuss how they evaluate existing buildings for adaptive use potential, how to avoid common pitfalls, how to balance sustainability with preservation and other trends.)
http://urbanland.uli.org/development-business/outlook-adaptive-use/

Community Living Skeptics Often Have Change Of Heart

(RECAP: Professionals know the research and support the changes in practice and policy regarding deinstitutionalization, but families are often unaware and skeptical of community living. Despite initial opposition, a new study suggests many families of those with disabilities required to transition from institutions to community living are ultimately pleased with the outcome.)
https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2016/05/17/community-living-skeptics-change/22323/

The incredible possibilities of 'invisible' wood

(RECAP: In a world where modern urban architecture relies heavily on the use of glass and steel, replacing these materials with transparent, biodegradable wood could revolutionize design concepts -- as well as reduce heating costs and help to lower fuel consumption.)
http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/23/architecture/clear-wood-architecture/index.html

June 7, 2016

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

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Representatives Urge Regulators to Reassess Fannie and Freddie Capital Standards 

Thirty-two congressional Democrats sent a letter earlier today to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew expressing concerns about a current policy that requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to reduce the amount of capital they hold. The letter, which was drafted by House Financial Services Committee member Michael Capuano (D-MA), asks the regulators to reassess this policy. As a condition for receiving assistance from the federal government, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are currently required to send Treasury any business income they generate at the end of each quarter. In addition, while the GSEs are allowed to keep enough assets to maintain a "capital buffer" to protect against losses temporarily, that buffer must be reduced each year until it is zero by January 1, 2018.

NCSHA President Tom Gleason Makes the Case for Housing Bonds at House and Senate Briefings 

MassHousing Executive Director Emeritus and NCSHA President Tom Gleason on June 2 participated as NCSHA's representative in two panel briefing sessions on Capitol Hill—one for House staff and the other for Senate staff—on the importance of tax-exempt municipal bonds. The Municipal Bonds for America (MBFA) coalition, in which NCSHA participates, sponsored the briefings to educate congressional staff about how bonds work, the many uses of bonds, and why they are critical to state and local governments. Gleason explained how MassHousing uses bonds to make homeownership possible for first-time home buyers and finance affordable rental housing for low-income households. "If the tax exemption goes away, you'll see a classic economic response. Investors are currently willing to accept a lower return because of the tax exemption. If it goes away, the market would drift higher and the consumer would have to pay more. They would pay more for a mortgage or higher rent on an apartment. It's as simple as that," said Gleason.


HUD Housing Counseling Advisory Committee Includes HFA Representative HUD announced earlier this week the members of its inaugural Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee (HCFAC). The Committee, which was authorized under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, will advise HUD about how it can best utilize its resources to provide more borrowers with HUD-approved counseling services. The appointees include Terri Redmond, Manager of Counseling and Education for Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA). Since Redmond joined PHFA 12 years ago, its counseling program has grown exponentially. Its counseling partner network has increased by 100 percent, and currently assists over 25,000 clients annually, up from 640 in 2003.


June 2, 2016

Three Ways First-time Homebuyers Can Take Their Best Shot at Homeownership

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VHDA provided the following guest blog post on Cruvita.com.


If you’re thinking about buying your first home, you may be wondering where the down payment will come from, how much you can afford, and whether you’re prepared for the responsibilities of homeownership. If that sounds like you, there are a number of programs available to help. From California to New York and Texas to Michigan, housing/development agencies offer a number of programs to assist first-time homebuyers. In Virginia, for example, the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) offers programs to help Virginians attain quality, affordable housing.

Here are three programs that are common in many states and can help make your dream of homeownership a reality:

Federal Tax Credit for First-time Homebuyers. 
If you’re eligible, a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) could save you thousands of dollars by reducing the amount of federal income tax you owe. Unlike an income tax deduction, an MCC is a dollar-for-dollar credit against your federal income tax liability. The MCC is effective for the life of your mortgage, so you could potentially save money on your taxes every year, for as long as you live in your home. You must ask about an MCC when you first apply for a mortgage — if you wait until after you’ve applied, it will be too late!

Homebuyer Class. 
Many local or state housing/development agencies or local nonprofit organizations offer in-depth courses for homebuyers. They cover topics such as credit, setting up a spending plan, working with a lender and real estate agent, the home inspection and the closing process. Classes may be offered in multiple languages and students may be able to choose online or classroom training. Each state will vary, but in Virginia, you can find a class or take it online at vhda.com/FreeClass.

Affordable Home Mortgages. 
Local or state housing/development agencies typically offer a variety of home mortgage loans for first-time homebuyers. Some of these loans are fixed-rate, 30-year mortgages, and some don’t require a down payment. Many loans have maximum income and sales price limits and/or loan limits, which vary according to where the home is located. Contact your local or state housing/development agency to get all the details on these affordable home mortgages. Your mortgage lender can provide this information as well.

Financing your home is just one part of the process. There are lots of tools and resources, like Cruvita, that can help you find your next home. With lenders, real estate agents and programs like these, homebuyers can take their best shot at homeownership, and hopefully take home a win!



June 1, 2016

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.


June is National Homeownership Month

America first celebrated homeownership on a national level in 1995 during the Clinton administration. In the beginning, it was a weeklong celebration. Then, in 2002, President George W. Bush proclaimed June National Homeownership Month, with the goal of encouraging more families to explore homeownership opportunities in their communities. Here is an excerpt from his proclamation:

“Homeownership encourages personal responsibility and the values necessary for strong families. Where homeownership flourishes, neighborhoods are more stable, residents are more civic-minded, schools are better, and crime rates decline.”



First ABLE Accounts Expected This Summer

(RECAP: A year and a half after legislation paved the way for people with disabilities to save without jeopardizing their government benefits, the first accounts are poised to become available. Before the public could open the new accounts, states had to pass legislation and establish regulations for the new savings vehicle. Virginia is expected to launch its ABLE program this year.)
https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2016/05/10/first-able-accounts-expected/22293/

Making Mixed-Income Developments Work

(RECAP: A single development with an intentional income mix involves very specific challenges — both in its design and its management.)
http://www.shelterforce.org/article/4442/making_mixed-income_developments_work/

Recession-scarred Millennials fuel growing interest in tiny homes

(RECAP: There are apartments, condos, mansions and now, increasingly — tiny houses. There are now an estimated 10,000 tiny houses — up from just a couple hundred less than five years ago — as people look to take on less financial risk. This has become especially popular for millenials who are looking for cheaper options as they deal with an inconsistent job market and student lone debt.)
http://www.usatoday.com/longform/money/2016/05/18/recession-millennials-tiny-home-house/84284316/

Resilience Building Coalition Releases Progress Report

(RECAP: In conjunction with the White House Conference on Resilient Building Codes, the Resilience Building Coalition released a report on the progress made across the design and building industries on enhancing resiliency. The report, “Preparing to Thrive: The Building Industry Statement on Resilience,” is an actionable framework that identifies five areas of commitment to be proactive in resilience.)
https://www.planning.org/content/content/9102552/

What Senior Living Gets Wrong about Sustainable Design

(RECAP: Often, when senior living providers think about sustainable design, they consider a design’s environmental value — such as its carbon footprint — and a design’s economic value. Many senior living providers are failing to consider the social dimension of sustainable design. That’s where the idea of Biophilic Design can play an important role.)
http://seniorhousingnews.com/2016/05/16/senior-living-gets-wrong-sustainable-design/

The Art of Revitalization

(RECAP: Everyone yearns for a safe place to live, learn, work and play; and the arts are widely regarded as a cure for a variety of related issues. A creative community can revitalize a neighborhood and improve quality of life outcomes for its community members, explains a Princeton University working paper on the impact of arts on community.)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-novick-okeefe/the-art-of-revitalization_b_9990706.html