June 13, 2017

Crescent Square Apartments Help Address Homelessness in Virginia Beach

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Building marks the fifth permanent supportive housing development supported by VSH and VHDA in Hampton Roads


When Crescent Square Apartments opened in Virginia Beach in 2016, it provided 80 units for 42 individuals experiencing homelessness and 38 whose incomes are 50 percent or less than the median income.  This development marks the fifth time that Virginia Supportive Housing and the Virginia Housing Development Authority have partnered on permanent supportive housing developments in the Hampton Roads region, bringing a total of 320 of these types of units to the region.

“Crescent Square represents a tremendous collaboration with public and private partners who are vested in meeting the region’s demand for supportive and affordable housing,” said Allison Bogdanovic, executive director of VSH. “Local officials recognize that supportive housing is a proven and cost-effective model that works, as evidenced by the fact that 95 percent of our clients do not return to homelessness.”

VSH takes the “Housing First” approach to addressing homelessness by housing individuals first, then helping to address their needs with on-site case management services. Case managers assist in securing income, health insurance, healthcare services and other supports to help clients stabilize and re-establish their independence.

The units in the four-story, mixed-income development are approximately 360 square feet and contain a kitchen with full refrigerator and oven, full bathroom, and a closet. Furnishings are provided in each apartment, including a bed, dresser, table, and two chairs. In addition to apartments, the building has a community room with a kitchen and outdoor patio, fitness room, computer room, laundry facilities, a front desk, and staff offices. There is also an extensive security system and off-street parking.

Crescent Square received EarthCraft Virginia Platinum certification for resource and energy efficiency; in addition, all 80 units meet VHDA’s Universal Design requirements and 10 percent of the units are fully accessible. Also, the development incorporates a solar system designed to reduce the building's energy load and a solar thermal water heater system.

In addition to VHDA’s $2 million in SPARC financing, the project included approximately $5.5 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity as well as funding by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, the City of Norfolk, City of Virginia Beach, and several foundations. Also, the Virginia Beach Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation and the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority provided project-based rental assistance. Total development costs were approximately $12.4 million.

Other projects developed in Hampton Roads by VSH with VHDA financing include Gosnold Apartments in Norfolk, Cloverleaf Apartments in Virginia Beach, South Bay Apartments in Portsmouth and Heron’s Landing in Chesapeake. These four additional developments were the result of a regional partnership among Hampton Roads cities.

 Finally, a sixth property will soon be joining the mix. Church Street Station in Norfolk is currently under construction and will be completed by early 2018. Like Crescent Square, it is being developed by VSH with VHDA financing, and will be providing 80 additional units of permanent supportive housing to Hampton Roads.

In addition to the six properties in Hampton Roads, VSH and VHDA have also partnered on four other properties across the state, bringing the total to 10 permanent supportive housing developments to help fight homelessness in Virginia.  

June 7, 2017

Former Prison Reformed into Mixed-Use Residential and Commercial Community

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The historic Lorton prison in Fairfax County has thrown its doors open for some new residents. A $55 million project, financed in part by VHDA, is rehabilitating the century-old former reformatory, transforming it into a vibrant urban village with apartments, shops, restaurants, offices and more.

“Cooperation of several sources was necessary to raise the capital to convert the former Lorton prison into affordable housing,” said Brad Beaman, senior development officer at VHDA. Those sources include Housing Credits (also known as Low-Income Housing Tax Credits), historic tax credits, VHDA tax-exempt bond financing and a long-term land lease with Fairfax County.

The community includes 165 units now called Liberty Crest Apartments, plus more than 35,000
square feet of commercial space. According to Beaman, the multifamily rental units are restricted with the following income limits: 26 percent at 50 percent of the area median income; 24 percent at 120 percent of AMI; and 50 percent with unrestricted income. The commercial space will consist of the former chapel, pool and power plant on the property.

This is not the first development on the property. Parts of the 2,323-acre prison, which once housed a missile defense system, currently include a subdivision, a senior living campus, an arts center and a golf course. Phase 2 of the project will add 107 townhomes and single-family homes.

Beaman said this was the first project VHDA has done with the developer, The Alexander Company, Inc. and Southway Builders, the general contractor. VHDA provided $24.4 million in permanent financing including funds from REACH Virginia, VHDA’s pool of internally generated resources for meeting state housing needs. Other capital came from Housing Credits, state and federal historic tax credits and borrower equity.

All but six of the 55 historic sites will be retained and reused in this community development initiative. There’s more to come! VHDA is also providing a loan and Housing Credits for the Lindsay Hill Senior Apartments development immediately adjacent to Liberty Crest on the Lorton site.

More info: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/liberty-opens-its-doors-for-new-residents-at-former-lorton-prison/

June 6, 2017

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

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President Donald J. Trump Proclaims June 2017 as National Homeownership Month

During National Homeownership Month, we recognize the many benefits of homeownership to our families, our communities, and our Nation.  For generations of Americans, owning a home has been an essential element in achieving the American Dream.  Homeownership is often the foundation of security and prosperity for families and communities and an enduring symbol of American freedom.

This month, we recommit to ensuring that hard-working Americans enjoy a fair chance at becoming homeowners. In the years since the Great Recession, homeownership rates have dipped to historic lows.  Many Americans are not confident they will ever own a home, a tragic consequence of a decade of weak economic growth, excessive regulations, and stagnant wages.  Many young families are unable to achieve the independence they desire because they have difficulty saving for a down payment, overcoming regulatory burdens, or gaining access to adequate credit.  These challenges are even more pronounced for minorities, whose homeownership rates remain substantially below those of their fellow Americans.

I am committed to helping hard-working Americans become homeowners.  As part of my Administration's plan to strengthen the middle class and the American housing market, I am working with the Congress on a pro-growth agenda of reducing rules and regulations, cutting taxes, and eliminating unnecessary government spending.  These policies will unshackle our economy and create and sustain high-paying jobs so that more Americans have the resources and freedom they deserve to fulfill their American Dream.


HUD Publishes FY 2017 HOME and HTF Program Income Limits

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released the FY 2017 Rent Limits and Income Limits for HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) and Housing Trust Fund (HTF).
All updated limits are effective as of June 15, 2017. They are available on the HUD Exchange at the link below:

  • 2017 HOME Income Limits
  • 2017 HOME Rent Limits
  • 2017 HTF Income Limits
  • 2017 HTF Rent Limits

https://www.hudexchange.info/resource/5333/notice-cpd-1705-guidance-for-htf-grantees-on-fy-2017-htf-allocation-plans/

CFPB Announces Upcoming Assessment of Ability-to-Repay Rule 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that CFPB will be conducting an assessment of its Ability-to-Repay rule (ATR rule). The Notice seeks public input on CFPB's plans for the assessment and recommendations for improving it. The ATR rule, which took effect in January 2014, outlines the steps mortgage originators are required to take to obtain and verify information to determine whether a consumer can afford to repay a mortgage. It also establishes a set of criteria that a mortgage loan must meet to be considered a "qualified mortgage" (QM). If a mortgage loan meets the QM criteria, the originator is presumed to have complied with the requirements of the ATR rule. NCSHA previously summarized the ATR-QM rule in more detail on its blog after CFPB first published the final rule. HFA program loans are currently exempt from the requirements of the ATR rule, an exemption NCSHA advocated for. This exemption applies to both loans originated directly by HFAs and loans originated by HFAs' lender partners pursuant to HFA programs.


First-time Buyers Account for 60 Percent of Purchases

The share of first-time homebuyers continues to rise, now accounting for almost half of all GSE purchase loans and more than 80 percent of FHA loans, according to the May 2017 Chartbook, released by the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center. According to the Chartbook, 47.1 percent of all GSE purchases loans were first-time homebuyers in February 2017, while a whopping 82 percent of FHA loans came from first-timers. When combined, about 60 percent of all purchase loans for the month of February were from first-time buyers—just below the 2009 peak of 63 percent. For the first time in 10 years, the creation of new-owner households outpaced new-renter households. The Chartbook attributed the rise to an “improving economy, falling unemployment, and rising household formation and income.” An increase in new home construction-particularly that of smaller, less expensive homes has also helped spur first-time buyer growth.


Carson Touts Importance of Homeownership at HUD Forum 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) held a housing forum, "A New Era of Homeownership," to mark the beginning of National Homeownership Month, as declared by President Trump. The social and financial benefits of homeownership for Americans and the economy was a common thread throughout the entire forum. In his opening remarks, HUD Secretary Ben Carson emphasized the significance of homeownership, stating, "The importance of homeownership is apparent to all of us: security, certainty, safety, wealth creation, a path forward, self-sufficiency, a place to live with loved ones, to raise our families, the location of our neighborhood." Secretary Carson continued his remarks by expressing the "good news" of a steadily improving homeownership rate in the country, despite the rate remaining at a near historic low. In the second quarter of last year, the national homeownership rate, 62.9 percent, was at its lowest point in over fifty years. Carson announced that the current homeownership rate is 63.6 percent, saying "These figures represent more than paper, facts, titles, and mortgages. We can see the hopes and dreams, the aspirations and excitement of homeownership."

June 1, 2017

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

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The 2017 State of the Nation's Housing Report Will be Released on Friday, June 16

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies will release its 2017 State of the Nation's Housing report with a live webcast from the National League of Cities in Washington, DC on Friday, June 16. The report, which has been released annually since 1988, describes key trends in both national and metropolitan-level homeownership and rental markets, reviews key economic and demographic trends that are shaping current and future demand in those markets, discusses growing challenges in housing affordability and the rise of concentrated poverty throughout metropolitan areas, and examines access to mortgage finance.


FHFA Seeks Stakeholder Impact on Expanding Mortgage Credit Access for Borrowers with Limited English Proficiency  

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a Request for Input on how the single family housing market can better serve qualified borrowers with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). FHFA published this request to advance one of the goals of its 2017 Scorecard for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Common Securitization Solutions, which calls on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to identify obstacles impacting LEP borrowers and formulate plans for increasing such borrowers' access to mortgage credit. FHFA specifically requests information on what tools mortgage lenders, servicers, housing counselors, and other mortgage industry participants currently use to assist LEP borrowers and whether they are effective. The Request also asks about the specific barriers that make it difficult for LEP borrowers to access the mortgage market.


Fannie Mae Program Encourages Healthier Home Design

Healthy Housing Rewards is a financial incentive which will, in its first phase, include a price break to borrowers who incorporate designs which improve air quality, encourage physical activity, and feature common space, community gardens and playgrounds.  "When we strengthen the connection between affordable housing and the long-term health and stability of the people and families who live there, we help create more sustainable communities across the country,” explained Jeffery Hayward, Executive Vice President, Multifamily, Fannie Mae.
Conditions of eligibility include meeting affordability standards set by Fannie Mae with at least 60% of units for those that are earning 60% of median income or less.  Criteria for healthy housing must also be met according to the Center for Active Design's Healthy Housing Index, with a score of 90 required for eligible borrowers.



Fannie Mae Updates Requirements for Green Building Financing Option

Fannie Mae has made some revisions to its popular Green Financing program to improve the processing of green mortgage loans.  On Monday May 22nd, it issued a modified standard Guidance Form 4099 and 4099.H that updates the scope and format of the High Performance Building (HPB) Report, which is a requirement of Fannie Mae’s Green Rewards Program and implemented a delegated review process where Lenders are authorized to review and approve HPB reports.  Other recent changes include the price break given to assets with Green Building Certifications. The changes are effective immediately and aim to improve the speed and quality of its green programs.

May 31, 2017

Governor's Housing Conference 2017: Fostering Inclusive Communities

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Each year, the Governor's Housing Conference is packed full of educational sessions led by experts in housing, finance and community development, plus some great networking opportunities with colleagues from across the state. This year's theme is Fostering Inclusive Communities.

Registration is open for the Conference, scheduled for Nov. 15-17 in Norfolk.

Register Now 

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 TaxCreditApps@VHDA.com

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.
http://www.instituteccd.org/news/5254

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."
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/16/the-21st-century-utopia-cities-without-slums.html

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.
https://www.zillow.com/blog/millennials-diversity-housing-209688/

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.”
https://www.citylab.com/equity/2017/04/learning-from-two-months-of-illuminating-abandoned-homes/523317/



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, www.FHFA.gov/DTS, 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 ghc@dhcd.virginia.gov or submit your plans, drawings and narrative to alan.mcmahan@dhcd.virginia.gov

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.”
http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/generation-x-real-estate-comeback/

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.
http://www.housingfinance.com/management-operations/developers-message_o

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.
http://www.housingwire.com/articles/39858-heres-what-these-companies-are-doing-to-increase-hispanic-homeownership?eid=381445623&bid=1725762

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 vhda.com/LoanCombo, 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

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

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Governor McAuliffe Announces More Than $8.4 Million in Affordable and Special Needs Housing Loans

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced more than $8.4 million in Affordable and Special Needs Housing loans for 15 projects in 13 localities across the Commonwealth.  These projects will create or maintain nearly 570 affordable housing units. They are focused on affordable new construction and rehabilitation housing options as well as permanent supportive housing options for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Using a streamlined and competitive application process at the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), qualifying applicants are eligible to receive funding through the HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME), National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), and the Virginia Housing Trust Fund (VHTF).  DHCD allocated more than $3.3 million in VHTF loans, nearly $2.9 million in NHTF, more than $1.7 million in HOME funding, and $500,000 in Permanent Supportive Housing funding for this round.


House Financial Services Committee Advances Dodd-Frank Reform Bill 

The House Financial Services Committee favorably reported the Financial Choice Act (The CHOICE Act, H.R. 10), which would repeal and replace a number of provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. The bill includes several provisions that could impact the rules governing HFA lending programs and ways of financing them.

Congress Passes FY 2017 Spending Omnibus 

Both the House and Senate passed the FY 2017 omnibus spending package funding government agencies, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), for the remainder of FY 2017, which ends September 30. In good news for affordable housing and HFAs, the bill level funds the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program at $950 million, the same level of funding that House and Senate appropriators had agreed to last year when negotiating an FY 2017 omnibus appropriations bill that was ultimately not enacted.

Senate Confirms Jay Clayton for SEC Commissioner 

The U.S. Senate confirmed Jay Clayton's nomination to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Clayton was previously a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, an international law firm. Clayton was officially sworn in as SEC Chair. Two of the SEC's five commissioner slots remain vacant. President Trump has not yet announced nominees for open positions.

May 5, 2017

Virginia's 2017 LIHTC Preliminary Rankings

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Virginia's 2017 LIHTC Preliminary Rankings are now available for review and general comment.

Review the Rankings

To review the Rankings, visit the Housing Credit website.

Comments

There will be a general comment period from May 3, 2017 through May 10, 2017.
Comment on the scoring categories or the amount of feasible credits for any application.
This will be followed by a rebuttal period from May 10 until May 17.
Final rankings will be posted in June following the VHDA Board meeting.

Your comments should be sent to JD Bondurant, Director of LIHTC Programs, by 12:00 p.m. May 10, 2017, via one of the following ways:
•          email at taxcreditapps@vhda.com
•          email at jd.bondurant@vhda.com
•          regular mail at 601 S. Belvidere Street, Richmond, VA 23220

Printing Tips

To print the preliminary rankings, you will need Acrobat Reader.
The pdf will print on both legal and letter size paper depending on your preference.

May 3, 2017

Proof of Housing's Impact on Virginia

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We already knew it, and now we have an official study to prove it: Housing is huge for Virginia's economy! The study I'm talking about was commissioned by the Governor's Housing Policy Advisory Council, and conducted by a coalition of state universities including Virginia Tech, George Mason, VCU and William & Mary. The first part of the research was completed last year and showed that housing contributed $47.8 billion dollars to Virginia's economy, including $23.3 billion in value added to gross state product, $14.2 billion in labor income, and more than 314,000 jobs. This makes housing the sixth largest private sector industry in the Commonwealth!

The researchers are also looking at other housing-related topics, such as revitalization and development, transportation, workforce issues, health and education. We expect the full study to be completed in the summer or fall of this year, and it will be available at the Governor's Housing Conference. As part of the study, the universities also created this infographic.

Susan Dewey, Executive Director of VHDA

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

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Administration Releases Tax Plan Outline 

The Trump Administration recently released a one-page outline of tax reform principles and objectives it intends to pursue this year. The document calls for reductions in individual and corporate tax rates to be paid for, at least in part, by economic growth the Administration estimates the proposed changes will create and by eliminating tax deductions and other tax "breaks." Specifically, the proposed changes include lowering the corporate tax rate (including for pass-through corporations) to 15 percent from 35 percent and the tax rate for top individual earners to 35 percent from 39.6 percent. The proposal also calls for the elimination of the estate tax, Alternative Minimum Tax, and Affordable Care Act surtax on high incomes.

The document also says the Administration proposes to double the standard deduction for all individuals, provide tax relief for families with child and dependent care expenses, "eliminate targeted tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthiest individuals," and "protect the home ownership and charitable gift tax deductions." In its "Business Reform" section, the paper calls for the elimination of "tax breaks for special interests." The paper does not provide any information on what specific tax credits, deductions, or exemptions the Administration proposes to eliminate. It does not mention the Housing Credit, municipal bonds, or private activity bonds. During a White House briefing Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said, "we are going to eliminate on the personal side all tax deductions other than mortgage interest and charitable deductions."


Trump Nominates Pam Patenaude for Deputy HUD Secretary  

The White House announced that President Donald Trump intends to nominate Pamela Patenaude to serve as Deputy Secretary for Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Patenaude is currently president of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for America's Families, an organization that seeks to elevate housing's place on the political agenda. Patenaude has held a variety of housing policy positions in both the public and private sectors. She served as HUD Deputy Secretary for Community Planning and Development under President George W. Bush and as HUD's White House liaison under President Reagan. She also previously administered the Section 8 program for the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority. Before joining the Terwilliger Foundation, Patenaude was Director of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Housing Commission. She has also served as executive vice president of the Urban Land Institute.



Homeownership Ready to Rise after Hitting an All-Time Low

  • First-quarter gain in owners was biggest in more than a decade 
  • Wage growth, rising confidence pushing more people to buy 

The U.S. homeownership rate is finally poised to rise significantly as household formations by owners grew faster in the first quarter than those by renters -- the first time that’s happened in more than a decade. While the share of Americans who owned their homes was up only slightly from a year earlier, at 63.6 percent, the number of new owners jumped by more than 850,000, compared with an increase in renter households of 365,000. The 1.1 percent year-over-year gain in owners was also the biggest since 2006, according to an analysis by Trulia of Census Bureau data.


Fannie Mae Announces New Programs to Break through Student Loan Roadblock

Cash-out refinance, new debt-to-income calculations spur homeownership
Fannie Mae announced a significant expansion of its student loan cash-out refinance program and introduced new policies to help borrowers with student loan debt get qualified for mortgage loans. “We understand the significant role that a monthly student loan payment plays in a potential home buyer’s consideration to take on a mortgage, and we want to be a part of the solution,” said Jonathan Lawless, vice president of customer solutions at Fannie Mae. “These new policies provide three flexible payment solutions to future and current homeowners and, in turn, allow lenders to serve more borrowers.” The level of student debt in the U.S. has spiraled over the last decade to $1.4 trillion, effectively locking out millions of potential homebuyers from the market. The new Fannie Mae programs address specific roadblocks that these borrowers face, providing a jump-start to a whole generation of homebuyers.

April 25, 2017

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

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Financial Services Committee Chair Introduces Draft Financial Regulatory Reform Bill 

House Financial Services Committee Chair Jeb Hensalring (R-TX) recently released a discussion draft of comprehensive financial regulatory reform legislation he intends to introduce soon. The Committee has scheduled a hearing on this legislation, titled the CHOICE Act, for April 26 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time. Hensarling introduced similar legislation last Congress. The discussion draft includes several provisions that may have affect rules governing HFA bond programs. Specifically, the bill requires the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to consider several factors when proposing and finalizing new regulations, including an identification of the need for the regulation and the regulatory objective; an analysis of the adverse impacts regulated entities and other market participants could experience; and a quantitative and qualitative assessment of all anticipated direct and indirect costs and benefits of the regulation.


MBA Offers Detailed GSE Reform Proposal

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released a white paper GSE Reform: Creating a Sustainable, More Vibrant, Secondary Mortgage Market which provides a detailed picture of a reformed and revitalized secondary mortgage market. It also attempts to shed light on two critical areas that have tested past reform efforts - the appropriate transition to the reformed system and the role of the secondary market in advancing an affordable housing strategy.

"This paper not only lays out a detailed end state solution that will work for the residential and multifamily markets, but also the transition steps to accomplish this goal," said Rodrigo Lopez CMB, Executive Chairman of NorthMarq Capital and Chairman of MBA. "We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to find a permanent, sustainable solution to the government's role in housing finance that doesn't repeat the mistakes that led to the crisis."


Report: “CFPB Offers Much-Needed Protection”

The Trump administration entered the White House on a promise to examine and possibly eliminate many Obama-era initiatives, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Trulia wanted to know a few things about the CFPB‒‒namely  where consumers have asked the bureau for help in resolving mortgage disputes, who’s doing the asking, and what types of loans the CFPB deals with‒‒before the CFPB comes under more intense scrutiny or sees its mission changed. What Trulia found was that if the bureau is eliminated or even streamlined , it “could be a blow for thousands of mortgage borrowers who have used the CFPB’s dispute resolution to act as an intermediary in their cases," according to a report issued Wednesday. In its first five years, Trulia reported, CFPB has returned more than $11.8 billion from financial institutions on behalf of 29 million consumers.


The Rewards of Green Financing

Fannie Mae’s multifamily chief explains how dedicating capital to measures that save energy and water pay off, especially in the affordable sector. Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies says utility costs represent some 15 percent of income for renters with incomes below $15,000, but just one percent for those with incomes of $75,000 or more.
Green financing allows owners to cut operating expenses and extend the life of the property. Over 80 percent of the units we finance are affordable for working families, and greening those buildings can mean lower utility bills for tenants.

April 20, 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.


Millennials Desire Affordable Homeownership In the Suburbs

RECAP: The idea that young adults value urban living and the flexibility of renting above all else is a misconception. The Los Angeles Times says that affordability is the main driver of decisions made by millennial households. Reports by Zillow and Harvard found that Millennials want to live in the suburbs, where homeownership makes more financial sense than renting an expensive apartment in an urban center. Nearly half of all millennial homeowners live in the suburbs, compared to 33 percent who live in the city. The idea was if millennials could afford to purchase a home, they would, and did so in low-cost markets like Birmingham, Detroit, Minneapolis and St. Louis.
https://www.probuilder.com/millennials-desire-affordable-homeownership-suburbs

L.A. Finally Has The Money To Fight Homelessness. Here's How Architecture Can Help The Cause

RECAP: In the last two elections, Los Angeles voters overwhelmingly supported both Proposition HHH and Measure H, which combined will permanently rehouse thousands of people living on L.A.’s streets and provide services to keep tens of thousands more from falling into homelessness in the first place. Lingering NIMBYism (Not In My Backyard) combined with soaring housing costs will make acting on the promise of Proposition HHH and Measure H a challenge. It is here where architecture may be able to provide some assistance. Together two USC professors developed “Homes for Hope” — a flexible, affordable and code-compliant solution for bridge housing.  This isn’t permanent supportive housing. It’s a steppingstone — a dignified place to get one’s bearings and stop the free fall.
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/livable-city/la-ol-homeless-measure-h-architecture-nimby-20170310-story.html


In Chicago and Philadelphia, the Difference a Park Makes

RECAP: Occupying 21 acres in the middle of this city’s largest Mexican-American neighborhood, called Little Village, the park used to be a brownfield and illegal dump. Back then, the site leached toxins into hundreds of nearby basements. Sickened residents protested for years. The federal cleanup, finally completed in 2012, became the largest urban Superfund project in America. EPA’s Superfund program is responsible for cleaning up some of the nation’s most contaminated land and responding to environmental emergencies, oil spills and natural disasters. To protect public health and the environment, the Superfund program focuses on making a visible and lasting difference in communities, ensuring that people can live and work in healthy, vibrant places.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/12/arts/design/chicago-philadelphia-parks-rahm-emanuel.html?_r=3

Trulia gives pets the whole “pawspective” with new For Sale and Rental pawperty detail pages

RECAP: The cat is officially out of the bag! Just like their two-legged companions, pets want to live in a place that suits their individual lifestyle and sense of self. They want to put paws down close to their fur friends in a forever home. Finding the right home quickly and easily is crucial to living a long and happy life, for any species. Our goal at Trulia is to make finding a home easy and enjoyable, so we’re excited to announce the launch of for sale and rental listings for pets on Trulia. Trulia added neighborhood petmenities, like big climbing trees for cats and fire hydrants for dogs, so pets can easily get the scoop on how a pawperty’s neighborhood stacks up against the rest. Each petmentity is given a rating, so our feline friends can see that bird watching in a pawperty’s neighborhood is “above average,” or that the amount of “needy humans” in the area is “lowest,” cluing them in to so much more than just the home.
https://www.trulia.com/blog/tech/pet-listings-april-fools/#sthash.k7F6oZOY.dpuf

VHDA Creates New Rural Housing Advisory Council

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VHDA recently created a new Rural Housing Advisory Council, which will provide guidance and expertise about housing issues in rural Virginia. In addition, the council will provide input on modifying existing VHDA programs and developing new programs to address identified housing needs in rural areas.

“Rural housing is an important priority for VHDA; in fact, the issue was a central theme at the Governor’s Housing Conference this past fall,” said VHDA Executive Director Susan Dewey. “VHDA will be relying greatly on the expertise of our Rural Housing Advisory Council members as they provide guidance for our programs so that we can continue to make a positive impact on the affordable housing needs across the state.”

The Council will typically meet three times a year – once in the spring, once in the fall, and at an annual holiday luncheon in December with other forms of communication used throughout the year if necessary.

The first meeting of the Rural Housing Advisory Council was held on April 19, 2017 at VHDA’s Virginia Housing Center in Glen Allen. The fall meeting will be held at VHDA’s Southwest Virginia Housing Center in Wytheville.

“VHDA has been actively engaged in addressing rural housing opportunities in the Commonwealth for a number of years,” said VHDA Managing Director of Community Outreach Mike Hawkins. “For example, the Homeownership Division recently became part of a pilot project to address manufactured housing under a USDA Rural Development Program. Also, the Rental Division has been very involved over the last several years in the preservation of USDA Rural Development-financed affordable multifamily developments. Finally, the Community Outreach Division has been very engaged in promoting homeownership education in rural communities and providing capacity building grants to rural housing organizations. We look forward to continuing and expanding upon this work with the help of our new Rural Housing Advisory Council members.”

For more information about the Rural Housing Advisory Council or VHDA’s programs and services, please contact Mike Hawkins, Managing Director of Community Outreach, at mike.hawkins@vhda.com or 804-343-5654.

April 18, 2017

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

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HUD Releases Housing Credit Tenant Data Report 

HUD recently published Understanding Whom the LIHTC Program Serves: Data on Tenants in LIHTC Units as of December 31, 2014, providing demographic and economic data about Housing Credit tenants, including race, ethnicity, family composition, age, income, use of rental assistance, disability status, and monthly rent burden of tenants. The median annual income of Housing Credit tenant households was $17,152. Approximately 47 percent of tenants were extremely low-income, earning 30 percent or less of area median income (AMI); 34 percent of households were very low-income, earning between 30 and 50 percent of AMI; and the remaining 19 percent earn more than 50 percent of AMI.

Approximately 56 percent of Housing Credit households pay 30 percent or less of their income for rent, while 9.5 percent pay over 50 percent of their income for rent. Nearly 38 percent of tenants reported receiving rental assistance, 43 percent reported not receiving rental assistance, and 20 percent did not report whether they receive rental assistance. According to the report, 23 percent of tenants identified their race as white, 23 percent identified as black or African American, 9 percent identified as Hispanic, 2 percent identified as Asian, and 1 percent identified as either American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander. Approximately 40 percent of respondents did not report on race or ethnicity, as allowed under fair housing laws.


New Hensarling CHOICE Act to Include Further Changes to CFPB, FHFA 

House Financial Services Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) earlier this week released a chart outlining several new provisions he intends to include in comprehensive financial reform legislation (The CHOICE Act) that he plans to introduce by the end of the month. The chart highlights areas of the new bill that will differ from similar legislation Hensarling introduced last Congress. Several of the new provisions could have a direct impact on those regulations that affect HFA housing programs. Specifically, the revised bill would severely constrict the power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which oversees much of the mortgage lending industry.

The bill would rename the CFPB as the Consumer Financial Opportunity Agency (CFOA) and limit it to enforcing current consumer protection laws. The bill would also prohibit the agency from writing new consumer protection rules, exerting supervisory authority over financial firms, or enforcing fair lending laws. The bill would establish a single director as head of the new CFOA, the same model that now applies to the CFPB. Unlike current CFPB law, however, the bill would authorize the President to remove the CFOA director at will (currently, the President can only remove the CFPB director for cause). This is a departure from the original CHOICE Act, which would have replaced CFPB's single director structure with a bipartisan commission.


Find Out What Virginia’s Housers are Thinking about Current and Future Affordable Housing Needs

Housing Virginia Survey

We asked and you answered, and the results are in! We’ve checked the pulse of the affordable housing industry with a short survey of housing affordability in the Commonwealth. We wanted to know how members of the affordable housing industry perceive the shifting challenges of affordable housing.

Reminder: this is just a snapshot of how the survey respondents are feeling about several issues – it’s not a rigorously selected sample of opinion. With that, let’s take a look at the results.

Major Findings
Responses were provided by 145 individuals from across the state and from a diverse range of industries.

  • 73% of respondents think that affordable housing has become “much more” or “slightly more” difficult to find in their community over the past year.
  • Over half (58%) of respondents felt that the amount of housing resources in their community has “significantly” or “somewhat” decreased over the past year.
  • Only 9% of respondents feel “somewhat” or “very” optimistic about the future of housing affordability.
  • The most challenging housing problem identified by respondents was high rental costs. 
  • Urban respondents were more concerned about rental costs than average, while rural respondents said that poor housing quality was just as challenging.


April 17, 2017

VHDA Mortgages Offer "Combo" Benefits to Homebuyers

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When you take an already-affordable VHDA mortgage and combine it with a Down Payment Assistance grant, an MCC (first-time homebuyer tax credit) and our free First-time Homebuyer Class, the savings add up.

Remember, most VHDA loans are eligible for use with an MCC, including our Fannie Mae products, FHA Plus, VA, RHS and standard FHA. Add a Downpayment Assistance Grant, and you've got a great "combo" financing package to share with your borrowers and their real estate agents.

Learn More



April 14, 2017

Regional Focus: Meet the Northern Virginia Team

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VHDA's booth at the
Northern Virginia Housing Expo
Virginia’s housing needs vary across the state. To better understand and address those needs, VHDA is increasing its regional presence by having associates live and work outside of the Richmond and Wytheville areas, where our three offices are located. For example, we have four associates located in Northern Virginia, working in Homeownership, Community Outreach and Rental Housing.

Regina Pinkney is the Homeownership business development officer for Northern Virginia. Living and working in Fairfax County, Regina works with VHDA’s network of approved lenders in this region to explain the features of our programs and show how those features can help Virginians achieve the dream of homeownership. She will be working to increase the number of lenders in Northern Virginia who offer VHDA loans, as well as encouraging our existing lenders to offer VHDA loans to qualified borrowers. Regina will also help educate the area’s real estate agents about the advantages of VHDA financing, our free homebuyer’s class, our Down Payment Assistance grant and Mortgage Credit Certificates.

Ayan Addou is in Falls Church. Ayan serves as a Northern Virginia Strategic Housing Officer for the Community Outreach division. Ayan works closely with our partners to provide technical assistance around affordable housing, mixed-use financing, and capacity building and where appropriate, connects VHDA products and services to address local needs. Ayan regularly attends stakeholder meetings and represents VHDA at conferences and events. For example, in March, VHDA sponsored the Northern Virginia Housing Expo. Ayan and other associates provided information to prospective homebuyers and renters about our loan programs and VirginiaHousingSearch.com.

In Rental Housing, Hang Kooc is the construction control officer residing in Fairfax. The developments in Northern Virginia tend to be more complex construction deals. Hang is readily available to provide guidance on issues relating to accessibility, quality control and constructability. If the general contractor or consultant runs into issues, Hang is able to make a site visit to find a solution. This process helps keep the project moving.

Cary Boswell is a compliance officer in Rental Housing responsible for the properties in our portfolio that are in the southern part of Northern Virginia. With a background in property management in Northern Virginia, she serves as a liaison from an asset management and compliance perspective. Cary lives in Westmoreland County, which is outside of Fredericksburg. Working and living in the same region where properties are located makes her more accessible to property managers. Compliance is getting more complex, and often requires a site visit to work on issues. Management agents can meet with Cary on site within hours.

By committing resources focused on the individual needs of each region, VHDA is able to strengthen partnerships that allow us to provide quality, affordable housing.

April 13, 2017

MCC Lender Incentive Extended

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 VHDA has issued more than 4,000 Mortgage Credit Certificates (MCCs) since the program launched in May 2015. To keep the momentum going, we're extending the MCC Lender Incentive through 2017. We hope this will encourage lenders to offer MCCs.

An MCC has the potential to save thousands of dollars for an eligible first-time homebuyer by reducing the amount of federal income tax they owe each year, for as long as they have the loan and live in their home. Thanks to each of our lenders who have offered this option to so many borrowers!

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.

Affordable Housing For Artists Coming To South-Side Neighborhood

RECAP: Big Car Collaborative is renovating a handful of homes in the Garfield Park neighborhood with two of them becoming available next month for artists. Co-founder Jim Walker said his organization was able to purchase the properties thanks to financial assistance through the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Project, which looks for innovative ways to put Indianapolis residents into homes. While artists can purchase the home at an affordable price, they are expected to get involved in the neighborhood. The neighborhood will hold art walks on the block that take place during the first Friday of each month, where businesses at the west end of the neighborhood will all be open. "It's got people who are not only doing art or working with the community they are really trying to be part of making this a great place for everybody," Walker said.http://fox59.com/2017/03/17/affordable-housing-for-artists-coming-to-south-side-neighborhood/

LinkedIn-Zillow Research Finds Places Where Jobs and Affordable Housing Intersect

RECAP: Zillow and LinkedIn combined housing and employment data to analyze a common set of priorities: an affordable rental home and a good job. The two companies used job listings data, salary data, and the percent of workers hired in the past year in three industries: health care, technology, and finance. By analyzing income tax rates and Zillow's median rent data, they were able to find housing markets across the country where those workers can pocket the largest share of their income after paying rent. "High demand and inventory shortages have driven up housing prices in some markets so much that even if you land a great job, the salary might not cover living within commuting distance," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. "On the other hand, the nation's most affordable housing markets don't always offer plentiful employment opportunities. Housing is the biggest line item in most people's budgets, so we did the math for you and found 'sweet spots' -- places with great job markets and housing markets that will leave you with some cash at the end of the month."
https://www.zillow.com/research/take-home-pay-linkedin-14462/

Why Affordable Housing Is Essential To Our Economy

RECAP: What is the value of affordable housing? It goes beyond simply finding homes for people. Two new reports released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) explore both why affordable housing is essential to our economy and how the grave lack of it may put many at risk. The report estimates that more than 500,000 jobs were supported through HUD investments in 2015 alone. The “A Place To Call Home” report, released by the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) and the NLIHC, compiles the latest research on how access to affordable housing improves economic mobility, reduces poverty and homelessness, positively impacts health outcomes and strengthens the economy.
https://www.inman.com/2017/03/20/why-affordable-housing-is-essential-to-our-economy/

Senior Housing, Healthcare Partnership Leads to Savings, Lower Readmissions

RECAP: For a time, it seemed that home visits from doctors were a tradition of the past. However, with a growing population of seniors in need of access to affordable care, senior housing communities are experimenting with ways to link to the healthcare system through the Affordable Housing Plus Services Model. Presbyterian Senior Living first implemented the Affordable Housing Plus Services model in June 2011 at Presbyterian Apartments, an affordable senior housing community in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Partnered with Pinnacle Health, and funded by Enterprise Community Partners, Presbyterian Apartments linked on-site clinicians from the local hospital with the apartments’ on-site supportive services coordinator to provide weekly medical support to apartment residents. The idea behind the Affordable Housing Plus Services Model is to impact patient engagement by having trusted resources available on-site to match residents with healthcare providers to facilitate proactive healthcare.
http://managedhealthcareexecutive.modernmedicine.com/managed-healthcare-executive/news/senior-housing-healthcare-partnership-leads-savings-lower-readmissions

April 11, 2017

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

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New Data Outlines Housing Affordability Challenges

Two new data studies detailed the continued challenges in finding affordability options for homeowners and renters.
One in every four U.S. county housing markets were less affordable than their historic affordability averages during the first quarter of 2017, according to new research from ATTOM Data Solutions. In this research report, an affordability index below 100 means that the share of averages wages needed to buy a median-priced home is above the historic average for a given market.  ATTOM Data Solutions determined that the national affordability index in the first quarter was 103, down from 108 in the previous quarter and down from 119 a year ago to the lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2008. A total of 95 counties out of 379 counties analyzed for this research, or 25 percent, recorded an affordability index below 100 during the first quarter—the highest share of markets below the normal affordability index of 100 since the fourth quarter of 2009. Separately, new research from Zillow has determined that rental affordability is worst in minority neighborhoods than in predominantly white communities. Nationally, renters in predominantly black neighborhoods can expect to spend 43.7 percent of their income on rent, according to Zillow, while renters in Hispanic communities can expect to spend 48.1 percent of their income on rent. In comparison, renters in predominantly white communities can expect to spend 30.7 percent of their income on rent.

FHFA Working Paper Examines Impact of Appraisals on First-Time Homebuyer Costs

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently released a working paper examining whether first-time home buyers "overpay" for their homes compared to repeat buyers and whether such overpayments correlate with errors in the appraisal process. The paper is a preliminary report designed to stimulate further discussion and does not take an official position of behalf of FHFA. The paper was written by Jessica Shui and Shriya Murthy from FHFA's Office of Policy Analysis & Research.  The report analyzes data on over 1.5 million Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans to test three assumptions: 1) first-time home buyers generally purchase homes with "less-desirable attributes" than repeat buyers; 2) first-time home buyers, on average, pay more for similar homes than repeat buyers; and 3) because first-time home buyers are less experienced than repeat buyers, their propensity to overpay is more likely to be impacted by errors in the home's appraisal.

Bills to Regulate PACE Loans Introduced in House and Senate

Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress recently introduced companion bills that would subject Property Assessed Clean Energy loans (PACE loans) to federal mortgage regulations.
Through PACE loans, state and local governments provide homeowners with up to 20-year loans to finance energy efficiency home improvements, secured by tax liens attached to the property. In the event that the property is sold before the PACE loan is paid in full, the loan may transfer to the next owner of the property. Critics have claimed that many PACE lenders do not adequately underwrite the loans to ensure that homeowners can repay them and often neglect to fully explain the loans' terms to consumers.


Bill to Classify Muni Bonds as High-Quality Liquid Assets Introduced in the Senate
Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) recently introduced legislation that would allow large banks to count some of their municipal bond investments, including tax-exempt housing bonds, as high-quality liquid assets (HQLAs) under federal bank liquidity standards. The legislation, which has not yet been assigned a bill number, is expected to be referred to the Senate Banking Committee. The Warner/Rounds bill is nearly identical to a bill (The Municipal Finance Support Act of 2017, or H.R. 1624), that was introduced last week in the House of Representatives by Luke Messer (R-IN). NCSHA previously summarized H.R. 1624, and how it would impact tax-exempt housing bonds.


April 6, 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.


Creative Financing Allows Renovation at Aging Newport News Housing Projects

RECAP: Last March, the Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority temporarily moved Oyster Point residents as it began a 13-month renovation of every unit under a pilot program by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. They had also planned out a full renovation of units at Cypress Terrace and Brighton. The program, called Rental Assistance Demonstration, gives public housing authorities the ability to do what they usually can't: use private funding sources, including equity that comes from federal low-income housing tax-credit programs, to fix up housing. The housing authority set up a portfolio of properties that it wanted to renovate, including a rough plan of how everything would be financed. HUD gave its blessing.
http://www.dailypress.com/news/newport-news/dp-nws-nn-hud-rad-program-20170125-story.html


Affordable Housing Podcast

RECAP:  The Affordable Housing Podcast, brought to you by Eden Housing of California, explores the issues and challenges being faced in affordable housing today. From the impact of the sub-prime crisis to green building, host Joanne Greene offers compelling conversation with industry insiders. Topics include regional and national trends, inclusionary housing, government funding, and the role of private developers in helping to provide workforce housing. 


There Doesn’t Go the Neighborhood: Low-Income Housing Has No Impact on Nearby Home Values 

RECAP: Some of the nation’s least affordable markets are also ground zero for the fight against building affordable housing – which opponents say, among other things, depreciates nearby home values. Resistance to affordable housing development has surfaced in tight housing markets across the country such as San Francisco, New York, and Seattle. Given low inventory and high prices in these tight markets, we set out to uncover how much homeowners really have to fear. Using Trulia home value data, we examined changes in nearby home values before and after a low-income housing project are completed. Based on the location of low-income housing projects and completion dates, we determined whether or not these projects impact home values. 


3D Printed Homes a Perfect Fit for Dubai

RECAP: 3D printing will decrease construction costs and shorten delivery timelines. "In the future, 3D printing will allow developers to better cater to the affordable housing segment's demand; additionally, it could decrease the risk of delayed delivery. Considering the high living costs in Dubai, this type of product will make a lot of economic sense," said David Godchaux, CEO of Core Savills. "The application of 3D printing and other additive manufacturing technologies to construction opens up possibilities such as the reduction in the amount of raw materials required, allowing increasingly for 'just-in-time' manufacture and dramatically narrowing the range of trades involved in construction. 

April 4, 2017

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

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Housing Advocates Say Trump Budget Cuts Would Eliminate More Than 7,400 Housing Vouchers for Poor, Elderly and Disabled Virginians 

At least 7,400 low-income, elderly and disabled Virginians and their families would lose help with housing under President Donald Trump’s efforts to exorcise federal bloat, analysts say.
The cuts unveiled as part of a spending plan for the next fiscal year would slash funds that are used to staff and repair public housing communities and reduce the number of vouchers issued to some of Virginia’s most vulnerable families. The state’s largest housing authorities — in Richmond and Norfolk — say they already have a combined total of 16,829 people on waiting lists for the vouchers, which subsidize housing in the private market for qualifying residents. Those who do qualify typically pay about 30 percent of their monthly income in rent.


FHFA Report Details Progress on the 2016 Scorecard for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac  

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a Progress Report summarizing the 2016 activities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) to further FHFA's three strategic objectives as conservator: Maintain, Reduce, and Build. The Progress Report details efforts made to address borrower impediments to credit access while transitioning from crisis era policies and programs to those that will help borrowers and communities that are still struggling.  The Report also describes advances made in the Enterprises' credit risk transfer programs and other activities designed to increase the role of private capital in the secondary mortgage market and reduce risk for taxpayers.  The Report also describes the successful implementation of Release 1 of the Common Securitization Platform, a significant milestone toward the ultimate goals of building a new securitization infrastructure and issuance by both Enterprises of a single, common security.   In addition, the Progress Report documents Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's ongoing actions to promote diversity and inclusion in furtherance of the strategic goals of the conservatorships.
https://www.fhfa.gov/AboutUs/Reports/Pages/2016-Scorecard-Progress-Report.aspx


Innovations in Credit Scoring Could Help More Families Become First-Time Homebuyers

What do young families in Orange County, California, and Selma, Alabama, have in common? Families in both places struggle to qualify for a mortgage and get into their first home, in part because of overly restrictive credit-scoring systems. Can new scoring models, or data about rent and utility payments, help these families become homeowners? At an event at the Urban Institute, representatives Ed Royce (R-CA) and Terri Sewell (D-AL) discussed the difficulties their constituents have getting their first foot onto the homeownership ladder, whether that means a stick-built house in California or a manufactured home in Alabama. Royce and Sewell cosponsored the Credit Score Competition Act (H. R. 898), designed to encourage innovation in credit scoring through competition among credit-scoring systems for the business of lenders selling loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government-sponsored enterprises).