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

May 24, 2017

Brainstorming Affordable Housing

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

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

May 19, 2017

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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

The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes

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

The 21st-Century Utopia: Cities without Slums

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

Our Racially Divided Housing Market is Changing, Thanks to Millennials

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

Learning From Two Months of Illuminating Abandoned Homes

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

May 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

More about Prices Fork

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

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

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

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

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

Senate Banking Committee Discusses Housing Finance Reform with FHFA Director Watt 

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

May 11, 2017

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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

DHCD's Blueprint for the Future Deadline Extended!

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

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

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

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

Guess Which Generation Is Making the Biggest Comeback in Real Estate

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

Developers' Message

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

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

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

Why Housing Policy Should Be Health Policy

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

May 10, 2017

VHDA Promotes "Loan Combo" in New Ads

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

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

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

Watch our "Loan Combo" TV spot 

Trouble viewing the video? Watch it on YouTube

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.


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
•          email at
•          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.