August 20, 2018

VHDA Teams Up with Five Lynchburg Organizations

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Tackling complex problems is a tough task for a city under the best of circumstances. But without having evidence-based data to help set priorities and develop strategies, it becomes nearly impossible.

That’s why VHDA is teaming up with five partner organizations in Lynchburg to conduct a study of the city’s interrelated problems of poverty, homelessness and housing. The five organizations – Lynchburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Rush Lifetime Homes, Miriam's House, Greater Lynchburg Habitat for Humanity, and Lynchburg Community Action Group – are known collectively as the Lynchburg Regional Housing Coalition. Its study is being funded by a one of VHDA’s Community Impact Grants.

Community Impact Grants are funded through VHDA’s Reach Virginia program. Each year, VHDA contributes a substantial portion of our net revenues to this program, which helps support our partners and nonprofits as they work to meet local housing needs.

The Lynchburg study will incorporate a new data platform that’s designed to aggregate and analyze data more effectively. Among other topics, it will look at the Housing Choice Voucher program, which helps low-income households with rent payments; the quality and distribution of rental units and single-family structures; the occupancy rates of rental units; and the circumstances of rent-burdened populations, including veterans, the homeless and people with disabilities.

“Strong housing networks provide cities with a host of social and economic benefits,” said Chris Thompson, director of strategic housing for VHDA’s Community Outreach division. “Our Community Impact Grant is designed to give Lynchburg the qualitative and quantitative data it needs to make informed decisions about how to strengthen its network.”
The study is expected to be complete next year. Its ultimate objective is to inform local leaders and make a compelling case for including affordable housing as part of the regional planning process.

Learn more about VHDA grant programs.

Using Data to Answer Key Housing Questions In the New River Valley

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When it came to regional housing issues, the New River Valley Planning District Commission had no shortage of questions: Do we have enough housing types and price points for people of all income levels? How do university student rental properties affect the availability of affordable rental housing overall? Do existing housing units match up well with buyer preferences? How can deteriorating housing stock be better preserved or rehabilitated?

Thanks to a grant from VHDA, the Commission will soon have answers to these questions and others, and gain a better understanding of how to meet the region’s current and future housing challenges.

The New River Valley in Southwest Virginia encompasses Montgomery, Floyd, Giles and Pulaski Counties as well as the city of Radford. Its planning commission will use VHDA’s Community Impact Grant funds to develop and implement a multi-pronged study. Among its components will be focus groups, an online survey and public meetings, all designed to gain feedback from real estate agents, builders, developers, residents and other stakeholders. The study will also tap publicly available data from real estate and housing sources. While designed from a regional approach, the project is also expected to yield data that will helpful to individual localities in developing strategies, policies and action plans.

VHDA has been awarding Community Impact Grants since 2015. Money for the grants comes from VHDA’s REACH Virginia program. Each year, VHDA contributes a substantial portion of net revenues to fund this program, which is used to address housing needs throughout the state.

“We’re encouraged that we’ve definitely seen an uptick in the number of applications for Community Impact Grants,” said Director of Strategic Housing Chris Thompson, in VHDA’s Community Outreach division. “Our evaluation and approval process ensures that REACH Virginia dollars are put to the best possible use – by organizations that share our goal of making affordable housing accessible to all Virginians.”

Learn more about VHDA grant programs

August 16, 2018

Housing Credit QAP Announcement | Proposed Changes Now Available

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VHDA's Housing Credit department just released the blacklined Virginia Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) showing proposed changes for implementation on Jan. 1, 2019. View the blacklined QAP.

Please consider joining us for the QAP Forum Discussion on Sept. 18. The forum is free, and registration for the Virginia Housing Alliance Housing Credit Conference is not required.


2019 QAP Forum
‎Sept. 18,‎ ‎2018 at ‎10‎:‎00‎ ‎a.m. - 11‎:‎30‎ ‎a.m. E.S.T.
The Omni Richmond Hotel
100 S. 12th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Register now

The following classes will be held in October:

How to Complete a Virginia LIHTC Application
VHDA Architect Certification & Universal Design Submission Requirements
Universal Design Certification: Glen Allen
Register for these events on our website.

August 15, 2018

Inclusionary Housing and Overcoming NIMBY 2.0 | New Training From Housing Virginia

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Join Housing Virginia for new Inclusionary Housing and Overcoming NIMBY 2.0 workshops. 

Dates and Times: 

Richmond: August 30

Hampton Roads: September 4

Charlottesville: September 5

Fredericksburg: September 6


Housing Virginia is excited to partner with Virginia Housing Alliance's HELP Center to to offer either half-day or full-day workshops focused on strategies to develop inclusive, mixed-income communities, as well as techniques for addressing resistance to affordable housing.

Register Now

Workshop Details

Workshop 1: Inclusionary Housing
TIME: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Following the release of the first Virginia-specific "Inclusionary Housing Guidebook" in 2017, Housing Virginia is offering a series of workshops that will demonstrate how localities can use old and new tools at their disposal to create vibrant, mixed-income communities. These sessions will explore why affordable homes are a critical component to healthy neighborhoods, what the state and federal legal framework allows regarding "inclusionary zoning" and other land use tools, how other localities in Virginia and across the nation are accomplishing this goal, and why communities must build custom-tailored solutions for their specific housing needs. These trainings are targeted to local officials, planners, advocates, and housing practitioners.


Workshop 2: Overcoming NIMBY 2.0
TIME: 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

In 2016, Housing Virginia conducted its first round of "Overcoming NIMBY" trainings aimed at equipping housing advocates and providers with the tools necessary to counter common opposition to more affordable homes in their communities. This year, Housing Virginia is launching its next round of "Overcoming NIMBY" trainings with all new material and recommendations. Attendees will learn what NIMBY-ism (Not In My Backyard) is, why our current messaging often does more harm than good, and how new groundbreaking social research can help us get to "YES" in our back yard. These trainings are encouraged for anyone who aims to build, provide, or advocate for more homes available to persons at all incomes in their neighborhoods.


Housing Virginia | housingvirginia.org

VHDA partners with Housing Virginia to provide quality, affordable housing.

July 26, 2018

VMLA 2018 Annual Convention – Special Offer for First-time Attendees

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Join us at VMLA’s Annual Convention

Sept. 20 – 21, 2018 • Hilton Norfolk The Main

The Virginia Mortgage Lenders Association (VMLA) annual convention is a great place to build your network and learn about issues impacting the mortgage industry. Be sure to stop by VHDA’s booth, and drop your business card in our bowl — you’ll be registered to receive news updates from VHDA and be entered in our drawing to win an awesome prize! For details about the convention, visit VMLA’s website.

First time attending?
Here’s your chance to win: 
As an event sponsor, VHDA will provide four first-time attendees with complimentary VMLA convention registration, plus hotel room for the night of Thursday, Sept. 20. One winner each will be selected by random drawing from the Central, Western, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia regions. Submit your entry at vhda.com/VMLA.

ENTRY DEADLINE:
Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at 5 p.m. ET

July 25, 2018

Arlington Senior High-rise Gets New Lease on Life

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What happens when an aging, deteriorating apartment building that houses low-income seniors reaches the twilight of its useful lifespan? Culpepper Gardens in Arlington, Virginia, was in just such a predicament, but its story will have a happy ending, thanks to VHDA and multiple partner organizations. 

VHDA has struck an agreement with Arlington Retirement Housing Corp., Wesley Housing Development Corp. and Virginia Community Development Corp. – among other entities – to give this eight-story apartment tower a top-to-bottom upgrade. VHDA is providing $27 million in bridge and permanent financing for the renovation, in addition to Housing Credits (also known as Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, or LIHTC).

VHDA is serving as primary lender for the deal, which proved to be even more complex in scope than most that the authority participates in. “Wesley Housing, VCDC, Arlington County and so many others really pulled together with us to make this a reality,” said Scott Charnock, senior development officer for VHDA’s Rental Housing division. “Their cooperation was outstanding, and it just goes to show what teamwork can accomplish.”

A ceremonial kickoff for the project was held on April 12, 2018. When renovations are complete in two years, the complex will have 129 efficiency, 74 one-bedroom and seven two-bedroom apartments – an increase of four over the current total. The average age and income of Culpepper Garden’s tenants is 77 years and $18,000. The renovations will cause minimal disruption to residents; they will be temporarily relocated within the complex itself while their apartments are being worked on.

Culpepper Garden was built in 1975, and its upgrades will be cosmetic as well as functional. Apartments will be repainted and receive new flooring, plumbing fixtures, appliances, cabinets and countertops. The building’s roof and windows will be replaced, as will its plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems. Its elevators will be updated and new sprinklers will be installed, and common areas such as the kitchen and laundry will be reconfigured and improved.

The Culpepper Garden renovation will ensure that hundreds of low-income seniors enjoy improved living conditions in a safer, more comfortable environment – all without changing their address. 

Learn more about Culpepper Garden.

Going the Extra Mile to Serve the Underserved

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One day they might lead a continuing education session for real estate agents. The next, meet with one or more of VHDA’s 86 approved lending agents. The day after that, they could participate in a trade show for the public or a professional group. They’re VHDA’s business development officers (BDOs) – professionals with mortgage banking backgrounds who help our partner organizations and the public understand and take full advantage of our many services. 

To better reach those who live in underserved areas, VHDA has moved to a regional BDO deployment model. Our officers are now located in all four of the state’s primary population centers: Central Virginia, Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia, and Western Virginia. According to Business Development and Training Manager Dan Kern, in VHDA’s Homeownership division, this model is making a world of difference.

“In speaking to our stakeholders, they greatly appreciate the fact that our BDOs are now embedded in the community,” Kern said. “They’re more visible and accessible than in the past, and that means they’re better able to interact with the people we serve.”

Here is the contact information for our four business development officers. Please feel free to reach out to them directly if they can be of assistance.

Northern Virginia: Regina Pinkney | Regina.Pinkney@vhda.com  | 804-510-9122

Central Virginia: Joni Moncure | Joni.Moncure@vhda.com  | 804-840-7049

Hampton Roads: Gigi Houchins | Georgette.Houchins@vhda.com  | 804-389-5680

Western Virginia: Frank Webster | Frank.Webster@vhda.com  |  804-762-3078

How a Place to Learn Became a Place to Live

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The school was built in 1909 but closed its doors in the 1970s. Converted to apartments a decade later, the building soon fell into neglect, sitting abandoned and vacant, an eyesore contributing nothing to the neighborhood’s welfare. But then VHDA joined forces with Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC), and all that changed.

Today the former Highland Park High School on Richmond’s North Side is called Highland Park Senior Apartments, and it’s become a vibrant part of the community. The apartments themselves, as well as the building’s common areas, elevators and landscaping, have been fully renovated, with attention paid to restoring many of its historic features and finishes. Its 77 one-bedroom units offer an attractive and comfortable environment for low-income seniors. In fact, the complex is an important part of an ongoing effort to revitalize Highland Park and make it a safer, more economically viable neighborhood. 

VHDA’s role in this property transformation was to award Housing Credits (also known as Low-Income Housing Tax Credits) to CPDC, a Maryland-based company with a track record of success in Virginia, Washington, D.C. and its home state. The project falls under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistant Demonstration (RAD) program, which allocates funds to address deferred maintenance issues in deteriorating buildings. RAD is a central part of HUD’s rental housing preservation strategy to improve, modernize and stabilize properties by giving them a solid financial foundation.

The renovation of Highland Park, made possible only through VHDA’s partnership with CPDC, received the Multifamily Renovation Project of the Year award at the 2018 Viridiant Sustainable Leadership Awards ceremony.

Learn more about Virginia properties that use federal Housing Credits (LIHTC).

June 22, 2018

Help VHDA Help Habitat!

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June is National Homeownership Month, and to celebrate, here's an easy way to help Habitat for Humanity - you don't have to lift a hammer or donate a dollar! All you have to do is Like VHDA on Facebook! For every new page Like we receive between now and August 31, VHDA will give $20 to a Habitat for Humanity Virginia affiliate, up to $20,000!

https://www.facebook.com/VHDAhousing

June 8, 2018

Attend Housing Virginia's Home Remedies:Connecting Housing and Health for Stronger Communities

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Join Housing Virginia on July 11 for a day of exploring the best practices in linking health outcomes and housing conditions throughout Virginia's communities. Home Remedies: Connecting Housing and Health for Stronger Communities will explore the connection impacting individuals, neighborhoods, and defined populations.

Early Bird registration ends June 11. 

Detailed session topics and agenda will be announced soon.

More information and to register.


This blog post was contributed by Housing Virginia.

June 7, 2018

Minimum Design & Construction Requirements: VHDA Would Like Your Feedback

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VHDA will begin the biennial review of the Minimum Design and Construction Requirements (MDCR) shortly. Modifications to the 2018 requirements will affect:
  • All VHDA multifamily loans applied for in 2019 and 2020
  • Properties receiving 2019 and 2020 Housing Credits 
The MDCR Committee would like your feedback on the 2018 requirements. For those interested, please forward your comments and suggestions to Angela.Coates@vhda.com.

Comments must be received by July 6th to be considered by the committee during the review process. Due to the expected volume of comments, a formal response cannot be guaranteed.

We appreciate your help with the 2019/2020 VHDA Minimum Design and Construction Requirements review process.

Click on the following link to review the 2018 Minimum Design & Construction Requirements.

June 6, 2018

Governor’s Housing Conference 2018

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Register now for the 2018 Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference on Nov. 14-16, 2018, in Arlington. It’s Virginia’s largest housing event, offering educational sessions led by experts in housing, finance and community development, plus opportunities to network with colleagues from across the commonwealth.

Register Now
Book Your Room
Stay Connected: www.vaghc.com


May 30, 2018

Leadership Changes at VHDA

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It’s an exciting time to be in the housing industry, and we'd like to tell you about some changes we've made in our organizational structure, to help us better address the needs of our housing partners and respond to changes in our operating environment. As a result, some of our Leadership Team members have taken on new roles:

  • Janet Wiglesworth - Chief of Operations
  • Pat Carey - Chief Program Strategy / Chief Financial Officer
  • Tammy Neale - Chief of Staff
  • Paul Brennan - Chief Counsel
  • Llew Anderson - Managing Director of Administration

We also welcome these NEW members to our Leadership Team:

  • Toni Ostrowski - Managing Director of Homeownership
  • Fred Bryant - Deputy Chief Counsel
  • Hil Richardson - Managing Director of Capital Markets

May 17, 2018

First-time Homebuyer? A Top Producing Loan Officer Can Help!

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The journey to becoming a first-time homeowner can seem overwhelming. Finding your potential home is the fun part – but going from shopping to owning is a process that is much easier with a trusted lending partner at your side.

Each year, VHDA honors those dedicated loan officers who have gone the extra mile to help Virginians achieve their dream of homeownership. VHDA’s Top Producing Loan Officers are experts in helping first-time homebuyers. For example, they have information on VHDA Programs like the popular “Loan Combo,” which includes down payment money and more. VHDA offers a variety of affordable mortgages for all types of homes including manufactured homes, townhomes and condos. A Top Producing Loan Officer is familiar with all these programs and can help you select the one appropriate for your situation.

They can give you advice on how to improve your credit score so that you quality for the loan you need.  They also offer VHDA’s free homebuyer class. Available online or in person, the class covers everything you need to know to become a successful homebuyer.

So if you are thinking about buying a home, or are ready to see how much you qualify for, reach out to a VHDA Top Producing Loan Officer today.

Learn more at vhda.com/TPLO.

May 16, 2018

VHDA Offers Programs for Military Service Members

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VHDA honors the service of current and past members of our military through a variety of programs. Here’s a rundown of the services that active duty, Reservists, National Guard, veterans and their families can find at VHDA:

  • Operation Homeownership – Free homebuyer classes geared especially for service members and their families, to help them become savvy homebuyers and owners. Classes are presented by VHDA’s Housing Education team, military financial educators and local area subject matter experts. Topics include Personal Finances, Credit and Credit Reporting, Working with a Lender, the Role of the Real Estate Agent, the Home Inspection, Loan Closing, and the benefits of developing a savings and spending plan. Operation Homeownership addresses the unique issues service members must consider before deciding to buy a home.
  • VA Home Loan Program – VHDA carries on a proud tradition that began in 1944 when President Franklin Roosevelt launched the Veterans Affairs Home Loan Program (also known as the GI Bill of Rights). Today, the VA Home Loan Program helps eligible and qualified active duty service members, veterans and survivors of veterans to obtain mortgages for up to 100 percent of a home’s sale price so they don’t have to spend years scrimping and saving to make a big down payment.
  • Granting Freedom (Accessibility Modification Grants) – This program provides grant money to help Virginia’s veterans and service members who were disabled by an injury in the line of duty. Grant funds can be used to install ramps, grab bars and other features to make their homes more comfortable and accessible. With a grant of up to $4,000 per residence or rental unit, recipients work one-on-one with an agent and a contractor to modify their home according to their needs. According to VHDA Grant Programs Officer Carolyn Coleman, “It’s a great feeling to be able to give back to those who have sacrificed … to protect and serve our country. In fiscal year 2017 alone, we provided assistance to 118 service members.” One of these grant recipients was SFC Sue Collins, now retired from the U.S. Army, who applied for funds in 2017 to install a seated tub in her home in Hampton, Va., to make bathing with a knee injury safer. She was pleased with the process and said, “Working with VHDA was awesome, and it couldn’t have been smoother. I wish more people knew about this grant.”
  • VirginiaHousingSearch.com – This free website is a big help to those searching for quality, affordable rental housing. The site includes a link to find veteran housing (rental homes whose landlords are interested in renting to veterans or Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) recipients). Visitors to the site can use a variety of filtering tools to find homes that will best suit their lifestyle, as well as accessibility features, if needed.
  • "How to be a Successful Renter” – Download this free eBook at vhda.com/RenterEd. It answers many questions renters have, such as how to find the right place to rent, navigating leases and applications, tenant rights and responsibilities, how to get a security deposit back, and much more.
  • Cell Phones for Soldiers – VHDA has participated in the Cell Phones for Soldiers no-cost recycling program since 2010 as part of our internal “Go Green Initiative” within our own buildings and the communities we serve. So far, we’ve donated 522 phones to recycle, which buys calling cards for our troops. Each phone valued at $5 equals an estimated 2.5 hours of free talk time. This effort was launched in 2004 by 12- and 13-year-old siblings Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, and to date has provided more than 300 million precious calling minutes for our troops around the world.

Learn more about VHDA’s programs and loans for the military at vhda.com/Military.

May 14, 2018

Operation Homeownership: VHDA and U.S. Military Celebrate 20th Year

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“Operation Homeownership” is the name of VHDA’s partnership with the U.S. military to provide free homebuyer classes for active duty personnel, reservists, veterans, National Guard and Department of Defense personnel and their dependents. It launched in 1998 and is still going strong. The program helps service members stationed in Virginia and their families, as they consider the prospect of homeownership.

We celebrated the 20-year anniversary of Operation Homeownership with a ceremony in Norfolk on May 14, 2018. The event was held at Nauticus and attended by representatives from military command, service personnel and their families, program volunteers and elected officials.

Chief Petty Officer Mario Santiago, who is now retired from the U.S. Navy after a long career, spoke to the group about how Operation Homeownership changed his life 20 years ago. After attending VHDA’s first military homebuyer class, he used what he learned to qualify for a VHDA mortgage and buy his first home, where he and his wife still live today.

Of course, military life can be unpredictable. Less than two weeks after Santiago and his family moved into their new home, he was deployed on sea duty — but he was prepared! “There was one more important thing that came with owning a home which I considered to be the end goal of Operation Homeownership, and that is the peace of mind owning a home gives to every service member when they deploy,” said Santiago. “Knowing that your family will be safe and protected in their own home while you are deployed is a priceless feeling that comforts you until you come back home.”

It takes a lot of committed people to keep Operation Homeownership running smoothly. The 20-year celebration at Nauticus gave us the opportunity to thank those who have helped make this program a success. We awarded plaques and medals to our Housing Heroes (the people who have helped coordinate classes on military installations), and we recognized individuals from the private sector who have volunteered countless hours to help teach.

Operation Homeownership began as a partnership with the U.S. Department of the Navy. Over time, it grew to include more than 3,700 participants from all service branches who attended more than 300 classes to become educated homebuyers and responsible homeowners.

VHDA’s housing education team works on-site with military financial educators to teach topics that include Personal Finances, Credit and Credit Reporting, Working with a Lender, the Role of the Real Estate Agent, the Home Inspection, Loan Closing, and the benefits of developing a savings and spending plan.

Operation Homeownership also addresses the unique issues military homebuyers face. For example, the military lifestyle is typically transient, so service members must decide if buying a home is a good idea for them, and have a Plan B in place in the event they must relocate. Qualifying for loans may be complicated by calculations of a military housing allowance/allotment and any pending retirement income. Military homebuyers also need to learn about the VA loan program’s benefits and eligibility requirements.

Service members who attend Operation Homeownership classes have the opportunity to meet local real estate agents, lenders, home inspectors and other industry professionals in the classes. These professionals are able to provide valuable insights on neighborhoods, schools, recreation options and more. This is especially beneficial to recently deployed service members who are new to the area. Those who complete the class receive a Certificate of Completion and a copy of VHDA’s Homebuyer Handbook for future reference.

Operation Homeownership is just one of many programs VHDA offers the military. Other initiatives we sponsor or participate in include:
  • VA Home Loan Program. 
  • Granting Freedom program, providing grant money to help disabled service members and veterans make their homes more accessible. 
  • VirginiaHousingSearch.com, a housing search site listing homes and apartments for rent throughout the state, including housing for veterans.
  • Free eBook on “How to be a Successful Renter.”
  • Cell Phones for Soldiers to provide free phone time to those on deployment.

Learn more about VHDA’s programs and loans for the military at vhda.com/Military.

May 11, 2018

Addressing Vacancy and Blight in Your Community | An Opportunity from the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust

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What's the cost of vacant property? More than you may think.

Many Virginia communities face challenges from vacant, blighted, abandoned and often tax delinquent property. Not only do these properties reduce the value of nearby homes, they also reduce tax revenue to the locality, strain municipal services, facilitate crime, reduce neighborhood stability – and even negatively impact public health.

Fortunately, many localities across the country have developed and implemented effective strategies to transform these community liabilities into community assets. Join national expert Kim Graziani from the Center for Community Progress to explore recent innovations, best practices and success stories in addressing blight and vacancy.

Representatives from Richmond and Danville will also describe the goals and activities of their recently created land banks - a new tool in Virginia made possible through 2016 enabling legislation.

The session will include the opportunity to discuss unique local issues - and possible creative solutions - from communities around the state.

The session will be held at the Richmond Association of Realtors on May 22nd. It will run from 11am to 4pm.

Register Here


This blog post was written by the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, a Housing Virginia partner.

May 10, 2018

Housing Credit Program Update

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The Preliminary Rankings list for the 2018 Housing Credit Reservation applications received by VHDA on March 16, 2018, is now available. This layout includes a “Preliminary Status” category in the last column designed to explain what is taking place with each development within the given pool.

In a change from recent years, all individual scoring sheets are available on VHDA’s Housing Credit Program website. This is where you will be able to access deal-specific scoring information.

The comment period has ended, and a rebuttal period will take place from May 9, 2018, through May 16, 2018. Final rankings will be posted in June following the VHDA Board meeting.

A scanned copy of all applications received is available on our Business Partners website. If you have not registered to view these applications, please feel free to do so now. Once you have registered, you will be given a temporary password and granted access to view them.

Please remember these are preliminary rankings and are subject to change(s) following the comment and rebuttal periods.

May 3, 2018

Helping Our Housing Partners Use VHDA Resources

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In 2018, VHDA is expanding our outreach efforts by hosting roundtable discussions with our partners, right in their own communities. Face-to-face contact helps us connect and encourage partnership opportunities while spreading the word about our revamped Capacity Building and Sponsorship programs.

Sessions have been coordinated and presented by our Community Outreach Division staff in Wytheville, Chesapeake, Richmond, Roanoke and Falls Church. We met with our partners in Danville via webinar.

Attendees at the events represent various facets of Virginia’s housing and service delivery network, including local governments; planning district commissions; redevelopment and housing authorities; for-profit developers; nonprofits and organizations providing services such as rehabilitation, housing counseling and community development — all share a mission to support creation and preservation of affordable housing.

To encourage our partners’ cooperation in striving for our strategic goals, we discuss VHDA’s overarching mission of providing quality, affordable housing and the importance of the delivery network, stressing opportunities to improve capacity.

Participants get a basic overview of all VHDA services, from homeownership creation to preservation and development of affordable rental housing and mixed-use/mixed-income projects. More in-depth information is provided on our Community Outreach programs, including Housing Counseling, Sponsorships, Community Impact, Pre-Development, Capacity Building, Community Housing Revitalization, Granting Freedom (our accessibility grant program for disabled veterans), Rental Unit Accessibility Modification and Housing Education.

These events also allow us to hear from our partners about issues they are experiencing and get their input on how VHDA can support them in their housing and community development efforts. Some common themes we hear from areas across the state include challenges with organizational capacity, the volume of rehabilitation needed in existing housing coupled with increasing demand for improvements in accessibility, as well as the difficulties faced in serving low- and extremely low-income individuals.

Our partners’ feedback has been positive. They appreciate our visits to their communities and our efforts to improve access to VHDA resources. We’re compiling all the feedback and suggestions into a report to help us develop more ways to expand our outreach and improve operations.

These roundtables have been so well-received, we’ve decided to host them annually. In the future, we intend to include our sister agency, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, so we may provide roundtable participants an even more comprehensive review of housing resources available to them.

Focus on Regional Housing Needs

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Over the last six months, Housing Virginia convened a series of regional discussions to address housing needs in different parts of the state. Associates from VHDA’s Community Outreach Division participated in the events, which brought together local elected officials, planners, landlords, private developers, housing and social service providers, representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and other state agencies.

Topics of discussion included the shrinking supply of affordable rental units, a review of existing housing programs and services, and how well the needs of localities are being met. Each session was tailored to the specific needs of the area in which it was held, and different themes emerged for each region.
  • Oct. 19, 2017 - Project Faith / King George County Housing Summit: This session focused on Project Faith’s single-family homeownership pipeline and how to prepare potential buyers early so their creditworthiness, savings and other financial preparation can be done in time to qualify them for a spot in the pipeline.
  • Feb. 1, 2018 -  Bay Aging Northern Neck / Middle Peninsula Summit: There were presentations from a wide range of speakers on affordable housing and transportation issues in the area.
  • Feb. 6, 2018 - HOPE, Inc. and Mt. Rogers CSB / Wytheville Housing Summit: Discussions centered on the shortage of market-rate units that can be used to take vouchers for both DD and Section 8 tenants, as well as other affordable housing development needs.
  • March 1, 2018 - Foothills Housing Corporation / Warrenton Housing Summit: 25 local affordable housing and social service organizations convened to tackle a variety of strategies including:
    • Developing a coalition of like-minded groups to make the case for more affordable housing by explaining how communities benefit economically and otherwise.
    • Providing evidence of best practices or examples of jurisdictions that successfully manage growth.
    • Addressing zoning issues around retrofitting motels into affordable housing.
    • Offering legal programs (Know Your Rights) to deal with high eviction rates through improvements to the court system.
These events were a great venue for VHDA’s Community Outreach staff to share information about our housing programs and resources. We also established new relationships and identified some potential partnerships. At one event, we visited a fellow attendee’s potential project site to discuss how we might be able to provide them with guidance and assistance. We expect more opportunities to arise as we continue to follow up on information and contacts gathered at these very enlightening sessions.

May 2, 2018

Revitalizing Richmond’s East End

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Nearly 22 acres that were formerly the site of Armstrong High School have been cleared to make way for Church Hill North, a wide-ranging redevelopment project that will roll out in five phases, beginning with 256 affordable new homes.

In 2016, the project received a $2.5 million Vibrant Communities Initiative award from VHDA and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for revitalization strategy planning. To develop the properties, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority has partnered with The Community Builders, a not-for-profit organization based in Boston. Construction will be completed in three phases:
  • Phase One has been issued Housing Credits for the development of 60 mixed-income apartments and 45 homes for seniors, and VHDA has issued commitments for permanent financing.

  • Phase Two, which has similar financing in the works, will add another 70 mixed-income multifamily homes, plus another 45 for seniors.

  • Phase Three will add 36 single-family homes, to be built at one end of the site.
Church Hill North will offer a mix of one- and two-bedroom stacked apartments, one-story accessible bungalows, duplexes, townhomes and two-story detached homes. Two centrally located three-story buildings will be dedicated to senior housing, featuring mostly one-bedroom apartments.

Site plans include several amenities for the new residents, including a 20,000-square-foot community center and an Armstrong memorial garden to honor the property’s heritage. Approximately one acre is set aside for playgrounds and open space.

The project’s final phases will focus on total redevelopment of 30 acres nearby that are now occupied by the Creighton and Whitcomb Court apartment complexes. This will add another 1,000 new homes. The Community Builders estimate completion of all five phases to take eight to 10 years, at a total cost of over $100 million.

Church Hill North is destined to change the lives of thousands of Richmond residents for the better by putting more modern and affordable housing within their reach.

May 1, 2018

Revitalization Coming to Pulaski’s Main Street

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A retail and residential renaissance is underway on West Main Street in Pulaski, thanks to support from VHDA and other sources of funding.

For the past three years, VHDA has been working toward this goal in partnership with West Main Development, LLC. We provided a REACH Virginia Targeted Initiatives Grant to finance their due-diligence work that was needed to select several downtown properties for renovation. VHDA’s REACH Virginia grant program is funded by our own net revenues, and is one of our most important resources for funding our programs and supporting communities poised to make a comeback, like Pulaski.

Construction for the Pulaski main street project will be financed by one of VHDA’s longtime financing partners, Virginia Community Capital. After construction is complete, VHDA will provide permanent lending.

West Main Development plans to repurpose four buildings along West Main Street: 

  • The former Farmer Building at Nos. 85 and 89 West Main is a single structure with adjacent ground-floor storefronts, which will be refurbished to welcome new businesses. No. 87 is the address for the building’s second floor, which will have two large two-bedroom apartments.
  • Across the street is No. 94 West Main. Its ground-level storefront will house a virtual reality arcade. The arcade is expected to attract students interested in VR development from nearby Radford University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and New River and Wytheville Community Colleges, and to become a tourist destination for video game aficionados seeking an immersive experience. The building will also have two residential apartments on the second floor.
  • The buildings at 29 and 69 West Main are also slated for renovations. Once all four buildings are finished, over 15,000 square feet of property will have been reclaimed for new uses.

Because the project is receiving both state and federal historic tax credits, the buildings’ original character must be preserved. Apartments will feature the old hardwood floors, casework and interior doors. All storefront exteriors will be restored to their original detail.

The Town of Pulaski and local citizens have also been working with the Department of Housing and Community Development and the New River Valley Regional Commission, among others, to make their dream of restoring the area’s vibrancy a reality.

Revitalizations like this attract new entrepreneurs and established businesses who want to get in on the action as residents and visitors begin returning to the town’s core. One building at a time, they will make West Main Street once again the place to be in Pulaski.

The West Main Development project is tentatively on track for completion in early 2019.

April 30, 2018

Supporting Affordable Housing in NoVa

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Northern Virginia is one of the most challenging places to find affordable housing, so VHDA takes every opportunity we can to reach out in that area. On March 24, we helped sponsor the 8th Annual Northern Virginia Homeownership Expo, which was held at George Washington Middle School in Alexandria.

The event was coordinated by First Home Alliance, one of our new nonprofit partners, and was free and open to the public. First Home Alliance is a HUD-approved housing counseling agency promoting financial literacy and economic self-sufficiency. They’re dedicated to increasing homeownership among low- to moderate-income individuals and families, and to helping current homeowners stay in their homes through loss-mitigation counseling and foreclosure intervention.

We were joined at the Expo by representatives from the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William, the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church, and the town of Herndon. VHDA business development officers were on hand to answer questions about our programs and services and to meet with financial professionals interested in joining our statewide network of VHDA-approved lenders.

The event drew about 200 people who came to find out about housing resources in the area. It was a good one-stop way to learn about and compare locations and to find the best opportunities for first-time homebuyers and renters.

VHDA’s booth attracted a steady stream of visitors. Potential homebuyers were particularly interested in learning about our Loan Combo package, which can provide qualified borrowers with a first mortgage at a competitive rate, plus a down payment grant, a Mortgage Credit Certificate (first-time homebuyer tax credit) and a free homebuyer class.

Attendees had the opportunity to sit down for a free 30-minute financial counseling session, and were also welcome to participate in a variety of workshops covering topics such as:

  • Are You Ready to Rent?
  • Are You Ready to Buy?
  • The ABCs of Credit Scores
  • Rental and Homebuying Market Overviews
  • Household Finance
  • Buyer and Rental Assistance Programs

The Northern Virginia Homeownership Expo was a rewarding way to help aspiring homebuyers pursue their dream of having a quality, affordable place to call their own.

March 14, 2018

Board of Commissioners Update

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VHDA’s Board of Commissioners has undergone some recent changes. We’d like to thank Sarah Stedfast and Lemella Y. Carrington for their dedicated service and wish them well. Kit Hale is our new Chairman and Clarissa McAdoo Cannion is our Vice Chairman.

Governor Ralph Northam appointed Erik Johnston as the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and he will serve on VHDA’s Board as an ex-officio member. In addition, William (Bill) Shelton, DHCD’s former Director, will remain on VHDA’s Board serving as a citizen member also appointed by the Governor. 

March 7, 2018

Creating Opportunities for Homeownership

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Preventing Foreclosure


VHDA’s Servicing Department held four Borrower Outreach Events to prevent foreclosure. These events provided customers an opportunity to meet with our staff in person, receive education on how to prevent foreclosure and apply for loan modifications. We have modified 121 loans through this program, and about 69% have remained current.



 Reaching Underserved Areas


We’ve recently increased our ability to serve communities in Southwest Virginia by hiring Frank Webster, an experienced Business Development Officer, who is dedicated to the region. This will strengthen our stakeholder relationships in the area and enable us to provide more educational opportunities for consumers in this part of the state.




Helping First-time Homebuyers

VHDA is preparing a springtime campaign to increase awareness about our Loan Combo, which offers a home loan plus a package of benefits including a down payment grant, an MCC and our free homebuyer class.

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

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Rental Housing

Commercial and Multifamily Construction Starts Down in 2017

Many metro areas reported reduced commercial and multifamily construction starts in 2017 compared to 2016, said Dodge Data & Analytics, New York. "Of the commercial and multifamily project types, multifamily housing is the one that appears to have already reached its peak and is now heading downward," said Dodge Data & Analytics Chief Economist Robert Murray, noting a 12 percent decline in dollar terms during 2017.


The Number of High-Income Renters Surged, Especially in the Nation’s Highest-Cost Markets

High-income renters are a growing share of all rental households, particularly in the nation's most expensive metropolitan areas, including Washington. The shift comes amid tremendous growth in the national rental housing market, which added nearly 10 million new rental households between 2006 and 2016. These include 2.9 million "high-income" renters (those with real annual incomes exceeding $100,000). This is a 29 percent increase in a group that represented 9 percent of all renters in 2006 but accounted for 13 percent of renters in 2016.


Homeownership 

Updated Credit Scoring and the Mortgage Market

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is considering a potential change in the credit scoring models approved for use by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and is currently receiving public comment on this important policy issue. This report provides an overview of the issues involved.

Mortgage Insurance Companies Push Back Against 50% DTI

Last year, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced they were increasing their debt-to-income ratio to 50%. But now, private mortgage insurance companies are pushing back, announcing new underwriting requirements, including higher credit scores, for loans with DTIs exceeding 45%.


Reforming the FHA’s Foreclosure and Conveyance Processes

This report addresses how the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) foreclosure and conveyance processes can be changed to bring down costs and create efficiencies.


Your Mortgage Application May Trigger Competitors to Tempt You with Other Offers

Credit bureaus routinely convert information they receive regarding mortgage application filings within 24 hours into “trigger leads” which they sell to competing mortgage lenders. This practice has become controversial and is being blamed for predatory practices on consumers, especially unsophisticated ones. Last week, the National Association of Mortgage Brokers began pushing a campaign on Capitol Hill for an outright ban.


Manufactured Housing

Can Manufactured Housing Ease America’s Affordable Housing Crisis?

The affordable home purchase market continues to suffer an acute inventory shortage. High construction costs and labor shortages mean builders can’t keep up with household formation, and Americans who already own homes are reluctant to sell an asset that is appreciating rapidly. While there’s no easy fix, signals within the federal government suggest one solution is getting increased attention—manufactured housing.  Now, Federal agencies are reviewing financing and regulations in hopes of giving manufactured homes a boost. This article summarizes these issues and their impact on the industry.


MBA Urges HUD to Take Opportunities on Manufactured Housing

HUD is preparing to review its current regulation of manufactured housing and has requested public input. The Mortgage Bankers Association, in a February 26 letter to HUD, said manufactured housing offers the agency with opportunities to help meet the nation's affordable housing needs and urged it to take a more flexible regulatory approach.

February 28, 2018

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

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Foundation Funding for Housing

Nine Foundations Launch Housing Collaborative

Nine of the nation’s largest private foundations have joined forces to create the Funders for Housing and Opportunity (FHO) collaborative with the goal of ensuring individuals and families who spend more than half of their income on rent—or have no homes at all—will be able to afford safe, stable rental housing in thriving communities. Together, FHO members will commit grant dollars that will be used to catalyze systemic change. The new organization announced that it has committed $4.9 million to four grantees over the next three years.


Multifamily Housing

Construction Costs Spike for Multifamily Projects

The cost of construction is rising rapidly for apartment developers and contractors. “I expect contractors to pay 4 percent to 5 percent more in 2018 than in 2017,” says Ken Simonson, chief economist with the Associated General Contractors of America. That includes both construction materials and services, such as truck transportation, subcontracting and leasing.


Homeownership 

Nowhere to Go but Up?  How Increasing Mortgage Rates Could Affect Housing

Freddie Mac has released its February Insight, which looks into the effects of higher mortgage rates on homebuyers, homeowners wishing to refinance, mortgage lenders, home builders and real estate agents. The Insight delves into the past to review periods when interest rates spiked and analyze the effects on the housing industry.


Manufactured Housing an Opportunity for Affordable Homeownership

This article provides a brief case example of the use of manufactured housing in San Bernardino, CA on scattered in-fill lots to help in providing affordable homeownership and revitalize city neighborhoods.


Homeownership is Still Financially Better than Renting

An analysis by Urban Institute research staff looks at costs of homeownership versus renting, and shows that homeownership remains highly beneficial for most families, offering both financial gains and a way to build wealth. Homeownership is shown to be especially beneficial for those who expect to own their home for a long enough period to overcome the sizable transactions costs and the cyclical volatility of home prices.


February 14, 2018

Brighter Future Unfolds for Fletcherville

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VHDA’s Community Outreach Division and Strategic Lending Unit have teamed up with Fauquier County and not-for-profit Foothills Housing Corporation to provide some much-needed improvements in a rural Virginia community. Fletcherville is a neighborhood of 36 rental homes built in the 1960s and 70s, just outside of Warrenton, Va.

VHDA is providing a $30,000 Community Impact Grant from our REACH Virginia program to Fauquier County on behalf of Foothills Housing Corporation, which plans to purchase the entire Fletcherville property. This will enable them to preserve the neighborhood’s affordability and also address issues with wastewater disposal and renovations needed to make the homes more comfortable and energy-efficient for the families who live there. The grant is funded by VHDA’s REACH Virginia program, which channels a substantial portion of our net revenues to support many programs such as Fletcherville’s revitalization.

Fletcherville is not connected to Warrenton’s sewer system, and its drainfields have raised concerns about the safety of groundwater and Warrenton’s nearby reservoir. Foothills’ proposal would extend Warrenton’s sewer lines to all the homes. Another proposed improvement is replacing oil and gas heat with clean, energy-efficient electric heat pumps.

VHDA Director of Strategic Housing Chris Thompson said he’s pleased that Fauquier County will manage the grant for Foothills, because “it demonstrates Fauquier’s firm commitment to improving the lives of Fletcherville residents, safeguarding Warrenton’s water supply and making the region even more desirable as a place to call home.”

The VHDA grant will pay for an appraisal and environmental assessments that Foothills must submit to Virginia Community Capital, the lender providing initial financing for the acquisition. When that short-term loan matures, VHDA intends to offer long-term financing for the acquisition, home improvements and the sewer project. John Reid, Executive Director of Foothills, said, “VHDA’s very good terms for a loan make the whole project doable.”

The partnership with Fauquier County and Foothills is one way VHDA is working to preserve and promote affordable housing in underserved rural Virginia communities. We’ve also introduced Foothills to agencies they may tap for future loans and grants, such as USDA Rural Development, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Southeast Rural Community Action Program. John Reid added, “VHDA has been wonderful to work with … bringing groups together on our behalf to fund these energy-efficient improvements.”

Foothills Housing Corporation was founded in 1970 with a mission to provide community wells in neighborhoods with little or no access to running water. Since then, it has expanded its scope and reach beyond plumbing and Fauquier County to make more safe, comfortable, affordable housing available to families and the elderly in many Virginia localities.

February 13, 2018

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

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HUD FY 2019 Budget

Trump Administration Proposes 2019 HUD Budget

This HUD Administration press release focuses on its core priority of providing direct assistance to vulnerable populations, while proposing significant cuts to capital programs and stating the Administration’s commitment to the idea that “state and local governments are best positioned to address specific needs in their communities.”


Chart Book:  Employment and Earnings for Households Receiving Federal Rental Assistance

The Trump Administration’s proposed budget has raised a major policy debate regarding the imposition of work requirements for recipients of federal rental assistance. This analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) exams data on the income and employment of current rent subsidy recipients to help gauge the potential impact of new requirements.


Other Federal Policy News

Mortgage Choice Act Approved by House of Representatives

The House of Representatives has voted to pass the Mortgage Choice Act of 2017, which would adjust the Truth in Lending Act’s definitions of points and fees under the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage rule.


FHFA Finalizes 2018 to 2020 Goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FFHA) has published a final rule that establishes new single family and multifamily housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for 2018 through 2020 in accordance with the provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.


Rental Housing

MBA Projects 2018 Maturing Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Volume to Drop 42%

A large share of commercial mortgages carry a maturity of 10 years.  2017 marked the end of the “wall of maturities” for loans closed during the housing boom.  Now, 2018 will see a steep fall off in maturities as the smaller number of loans closed during the 2008 financial crisis mature.


Homeownership

Mortgage Servicers Prepare for Next Natural Disasters

2017 provided a wake-up call to the mortgage servicing industry, which saw a sharp spike in mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures in the areas affected by hurricanes and wildfires. A summary of lessons learned and issues to be addressed in mortgage servicing disaster preparedness planning.


Market Trends

Redfin:  Affordable Inland Metros Drew Migrants from High-Cost Coastal Markets

Online real estate firm Redfin.com reports that migration patterns in the fourth quarter saw people in expensive, high-tax coastal markets such as San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Washington search for homes in more affordable metros with lower taxes. This confirms the out-migration pattern seen recently in Census Bureau and Weldon Cooper Center (UVA) estimates of population change in Northern Virginia.


February 6, 2018

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

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GSE Reform

Fannie-Freddie Bill includes Billions for Affordable Housing

A Senate bill to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the result of discussions between Tennessee Republican Bob Corker and Virginia Democrat Mark Warner, would devote billions of dollars to boosting home ownership among lower-income borrowers.  The draft gives the clearest view yet into how the senators aim to woo progressive politicians to back their plan. Support from those Democrats is likely needed to meet the 60-vote threshold for passing major bills in the Senate.

GSE Reform Bill Could be Congress’s Last Chance

In this op-ed interview, MBA CEO David Stevens discusses his views on key provisions of the draft legislation and the importance of moving a bill forward.


Rental Housing

LIHTC Market Faces “Mild Turbulence” Ahead

Investors and developers in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) market are adapting to a dramatic drop in pricing over the past year and expecting more uncertainty ahead. The main concern is that demand for tax credits could diminish once institutional investors calculate the full impact from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. However, investors have not yet hit the pause button. They still have ample capital available and a desire to buy tax credits.

Work Requirements and Housing:  What We Don’t Know Could Hurt Us

It is now considered likely that the Administration’s HUD budget proposal will authorize PHA’s to impose work requirements on abled-bodied recipients in federal rental assistance programs. This Urban Institute blog post exams what is known as well as what is not known about the impact of work requirements in low-income housing programs.


Homeownership

Manufactured Homes Could Ease the Affordable Housing Crisis. So Why Are So Few Being Made?

This Urban Institute blog post provides a brief overview of the manufactured housing industry’s impact on the affordable housing market over the past 40 years, and looks at the potential for manufactured housing to again play an important role in meeting affordable housing needs.

January 31, 2018

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

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Federal Housing Policy

Three Big Policy Trends for 2018

At the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Independent Lenders Conference, the consensus was that GSE reform, tax reform and regulatory reform will keep the industry busy in 2018. This panel discussion overview provides a summary of views on what to expect in each over the coming year with the overall conclusion being that the status quo is going to end.


Rental Housing

U.S. Regulators Ready to Ease Check on Property Values

U.S. bank regulators plan to relax commercial real estate lending rules by allowing more deals to go ahead without an independent appraisal of the property’s value. Under existing rules, commercial real estate worth more than $250,000 must have an independent third-party appraisal. That threshold would double to $500,000 under proposed reforms.


Homeownership

HUD to Consider Eliminating Manufactured Housing Regulations

HUD has announced that it is launching a “wholesale review” of its manufactured housing rules as part of a “broader effort to identify regulations that may be ineffective, overly burdensome, or excessively costly given the critical need for affordable housing.”  For the next 30 days, HUD will accept public comments to help the department identify regulations that may be “outmoded, ineffective or excessively burdensome” and should be “modified, streamlined, replaced or repealed.”


Housing Market Conditions

Amazon Pick for Second HQ Likely in Already Overheated Housing Market

CoreLogic monitors the health of the housing economy through historic home price changes and other market conditions including sustainability of prices in the market, referred to as the CoreLogic Market Condition Indicators (MCI).  In reviewing conditions in the 20 second round markets chosen by Amazon, CoreLogic concludes that  half, including Northern Virginia, are currently overvalued.


January 23, 2018

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

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Federal Housing Policy

What a Government Shutdown Means for Housing

A summary of shutdown impacts on the mortgage industry. Despite substantial reductions in HUD staffing, most key federal mortgage market functions would continue, but some mortgage closings could be significantly delayed.

What Does a Shutdown Mean for Washington Region’s Economy?

An economic and housing market data analysis to gauge the potential economic impacts of government shutdowns of varying durations.


Federal Housing Trust Fund

Housing Trust Fund at Risk Due to Tax Reform 

Due to unintended impacts from the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” signed into law in December, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) have announced they will likely need an advance from the U.S. Treasury – a move that, under current Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) policy, risks a suspension of the Enterprises’ statutorily required funding for the national Housing Trust Fund.


Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) Reform

Is the Senate Planning to Move Fannie, Freddie into Receivership?

The Senate is examining a plan from the Federal Housing Finance Agency that could turn Fannie and Freddie into utilities with access to an explicit government guarantee against catastrophic loss.  However, the Senate bill would differ significantly from the FHFA’s proposal.  It would replace the GSEs with at least 10 private-market guarantors.


Rental Housing Programs

Fannie Mae Wants Affordable Housing Developers to Focus on Resident Wellbeing

Last year, Fannie Mae launched a program designed to increase the development of healthy living options for residents of affordable, multifamily rental properties. The program, called Healthy Housing Rewards, targets developers and offers them an incentive to include healthy design features, like including common spaces, community gardens, playgrounds, into the design of newly constructed or rehabilitated affordable, multifamily rental properties. Now, Fannie Mae is rolling out a new feature of the program that encourages developers to focus more on the health and wellbeing of their residents..

Seven Predictions for the Multifamily Sector in 2018

“Stable” is the word that encapsulates the anticipated state of the multifamily sector this year.  Little change is expected by most market experts.

Apartment Rent Gains Slow

U.S. multifamily rents held steady in December, finishing 2017 at $1,359 on average--up 2.5 percent for the year.  "While that represents a solid gain, it also is the smallest annual increase since 2010," the YardiMatrix Rent Survey said, noting rents have grown by at least 3.3 percent every year since then, peaking at 5.4 percent in 2015 and declining to 3.4 percent in 2016.


Homeownership Programs

House Passes Bill That Eases HMDA Requirements for Smaller Lenders

The House of Representatives this week passed a bill that exempts some smaller lenders, community banks, and credit unions from the additional HMDA reporting requirements that went into effect at the beginning of this year.


January 18, 2018

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

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Federal Housing Policy

Top Democrats Want Credit Reporting Agencies Severely Punished for Equifax-style Breaches 

Two Senate Democrats want there to be much stiffer penalties should any credit reporting        agency, Equifax included, fail to protect consumer data again. On Wednesday, January 10, Sens. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., introduced a bill that would increase oversight of credit reporting agencies and allow the government to impose financial penalties on the agencies for failing to secure consumer data.

Financial Services Groups Ask Congress to Pursue New Data Breach Rules

The trade groups that represent the financial services companies impacted by the Warner-Warren bill are also asking for the government to enact new data security rules. In a letter sent to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, and Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, a collection of 22 trade groups say that they support new data security legislation because their member companies take data security “very seriously. The groups also lay out their vision for how that data security legislation should look.

Former FHA Head Joins Calls for Reverse Mortgage Separation

There continues to be concerns about the negative impact that reverse mortgages are having on FHA’s capital reserves. Carol Galante, former head of FHA, is among the growing chorus of housing experts who believe the federally backed reverse mortgage program should be separate from the Federal Housing Administration’s other loans.

MBA Calls for Improved Policing of VA Loan “Churning”

There is growing concern in Congress about serial cash-out refinancings of mortgage loans to veterans through the VA program. Mortgage Bankers Association Chairman David Motley, in testimony before a House subcommittee, said lenders who engage in serial refinancing ("churning") of Veterans Affairs loans run counter to sound lending practices and expressed support for measures that result in stronger policing of such practices.

Bill Would Rein in Mortgage Companies Targeting Veterans

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Thom Tillis have introduced a bill aimed at cracking down on mortgage lending companies targeting veterans, and say the measure is gaining support.


Homeownership Programs

HousingWire—Student Loan Crisis Could be Worse Than Originally Thought

In response to the release of a new study by the Brookings Institute regarding the scope of the student loan default “crisis” (see  below), HousingWire conducted further analysis to determine the potential scope of negative impacts on the first-time home purchase market.

Brookings—The Looming Student Loan Default Crisis is Worse Than We Thought
This report analyzes new data on student debt and repayment, released by the U.S. Department of Education in October 2017. Previously available data have been limited to borrowers only, follow students for a relatively short period (3-5 years) after entering repayment, and had only limited information on student characteristics and experiences. The new data allow for the most comprehensive assessment to date of student debt and default from the moment students first enter college, to when they are repaying loans up to 20 years later, for two cohorts of first-time entrants (in 1995-96 and 2003-04).

The Unintended Effect of New Tax Laws on Property Tax Servicing

The Tax Reform Bill, which caps the amount of state and local taxes that can be withheld, has caused disruption of mortgage escrow accounting protocols for some servicers in high housing cost/property tax areas, including Northern Virginia, where borrowers have attempted to pre-pay their tax liability.

State of U.S. Interest Rates, Broken Down by Credit Scores

Most tracking of mortgage interest costs focus on average rates such as reported weekly by Freddie Mac. However, actual rates paid vary significantly by credit score. LendingTree recently conducted a study which analyzed the actual rates lenders offered to borrowers to see the average interest rate broken down by credit scores.

A New Approach to Mortgage Design

Since the mortgage crisis, there has been growing interest in mortgage structures that accelerate equity growth for borrowers. Currently, the GAO is studying the issue at the request of Congress.  This article lays out one conceptual approach for achieving this goal.


Demographic Trends Impacting Housing

What is the Biggest Demographic Trend in Virginia?

Behind all of the demographic trends being tracked and reported on by the Demographics Research Group at UVA, there is one significant driving factor: aging. The aging of Baby Boomers is not only swelling the 65+ population, but is also having a ripple effect across all age groups, slowing growth in the working-age population and often causing decline in the school-age population. This report summarizes UVA’s findings regarding this trend.



January 9, 2018

So Tax Reform Passed… What Happens to Private Activity Bonds?

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As you likely heard, the affordable housing community was scrambling to figure out how to deal with the potential loss of Private Activity Bonds (PABs) under the tax reform legislation, as first proposed.  PABs are tax-exempt bonds issued by VHDA to finance rental housing. PABs are also convertible into Mortgage Credit Certificates (MCCs) for use in our Homeownership program. The House version of the bill completely eliminated PABs. Well, good news for PABs: In the tax reform legislation as signed into law, PABs as they existed before tax reform were entirely preserved.

What does this mean for VHDA and its customers?

Both our Homeownership and Rental programs will continue to operate as they have in the past, including the issuance of MCCs for home loans, and the issuance of tax-exempt housing bonds (PABs) with the associated 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) for affordable rental housing.

While the entire LIHTC Program was preserved in the legislation, there is concern that demand for tax credits due to the decreased corporate tax rate (formerly at 35%, now at 21%) will reduce the price.  This would result in less equity funding for rental developments. This is still “TBD,” but stay tuned as we determine the impact of tax reform legislation in 2018.

Questions?

Contact Toni Ostrowski in homeownership at toni.ostrowski@vhda.com or JD Bondurant in the rental division at jd.bondurant@vhda.com.