The Senate passed a tax extenders bill this week that includes an extension of the minimum 9 percent low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) rate. However, it’s only for allocations made before Jan. 1, 2015, so the extension’s value is highly limited.

With just two weeks left in the year, the 2014 housing credits have been distributed and a large number of deals have closed, so those deals would not benefit from the fixed rate.

In some cases, developers may be able to take advantage of the fixed rate, but it won’t be widespread, according to observers.

The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (H.R. 5771) passed 76-16, extending many of the temporary tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013. The bill also extends the New Markets Tax Credit through 2014.

The 9 percent minimum LIHTC rate was first established by Congress in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. It was then extended in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 before expiring at the end of last year. When the 9 percent floor expired, deals went back to being underwritten at a floating rate that’s been around 7.5 percent. At the lower rate, developments receive as much as 20 percent less equity.

LIHTC advocates had been hoping for a two-year extension of the fixed rate while they try to make the rate permanent.

The House passed the extenders bill Dec. 3.