National Equity Fund (NEF) reported a big year, closing $970 million in low-income housing tax credit equity (LIHTC) and acquiring 106 projects in 2015.

“We hit on all cylinders,” says Joe Hagan, president and CEO of the longtime LIHTC syndicator.

Joe Hagan
Joe Hagan

The 2015 results are a significant increase from $663 million and 76 projects in 2014.

Hagan attributes NEF’s growth to several factors, including organizational changes that allows for a team of originators and another team that underwrites and closes deals.

The firm has also been focusing on closing multiple smaller funds instead of a few larger funds. NEF has done up to four funds in recent years but did three multi-investor funds in 2015. It has also worked on improving the sequencing of the funds to create greater efficiencies and quicker closings, according to Hagan.

The Chicago-based nonprofit is an affiliate of the Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC). It was able to recently “upstream” approximately $7.2 million to LISC to invest in communities.

Looking at the LIHTC market, Hagan expects the market to hold steady in the next few months. “We still see that there is a strong demand,” he says. “The demand exceeds the supply.”

Many investors have continued to look for LIHTCs even though yields have been on a downward trend for well more than a year as competition has driven up prices.