Affordable Housing Finance recently asked low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) syndicators what developers should watch for in 2013.
Here's what they said:
1. Stacie Nekus, senior vice president of investor relations, Alliant Capital: "Pricing and yield will continue to be a 2013 focus for investors, so developers need to be conservative in pricing their transactions, and it is likely that they will continue to see a downward trend. Also, investors are more focused than ever on highly leveraged transactions. Developers need to be aware of and pay particular attention to investor issues when developing their deals."
2. Greg Voyentzie, executive vice president, Boston Financial Investment Management: "Developers should watch for the following things at a minimum: 1) partner selection, particularly syndicator and certainty of execution risk; 2) continued lack of soft funds due to ongoing state and local budgetary concerns; and 3) as the economy improves (particularly construction), there could be increased material and labor costs that place additional stress on deals."
3. Mark McDaniel, president and CEO, Great Lakes Capital Fund: "Developers should watch for a downshift in credit pricing as investors continue to seek higher returns. They should also be aware of the 'market location' with regard to Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), as CRA is still playing a significant role in our markets. (Have investors met their CRA requirements? If developers don't know, they may want to discuss their future development plans with their syndicator.) Developers will also need to be mindful that lower credit pricing and limited gap financing may result in higher deferred fees."
4. Joe Hagan, president and CEO, National Equity Fund: "We think that pricing is changing rapidly at the investor levels (investors wanting higher returns, resulting in lower pricing). This has not yet trickled down to the state housing finance agency (HFA) or the developer level and may result in some repricing mid-year. We are also seeing limited interest in smaller transactions. On a positive note, veterans deals will receive a lot of attention this year. We also think that with the Department of Housing and Urban Development's new Rental Assistance Demonstration program that there will be opportunities for investments with HFAs doing substantial rehabilitation on existing public housing deals."
5. Stephen M. Daley, executive vice president, The Richman Group Affordable Housing Corp.: "We are seeing a repricing in the marketplace. Yields on our funds have increased at least 125 basis points, yet we still see competitors bidding for deals at the lower levels. Developers should be cautious to ensure that there is an end investor willing to acquire the transaction at the price being offered."
6. Tony Bertoldi, senior vice president of syndications and investor relations, City Real Estate Advisors: "In some CRA markets, there does appear to be less demand, but it is hard to measure. Several large CRA buyers are beginning new CRA cycles or have met their goals via other transactions; this may result in less demand in some key markets, but the pricing in those markets are already at levels that make just about any deal feasible."
7. Jeffrey Goldstein, executive vice president and COO, Boston Capital: "As a budget fight is still on the horizon, the industry should not be complacent about educating Congress not only about the importance of producing affordable housing but on the positive economic benefits it provides in the communities in which it is produced."