This special state-by-state guide offers an exclusive compilation of changes in low-income housing tax credit and tax-exempt bond programs for 2009. The information is presented by state alphabetically, starting with tax credit information, then private-activity tax-exempt bond information. States were asked to provide details about their 2009 plans and 2008 activity. Not all states had their 2009 plans finalized as of press time.
CLICK ON A STATE'S NAME BELOW TO JUMP TO ITS PREVIEW
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.ahfa.com
MONTGOMERY—The tide of low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) will roll back in 2009 with the disappearance of the Gulf Opportunity (GO) Zone credits that were introduced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Alabama expects to have $10.2 million in LIHTCs to dole out next year, close to a 40 percent decline from this year's $26.4 million in tax credit reservations.
Applications surged this year, especially for rehabilitation developments, according to state officials, who expect to fund fewer acquisition-rehabilitation deals in 2009 due to lack of interest from investors and syndicators.
Although many other states received requests for additional credits from developers having difficulty making deals pencil out, the Alabama Housing Finance Authority (AHFA) says none of its owners put in such requests this year, though they still have a chance to do that when they submit final cost certification packages.
Among the changes Alabama plans to make to its 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP): Special exceptions for HOPE VI projects will be eliminated, forcing them to compete equally with other applicants; projects that use energy conservation measures and healthy-living features will earn extra points; and certain GO Zone cities and counties will face funding restrictions. A new threshold requirement: No buildings can be located in wetlands or 100-year floodplains. The deadline for 2009 applications has yet to be set.
Demand far outstripped supply this year, as developers put in applications for $63.1 million in LIHTCs, or 2.4x the amount the state reserved. A total of 34 projects representing 2,477 units received reservations. Alabama also forwardallocated $845,000 in tax credits. The median project size was 56 units, and the median award was $621,000.
The median equity amount on projects securing LIHTC reservations this year was $0.75 on the dollar, and AHFA expects that price to fall by a penny in 2009. The maximum LIHTC award next year will be $1.2 million, according to the draft QAP.
Alabama had no projects funded with tax-exempt private-activity bonds this year, although four were slated to receive financing. Three were unable to close due to tighter underwriting and reserve requirements, and the bank pulled the letter of credit on another, according to multifamily administrator Haywood Sport. He expects those same factors, plus limited investor demand for 4 percent LIHTCs, to keep demand for tax-exempt bond financing low in 2009.
FOR TAX CREDITS, visit www.ahfc.us
FOR TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.revenue.state.ak.us/treasury
ANCHORAGE—Developers applying for 2009 low-income housing tax credits are finding stricter underwriting requirements as part of the review process by the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. (AHFC).
The debt-service coverage ratio was increased from 1.3x to 1.4x; the vacancy rate assumption was increased from 5 percent to 7 percent; and the assumed tax credit price was lowered from $0.82 to about $0.78, possibly even lower. The moves were made to conform to increasingly rigorous underwriting criteria used by tax credit investors and by AHFC's in-house mortgage department, says Daniel Delfino, a planner at AHFC.
In addition, the agency is directly commissioning its own market studies of projects. AHFC says when looking at these studies it will also take into consideration the impact that the proposed project will have on existing AHFCfunded projects.
Applications for 2009 credits were due Nov. 17, 2008, with reservations expected to be made around April 2009. The state is projected to have about $2.8 million in 2009 credits.
Officials report that the 2009 qualified allocation plan remains largely the same as the 2008 plan, with the point categories going unchanged. The largest point categories are for project characteristics, income targeting, applicant characteristics, leveraging and matching contributions, location, and development and operational data.
Like other state housing agencies, AHFC expects its median equity price per tax credit dollar to decline in 2009, estimating it at approximately $0.78, down from about $0.82 in 2008.
Looking back at 2008, three developments with 147 affordable units were awarded more than $3 million in tax credits. The median size of the projects is 56 units.
About $232,500 in additional credits authorized through the Housing and Economic Recovery Act were made available to existing 2008 projects to assist them with increased construction costs and declining equity prices, according to AHFC.
Alaska's overall taxexempt private-activity bond cap is projected to be about $273 million in 2009. Officials did not report how much may go toward multifamily housing next year. The state is scheduled to receive about $96 million in additional bond volume cap from the recent Housing and Economic Recovery Act.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.housingaz.com
PHOENIX—The Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH) called off its 2009 lowincome housing tax credit season and reopened its 2008 competition after a rejected applicant, BJ Gunner Investments, LLC, filed suit to invalidate Arizona's qualified allocation plan (QAP).
Gunner claimed the QAP's drafting violated state rulemaking procedure laws. It claimed insufficient notice of a rule denying “project readiness” points to developers “unless they had submitted a losing project in the 2007 allocation round,” and of an alleged new policy against communicating about pending applications.
An open letter from ADOH Director Fred Karnas said the department had allocated tax credits for 20 years “believing that the Federal Rules and the QAP provided a sufficient framework for a fair and transparent process.” The letter read, “The Department negotiated a withdrawal of the lawsuit as a condition of reopening the 2008 round.” Karnas' letter did not name Gunner, but a department official confirmed that Gunner was behind the situation. Gunner's counsel did not comment but provided the complaint.
In the fall, ADOH invited unsuccessful 2008 projects to reapply for most of Arizona's projected $14 million in 2009 credits under lightly revised 2008 rules.
Rental Programs Administrator Randy Archuleta says all but three reapplied, including Gunner.
When the allocation system settles down, it will likely take a different shape. Karnas' letter mentioned possible new administrative rules or “a legislative remedy.” One of several notices at www.housingaz.com warned developers not to expect anything to stay the same in the QAP apart from federal mandates.
Developers with new projects may want to watch the $3 million in credits ADOH is setting aside for supplemental allocations. Archuleta suggests some might end up in an allocation round.
The original 2008 round allocated $13.8 million for 16 projects of 887 units, out of $32.7 million in applications. One multifamily project, combining four Rural Development acquisition/rehabs, received $2.9 million in tax-exempt bond financing and $243,239 in 4 percent credits.
Surveying the season, Archuleta says, “I'm just waiting to see what boils to the surface and see what crocodiles come out next.”
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.state.ar.us/adfa
LITTLE ROCK— Arkansas developers looking to build projects funded with lowincome housing tax credits (LIHTCs) will get a bit more help from the state in 2009, thanks not only to the change in federal law that allows states to offer a 30 percent boost to eligible basis, but also to some changes in the state's qualified allocation plan.
Most significant is an increase in the maximum amount of credits the Arkansas Development Finance Authority will award to any one project. That amount will jump to $450,000 in 2009, up from $400,000 this year. Projects that are historic, rural, or located in counties designated as low-income will have a $475,000 limit. Also, Arkansas rescinded a previous rule that limited the amount of state tax credits available to any single project to $250,000.
For developers, the moves may not make up for the decline in tax credit prices the state expects (from $0.90 on the dollar this year to $0.78 in 2009), but they can't hurt. State officials also say they expect developers to face higher costs in 2009 due to rising prices for materials and labor as well as the burden of meeting higher threshold requirements. The state added a half-dozen new threshold requirements, including a minimum debt-coverage ratio as well as limitations on developer fees, builders' profits, perunit costs, and rehab costs.
For 2009, Arkansas also created a $450,000 set-aside for public housing agencies. That's in addition to existing setasides for nonprofits, HOME and Rural Development projects, and assisted-living developments.
Arkansas expects to have $7 million in LIHTC authority in 2009, up from $6.25 million this year. The state actually made $7.6 million in reservations this year, once carry-forwards, returned credits, and national pool distributions were included. Developers requested $13.8 million in credits, putting the demand-to-supply ratio at about 1.8 to 1. Twenty-two projects received reservations this year, representing 855 tax credit units and 933 units overall. About $4.2 million were reserved to new construction projects and $3.4 million to acquisitionrehab deals. Applications for 2009 credits are due by Feb. 6.
The state said it will set aside 10 percent of its $262.1 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond cap for rental housing, although officials doubt they will see much demand for the bond authority.
“We have had little to no bond applications over the past several years, and given the equity market, the future appears to be the same,” says Multifamily Housing Programs Manager Bruce Bokony.
FOR TAX CREDITS, VISIT www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac
FOR TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.treasurer.ca.gov/cdlac
SACRAMENTO— In California's highly competitive lowincome housing tax credit (LIHTC) program, winners are often determined by a series of tie-breakers. Going into 2009, officials at the Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC) were considering a new third tie-breaker.
The committee is likely to weigh the use of public funds in a project as a factor in the third tie-breaker next year.
The state's qualified allocation plan was in draft form as of press time and was not expected to be finalized until early 2009.
California will have approximately $83 million in federal tax credit authority and about $80 million in state tax credits in 2009.
The state plans to continue to have two allocation rounds, with applications due in March and July 2009.
The main point categories in the state include income targeting, leveraging, readiness to proceed, amenities based on the location of the site, and project service amenities.
Demand in California remained strong in 2008, with developers requesting more than $202 million in LIHTCs. TCAC reserved about $80.4 million in credits to 75 projects that will provide 4,779 tax credit units. Officials in October said these figures did not include projects that may get funded from a waiting list.
More than $74 million in reservations went to new construction projects.
The median size award was approximately $1 million, and the median project size was about 65 units.
All of the state's non-geographic set-asides were oversubscribed, with the rural category being the most competitive, report TCAC officials.
In other news, a statutory change in the state will allow the bifurcation of state and federal tax credits.
On the bond front, California will have roughly $3 billion in overall volume cap. Historically, about 80 percent of the annual state ceiling has been set aside for housing.
In 2009, projects will have to meet several readiness threshold requirements including, but not limited to, the demonstration of site control, evidence of zoning and local approvals, and evidence of a commitment to purchase bonds, according to the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee.
Officials say 149 multifamily projects have received or are slated to receive bond financing in 2008.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.chfainfo.com
FOR TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT dola.colorado.gov/cdh/index.html
DENVER— Developers badly wanted low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) in 2008 from the Colorado Housing and Finance Agency (CHFA), but few investors wanted its bonds.
Natasha Weaver, CHFA's new manager of tax credit allocations, says demand for credits was running high. CHFA granted almost $10.7 million in 2008 reservations on more than $36.3 million in applications. Many winners had deep low-income targeting. CHFA had extended the 10 percent carryover test deadlines for seven projects by fall 2008.
Applications for Colorado's projected $11 million in 2009 credits are due Feb. 1, May 1, and Aug. 1, 2009. The 2009 qualified allocation plan may include tighter rules for underwriting and energy efficiency and possibly higher threshold scores for 4 percent credit projects.
Developers should also be aware of news reports that CHFA had been facing high borrowing costs in late 2008 due to market conditions and especially the insolvency of an Irish bank, Depfa Bank, PLC.
An update on CHFA's Web site says, “The capital we currently use to fund many of our commercial loans is inaccessible at this time. ... For rental finance activity, rates for the tax-exempt programs have been raised. ... For the taxable programs, which include the SMART loan program and loans to finance the 9 percent, competitive LIHTC projects, production has been paused.” Existing commitments would be kept, it says.
CHFA spokesperson Jerilynn Martinez reports about 48 percent of the 4 percent and 9 percent tax credit projects “have received CHFA loans over the last three years.” She gives CHFA's multifamily loan commitments as “$39.8 million, of which $17.7 million are 9 percent tax credit deals.”
Ann Watts, private-activity bond program manager at the Department of Local Affairs, says El Paso County's $5.15 million was the only multifamily bond issue outside CHFA in 2008.
“People are just kind of collecting cap and hanging on to it,” Watts says. Three municipal issuers—Denver, Adams County, and Douglas County—were carrying forward authority for multifamily housing.
CHFA produced $25 million in taxexempt bonds for five multifamily projects in 2008. The tax-exempt bond program was raising required debtcoverage ratios from 1.15x to 1.20x.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.chfa.org
ROCKY HILL— Plans to replace or redevelop public housing will get the first shot at half of Connecticut's 2009 lowincome housing tax credits (LIHTCs).
The change is meant to help conventional affordable housing developments compete. In 2008, there was no limit on how many qualifying public housing developments could cut to the front of the line for LIHTCs as “Special Class 1” applications.
Now public housing redevelopments that don't win tax credits set aside for Special Class applications must compete against conventional projects in the General Class round. Connecticut has nearly 18,000 units of decades-old state public housing. Many housing authorities receive little or no operating subsidy to manage these apartments and have been eager applicants for LIHTCs.
The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) plans to release the final qualified allocation plan for its competition for $7.8 million in 2009 LIHTCs by the end of this year. There will only be one round of competition in 2009, so Special Class applicants will have to turn in their 2009 applications on the same day, March 1, as everyone else.
The competition will have a new scoring system that favors new construction and mixed-use projects more than in prior years, according to CHFA.
Demand is still high for LIHTCs. CHFA received $16.3 million in applications for its $7.7 million in 2008 LIHTCs. The eight winning projects will create 1,180 units of affordable housing.
More developers than usual have already asked for additional LIHTCs to help fill holes in their budgets due to high construction costs and the low price investors now pay for LIHTCs.
Some projects that reuse former industrial sites or commercial buildings can help fill their budget gaps with the 30 percent boost in eligible basis traditionally provided to projects in difficult-todevelop areas. CHFA also plans to reserve $10 million in state housing tax credits.
Plans to rehabilitate distressed public housing also will take advantage of the state's roughly $300 million in tax-exempt privateactivity bond cap in 2009. CHFA approves a handful of projects each year, accepting applications on a rolling basis, though the capital crisis has recently made closing these projects more difficult.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.destatehousing.com
DOVER— Developers who want to win 2009 low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) in Delaware will have to conduct an energy audit on their proposed developments to find potential ways to make them more energy efficient.
Energy audits are just one part of Delaware State Housing Authority's (DSHA) growing focus on green building. The authority plans to reward energyefficient developments with significant points in the tax credit competition.
Developers also will have to meet the authority's new planned requirements for financial feasibility—rewarding those who have improved the net operating income of their planned projects by cutting energy costs.
DSHA plans to release the final qualified allocation plan for the competition Jan. 1, 2009. Applications will be due March 27 for the state's $2.7 million in 2009 LIHTCs. The winners will be announced June 19.
The authority plans to continue to set aside more than half of its LIHTCs to finance developments that will preserve existing affordable housing. Nearly 1,800 subsidized apartments in Delaware will have the option of leaving their affordable housing programs by 2012, according to the DSHA.
Overall demand remains strong for the tax credits. The authority received $3.6 million in applications for its $2.4 million in 2008 LIHTCs.
The four developments that won 2008 LIHTCs will create 331 units of new affordable housing. That's up from the 248 units of affordable housing financed with the state's $2 million in 2007 LIHTCs. All four of the 2008 winners plan to rehabilitate existing buildings.
Delaware's focus on preservation, which is cost effective compared to new construction, is helping the authority to keep its production numbers up even as investors pay less for LIHTCs and construction costs remain high.
In response to falling tax credit prices, the agency plans to raise the maximum LIHTC award to $1.3 million per project in 2009. Market conditions are too volatile to predict how much investors will pay for 2009 LIHTCs, though it will almost certainly be less than the median price of $0.83 they paid per dollar in 2008.
DSHA has no plans to use any tax-exempt private-activity bond cap for rental housing in 2009 because the deals are not financially feasible, according to the agency.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
FOR TAX CREDITS, VISIT www.dhcd.dc.gov
FOR TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.dchfa.org
WASHINGTON, D.C.— In October 2008, the District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) released a draft qualified allocation plan for its competition for 2008 low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs).
It's been a long wait. The last time developers turned in tax credit applications here was in September 2006 to compete for 2007 LIHTCs. The competition for 2008 LIHTCs was held back as officials rewrote the program.
The new plan separates the competition for tax credits from the agency's request for proposals process, which has governed the majority of its housing programs in recent years. It also makes green building mandatory and commits the tax credit program to support specialneeds development.
Applications for DHCD's $15 million in LIHTC allocating authority will be due Feb. 13, 2009, according to the draft. The winners will be announced in May.
To compete, applications will have to meet or exceed the green building requirements defined in the District of Columbia's 2006 Green Building Act, based on Enterprise Community Partners' Green Communities Criteria.
Developers will also have to show they control their project's site and have a clean record with city agencies. The new requirements should help guarantee that DHCD receives applications “that are ready to proceed,” according to officials.
DHCD also plans to encourage development in areas where the city is already focusing resources, such as near federal HOPE VI redevelopments of distressed public housing, and in areas helped by city programs like Great Streets, the Neighborhood Investment Fund, and the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Areas. Applications for projects in these areas will receive up to 15 points in DHCD's new 500-point scoring system.
Affordable housing developers also are likely to tap the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency for about two-thirds of its roughly $300 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond volume cap to help finance affordable rental projects in 2009. The agency accepts applications throughout the year.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.floridahousing.org
TALLAHASSEE— It won't exactly be squeezing blood from a stone, but developers in Florida won't see any increase in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) from the state in 2009, according to officials at the Florida Housing Finance Corp.
The Sunshine State expects to dole out $40.15 million in LIHTCs next year, just a $5,300 increase in credits from 2008. That's because officials forwardallocated $7.2 million in 2009 tax credits during the 2008 calendar year. Florida Housing received a record amount of applications this year.
That fact highlights the stark imbalance between LIHTC supply and demand in a state where housing costs spiraled out of reach for many during the housing boom.
Although the mortgage crisis has pulled home prices down, developers still swamped Florida officials with requests for LIHTCs this year, asking for $289 million, for a staggering supply-demand ratio of 7.2 to 1.
Florida expects to use the 30 percent basis boost authorized by federal lawmakers earlier this year, but as of October was still holding workshops to determine the best way to implement the increase.
It also plans to include provisions designed to push for better energy efficiency and a higher level of historic preservation in the 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP).
The coming year will mark the first time Florida has made special-needs housing a separate point category in its QAP. The other categories will be: optional features and amenities, green building, length of affordability period, set-aside commitments, and resident programs. Applications are due in March 2009 for the first round.
In 2008, Florida reserved $40.127 million in LIHTCs to 29 projects representing 2,612 tax credit units. Nearly four of every five LIHTC dollars went to acquisition-rehab projects, while $6.1 million went to new construction deals. The median tax credit award was $1.3 million; median project size was 92 units.
Florida will have an estimated $1.55 billion in tax-exempt private-activity bond authority in 2009, with $363.5 million of that slated for rental housing. Demand soared this year, increasing 53 percent from 2007, and officials expect that trend to continue in 2009.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.dca.state.ga.us
ATLANTA— As financial market volatility continued into late October, Georgia officials were working long hours revising the state's qualified allocation plan (QAP), and they couldn't help but be influenced by the turmoil.
In 2009, “We'll be looking at developer/owner capacity and experience a lot more than we ever did before, and that's in response to what's been happening in financial markets,” says Fenice Taylor, tax credit manager for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The DCA plans to establish a category called “Tier 1 developers,” which will be eligible for higher per-project funding limits and will be chosen based on their track records and financial strength, according to Taylor.
The QAP for low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) had not been finalized as of press time, so some elements were still subject to change. For instance, the exact application date had not been nailed down at press time, although it was expected to be sometime in May 2009.
The state also expected to eliminate its pre-application phase and instead have developers submit with their regular application their compliance histories, environmental reports, and other information normally included in this phase.
In addition, DCA will require developers to commission their own market studies; in the past, DCA had commissioned the studies.
For developers looking for HOME funding, DCA plans to institute an RFP (request for proposals) process prior to the LIHTC application deadline.
Some point categories will be changed for 2009: The state will eliminate points it had awarded to mixedincome deals as well as doing away with its scoring section for special-needs projects, which will instead get their own set-aside. Historic rehab points will be increased, and these deals, along with special-needs projects, rural no-debt projects, deals in designated disaster areas, and green building projects, will be eligible for the federally authorized 30 percent basis boost.
Georgia expects to have $21 million in LIHTC authority in 2009, up from $20.6 million this year, and the maximum per-project credit award is expected to be $850,000. In 2008, 34 projects received reservations for 1,939 LIHTC units and 2,120 total units. Six tax-exempt bond-funded projects received reservations of 4 percent LIHTCs totaling $2.5 million.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.hawaii.gov/dbedt/hhfdc
HONOLULU— Approximately $3.5 million in federal low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) and about $1.75 million in state tax credits will be available in Hawaii in 2009.
One of the possible changes that developers may see in the LIHTC program in 2009 is a move to target apartments to households earning 50 percent or 60 percent of the area median gross income (AMGI).
A draft qualified allocation plan (QAP) proposes awarding up to 10 points to projects that commit to set aside all of its units to tenants earning no more than 50 percent of the AMGI. Projects may also score points for setting aside units at no more than 60 percent of the AMGI based on a weighted scoring formula.
This is a change from the prior QAP where 10 points were awarded to projects committing all of its units to residents earning no more than 40 percent of the AMGI, reports the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. (HHFDC).
Major points would also be given to developments that commit to an extended-use period beyond the 15-year LIHTC compliance period. Up to 10 points are available based on the length of a development's affordability.
The deadline for applications is expected to be in the first quarter of 2009, with reservations being announced in the second quarter, according to Dean Sakata, finance specialist at HHFDC.
In 2008, about $3.9 million in federal credits were reserved to three new construction projects. All of the reservations went to nonprofit organizations.
In 2008, the total tax-exempt privateactivity bond cap was $262 million. There is no set aside for multifamily housing.
Project feasibility, affordability, and length of affordability are among the key factors in determining whether a multifamily project receives a bond allocation in the state.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.ihfa.org
BOISE— The Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) is proposing several notable changes to its low-income housing tax credit program in 2009, including increasing the minimum annual operating cost per unit.
The draft 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP) proposes increasing the minimum operating cost per unit from $3,500 to $3,800 (including replacement reserves) for family developments and from $3,200 to $3,500 (including replacement reserves) for seniors housing projects.
The draft plan also includes a cautionary note to developers, warning them about the volatility in property tax assessments. IHFA encourages sponsors to contact the appropriate county assessor before estimating the annual property tax assessment on their project.
In another move, points have been added for energy efficiency. Under the draft, 15 points will be given to developments that will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified for energy efficiency. Other projects may receive up to 10 points for energy efficiency or other green measures.
The draft plan also says that points will be given for developments that utilize private grants in the amount of $10,000 or more. The prior QAP did not set a minimum grant level.
IHFA also has reworked the points available for selected area median income levels and updated its management threshold criteria.
The draft QAP is expected to be approved by Jan. 1, 2009. The next application deadline is Feb. 13, 2009.
Looking back at the 2008 reservations, IHFA reported that 13 projects received $3.6 million in tax credits. This includes three projects that received additional awards. About $2.6 million in reservations went to family projects, and $964,694 went to seniors housing. A little more than $1.1 million were reserved for rural housing deals.
About 77 percent of the reservations went to for-profit firms, and about 23 percent went to nonprofits.
In a sign of how difficult it can be to conduct deals, about $1.5 million in unused credits were returned to the agency. Two projects returned credits, according to IHFA.
Idaho will have about $270 million in overall tax-exempt private-activity bond cap in 2009. Roughly $200 million are expected for homeownership mortgage revenue bonds.
Multifamily housing projects seeking a bond allocation must meet QAP thresholds. Applications are accepted throughout the year.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.ihda.org OR www.cityofchicago.org/housing
CHICAGO— The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) will have $22.5 million in federal lowincome housing tax credit (LIHTC) authority in 2009, as well as $18.2 million in state tax credits.
Applications are due Dec. 8, 2008, for the first round, and April 6, 2009, for the second round. The maximum LIHTC award will be $2.25 million in 2009.
The authority has amended its 2008- 09 qualified allocation plan (QAP) to include criteria to determine which projects are eligible for the 30 percent boost in credits provided for by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act.
The criteria includes projects in high-cost areas; developments in the supportive-housing population set-aside; and projects that have become financially infeasible. Also, projects located in areas specified by the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act, a state law signed in 2003, may apply for additional credits.
In 2008, more than $15 million in LIHTCs was reserved, with nearly four times that amount requested. Nineteen projects received reservations as of Sept. 30, 2008, accounting for 1,125 tax credit units. The nonprofit and small projects set-asides were the most oversubscribed, while the public housing authority set-aside was the most undersubscribed.
IHDA expects about $100 million in tax-exempt bond cap to be available to rental housing in 2009. The criteria for winning tax-exempt bond financing have not changed, and there's no deadline to apply. In 2008, roughly $78 million was allocated to multifamily projects.
The city of Chicago's Department of Housing will have $6.9 million in LIHTC authority in 2009 and $4.3 million in state tax credits to allocate. As of late October, the application deadline was not determined. The maximum award in 2009 will be $1 million, though some exceptions apply, including projects that fall under the Chicago Housing Authority's Plan for Transformation. The city's 2009 QAP will reflect changes brought about by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, including a boost of tax credits for struggling projects.
In 2008, the city allocated about $6.3 million in 9 percent credits to 10 projects, accounting for 830 units.
The Department of Housing expects to have about $280 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond cap for rental housing in 2009. There is no deadline for applications. In 2008, the city helped to fund eight projects with nearly $148 million in bond financing, accounting for 1,169 units.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.in.gov/ihcda
INDIANAPOLIS— The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) will have $14.2 million in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) authority in 2009.
Applications are due Jan. 19, 2009, with reservations announced April 25. The maximum LIHTC award for 2009 will be $800,000.
The 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP) contains several significant changes. For the first time, IHCDA has included a green development score to encourage energy-efficient design. A new point category called high performance housing was added with a focus on sustainable development characteristics.
The 2009 QAP also includes a point reduction for developers whose ongoing deals are moving slowly. IHCDA also has increased the maximum scoring to 150 points, from 100 points, so that the score will more accurately reflect the quality of a development and increase competitiveness among applications.
Also new in 2009 is a Housing First set-aside meant to encourage permanent supportive housing. This category replaces the low-income set-aside, which was eliminated due to lack of popularity.
Some underwriting changes have been implemented, too. Operating expense growth was lowered to between 1 and 3 percent, down from between 2 and 4 percent. Rental income growth was lowered to between 0 and 2 percent, down from between 1 and 3 percent last year. And the tax credit-per-unit requirement was eliminated to allow for more underwriting flexibility.
Due to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, IHCDA will boost the eligible basis of developments in need of more funding where buildings are placed in service after July 30, 2008.
In 2008, more than $15.5 million in LIHTCs was reserved, with more than $17 million requested. New construction received the bulk at $13.5 million, with preservation accounting for just less than $2 million. Thirty-four projects received funding, accounting for 1,761 tax credit units. The new construction, seniors housing, and large city set-asides were oversubscribed, while the preservation and rural set-asides were the most undersubscribed.
IHCDA expects about $100 million in tax-exempt private-activity bonds to be available in 2009. The maximum amount a development can win is $20 million.
The scoring for tax-exempt bond requests was increased, from 30 to 45 points in the 2009 QAP. The deadline to apply is April 10, 2009.
In 2008, four deals were allocated $42.8 million in bonds, representing 729 units.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.iowafinanceauthority.gov
DES MOINES— The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) has eliminated its application deadline for low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs), moving instead to a rolling process.
The open round began Oct. 31, 2008, and runs through Oct. 1, 2009.
IFA will have $6.5 million in LIHTC authority in 2009, but the authority expects to have more credits at its disposal.
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act allocates Disaster Relief Tax Credits to many Midwest states hit hard by storms and flooding, translating to almost $21 million in additional credits for Iowa in 2009. What this means is that developments in 78 Iowa counties are eligible for a 30 percent boost in credits.
About 10 percent of those disaster relief credits will boost IFA's nonprofit setaside, another 10 percent will go to a rural development set-aside, and another 15 percent will go to IFA's reserved set-aside, which allocates additional credits due to tax credit pricing fluctuations.
Some changes in the 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP) include capping the maximum amount of credits at $3 million for a project (and $7 million for a developer with multiple ongoing projects). IFA also changed the QAP to allow new construction projects to ask for additional credits if costs exceed original estimates, up to an additional 5 percent of hard construction costs.
Also new in 2009 are stricter requirements for first-time developers and developers new to Iowa. Developers must have completed at least one tax credit development in which all LIHTC units are leased, in Iowa or any other state, before submitting an application. And developers new to Iowa must meet IFA's tax credit manager to go over the QAP and application process.
IFA also added a provision in the 2009 QAP that requires the developer, general partner/managing member, development consultant, and management company to undergo financial background checks.
In 2008, more than $5.7 million in LIHTCs was allocated, compared to more than $12.6 million requested. Nineteen projects received credits, accounting for 756 tax credit units. Nearly $2 million in unused credits were returned to IFA last year, significantly higher than previous years.
IFA expects between $20 million and $30 million of tax-exempt private-activity bonds to be available for rental housing in 2009. The criteria for receiving bond allocations has not changed from prior years. One project received $3.75 million in bond financing in 2008, for a 79-unit seniors housing project.
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TOPEKA— The Kansas Housing Resources Corp. (KHRC) will have more than $6.1 million in federal low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) in 2009.
Applications for the first and second rounds are due Feb. 6 and Aug. 7, 2009.
Unlike many states, Kansas does not set a maximum LIHTC award amount, so there's no limit to the amount of credits a development can win.
While the 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP) wasn't finalized at press time, KHRC plans to make changes reflecting the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. KHRC will add criteria for establishing eligibility for projects to receive an additional 30 percent boost of credits, as outlined in the act.
KHRC also will add criteria for energy-efficient and historic buildings; developers now can win additional points for Energy Star certification.
The 2009 QAP also will include an underwriting change: an increase in projected operating costs to allow for anticipated higher expenses.
Kansas does not have any set-asides in its QAP, only specifying the federal requirement that at least 10 percent of its tax credit allotment go to nonprofits. It also has five priority housing needs: communities with populations of less than 5,000; preservation of Department of Housing and Urban Development or U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance contracts (or any application from a public housing authority); developments serving special-needs populations; developments offering below-market rents; and developments in high-growth markets.
In 2008, KHRC allocated more than $6.3 million in 9 percent credits, with more than 3x that amount requested. In all, 24 projects received allocations, accounting for 759 units. For-profits scored 73 percent of the credits, with the remaining going to nonprofits. The median award was $264,030, and the median project size was 32 units.
Nearly every development that won credits in 2008 has requested additional credits to offset the drop in equity pricing, according to KHRC.
At press time, the Kansas Department of Commerce was unsure how much tax-exempt private-activity bond cap would be set aside for rental housing production in 2009. The major criteria for winning bond allocations include major rehabilitations of more than $25,000 per unit, low-rent targeting, and preservation of existing housing, which remains unchanged from last year. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
In 2008, Kansas issued roughly $30 million in bond volume cap in total to two multifamily developments.
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FRANKFORT— Kentucky is reacting to the credit crunch by tightening its own requirements for low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) developments in 2009 to strengthen the likelihood that projects will make it through to closing and remain financially viable for a long period afterward.
The state is toughening its underwriting standards, increasing threshold requirements for financing commitments, and, as an extra measure, looking for projects that have strong development teams. Officials want to see “stronger commitment letters and hard underwriting requirements” in LIHTC applications, and this will be a threshold requirement for funding next year, says Tammy Stansbury, director of housing, finance, and construction for the Kentucky Housing Corp.
To win reservations, projects will be required to have a debt-service coverage ratio (DSCR) of between 1.20x and 1.25x in the first year and to maintain a positive ratio through year 10. In 2008, they only needed a 1.15x DSCR for the first year and only had to keep the ratio positive through year five. That's likely a wise safety precaution, as officials expect the median equity amount per tax credit dollar to fall to $0.73 from $0.77 this year.
The Bluegrass State expects to have $9.5 million in LIHTC authority to award in 2009, along with $5 million from its state housing trust fund. The maximum amount available to any single project will be $950,000. The application deadline for 2009 has already passed: It was Oct. 20, 2008, and the reservation date is Jan. 7, 2009.
Kentucky reserved $8 million in LIHTCs in 2008 out of the $14.7 million requested, giving credits to 25 projects with 922 total units. Forty percent of the credits went to acquisition-rehab deals, and 56 percent to new construction.
The additional credits created by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act are being used for 2007 and 2008 projects that are having difficulty securing equity providers, Stansbury says. The state is also increasing the number of counties eligible to receive the 30 percent basis boost federal lawmakers authorized. The 2009 qualified allocation plan gives additional points for energy efficiency and historic properties, as well as increasing the nonprofit and Rural Development set-aside.
Officials expect to have between $40 million and $80 million in taxexempt private-activity bond cap available for multifamily projects. In 2008, $27.6 million were set aside for four projects, representing 542 total units.
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BATON ROUGE— After three years of handing out massive amounts of low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs), Louisiana will return to a state of LIHTC normalcy next year.
The state estimates that it will have just $9.4 million in credits to award, near its total in 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina came roaring through the Gulf Coast states and changed the financing landscape.
Federal lawmakers set up a program allotting extra LIHTCs to the states most affected by that year's devastating hurricanes, and Louisiana was a big winner in the Gulf Opportunity Zone sweepstakes.
It awarded $208.1 million in LIHTCs over the following three years, or an average of $69.4 million per year.
This year, that allotment allowed the state to help fund 54 developments with a total of 4,616 units and 1,834 LIHTC units.
Even so, the amount Louisiana doled out was far short of demand: Developers requested more than $156.8 million in LIHTCs, or 2.4x the amount available. The median tax credit award was $416,757, and the median project size was 100 units, say officials with the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency (LHFA).
The decline in tax credit prices this year dropped the median price paid for LIHTC equity in the state to $0.78, according to LHFA officials, who expect prices to hold steady at about that level in 2009.
This year, three tax-exempt bondfunded projects qualified for funding, and the state reserved 4 percent LIHTCs totaling $2.3 million to them. As of press time, the LHFA had not completed a draft qualified allocation plan (QAP), so little information was available regarding what changes officials will make to the state's LIHTC program requirements for 2009, and no application dates had yet been set.
A final QAP is expected to be available in the spring.
Officials did say they expect to have between $25 million and $30 million in funds available from the state's housing trust fund, provided that the program receives lawmaker approval.
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AUGUSTA— Developers here face falling prices for low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs). Area officials predict investors will pay a median price of just $0.80 for each dollar of 2009 LIHTCs, down from more than $0.90 on the dollar two years ago.
MaineHousing will reserve $3 million in LIHTCs in 2009. The agency expected to release the final qualified allocation plan Oct. 31, 2008, with applications due Nov. 20.
To help make up for falling prices, MaineHousing plans to increase the number of difficult-to-develop areas in the state. Developers building in these areas can apply for a reservation of LIHTCs based on 130 percent of their project's eligible basis. MaineHousing also has a high maximum LIHTC award of $900,000 and a $10 million housing trust fund to help developers close gaps in their project budgets.
Officials also plan to add scoring criteria that will encourage historic preservation projects because of the state's new historic tax credit.
Demand for LIHTCs is dropping as it becomes more difficult to obtain financing. MaineHousing received $3.6 million in applications for the $3.6 million LIHTCs it had to reserve in 2008, including forward allocations. In comparison, MaineHousing received $7.6 million in applications for its $2 million in 2007 LIHTCs.
The seven projects that won LIHTCs this year will create 203 affordable apartments. Ninety percent of these tax credits are financing new construction projects, while two-thirds of the tax credits are going to seniors projects.
MaineHousing also plans to reserve $20 million of its tax-exempt privateactivity bond cap to finance rental housing projects.
That's significantly less than the $35 million in bond cap the agency used this year to finance nine rental housing developments, including several that will preserve existing affordable housing.
“Rising operating costs and lower equity yields are making fewer transactions feasible,” explains Bill Glover, manager of lending for MaineHousing.
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CROWNSVILLE— In 2009, the secret to winning some of Maryland's low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) will be to have a strong development team.
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) plans to reward applications in the state's estimated 325-point competition for 2009 LIHTCs with up to 100 points based on the strength of the sponsors.
As of October, DHCD planned to publish its qualified allocation plan in November 2008 for its competition for $14.3 million in 2009 LIHTCs. Applications will be due Dec. 16, 2008, for the first round, with the winners announced in April 2009. Officials have yet to pick an application deadline for the competition's second round.
The Housing and Economic Recovery Act accounts for most other major changes to the competition. Developers will be allowed to increase the eligible basis of developments in many areas by 30 percent. DHCD also plans to increase the maximum amount of LIHTCs a project can receive to $1.5 million.
These changes will help developers fill holes in their budgets caused by rising development costs and falling LIHTC prices. Investors are predicted to pay a median price of $0.75 for each dollar of 2009 LIHTCs. That's down from $0.88 per dollar in 2008. Developers who won 2008 LIHTCs have already asked for more supplemental tax credits than usual, according to officials.
DHCD also will award $15 million from its housing trust fund in 2009 to support affordable housing.
Demand remains high for tax credits. The agency received $28.9 million in applications for its $13.8 million in 2008 LIHTCs. The 19 winning developments are expected to produce 1,255 units of affordable housing, split roughly between new construction and rehabs of existing buildings.
DHCD also typically reserves nearly $300 million of the state's approximate $450 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond cap for housing.
The department splits the bond cap about evenly between its homeownership program and rental housing and accepts applications for rental projects on a rolling basis.
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BOSTON— Affordable housing developers received more low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) here in 2008 than ever before, thanks to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act.
But because of the high cost of construction and falling tax credit prices, $14.7 million in 2008 LIHTCs financed just 1,041 units of affordable housing, only slightly more than the 960 financed with just $10.5 million in 2007 and much less than the 1,323 units financed with $10.1 million in 2006.
The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is fighting back by forwardallocating tax credits.
Officials plan to reserve $16.7 million in 2009 LIHTCs, nearly $2 million more than the state's federal allocating authority of $14.8 million.
LIHTC prices keep falling. Officials predict investors will pay a median $0.80 on the dollar for 2009 LIHTCs. That's pretty good compared to the low prices in some neighboring states, but still significantly less than the median $0.95 investors paid for 2007 LIHTCs here.
To make up for high construction costs and falling LIHTC prices, starting November 2008, DHCD has raised the amount of tax credits a development can receive by increasing the maximum eligible basis, which helps determine the amount of a project's LIHTC subsidy, to $200,000 per unit from $175,000 for new construction.
The maximum eligible basis at developments that preserve existing affordable housing rose to $175,000 per unit from $170,000.
DHCD also plans to reserve $10 million in state housing tax credits.
Demand for tax credits remains high. Developers applied for $24 million in 2008 LIHTCs, including requests from developers for additional subsidy.
Officials plan to release the final qualified allocation plan for the 2009 competition in December 2008. Applications will be due in early July 2009.
The agency anticipates few major changes to the competition, though it is likely to set aside some of its 2009 LIHTCs for HOPE VI redevelopments of public housing.
Affordable housing developers also financed projects in 2008 using lowinterest tax-exempt bond loans. MassHousing and MassDevelopment planned to reserve $104 million of the state's $548 million in 2008 tax-exempt private-activity bond cap to finance nine rental housing projects.
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LANSING— The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) will have $22 million in federal low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) authority in 2009.
The state's 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP) was still being amended at press time. But the QAP will reflect provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, such as criteria for developers eligible for a 30 percent boost in tax credits, when it is finalized Dec. 31, 2008.
Set-asides, point categories, and income-targeting requirements are expected to remain the same in 2009. MSHDA was considering a modification of threshold requirements to encourage more new urbanism/green communities developments in the 2009 QAP. The application deadline had not yet been determined as of press time.
MSHDA expects the median equity amount per tax credit dollar to be $0.78 in 2009, down from the $0.81 generated on average by each tax credit dollar in 2008.
In 2008, MSHDA awarded $25 million in LIHTCs, though nearly twice that amount, $47 million, was requested. In all, 59 developments received tax credit funding this year, and the median tax credit award was $430,000. The distressed areas and nonprofit set-asides were the most oversubscribed, and the supportive housing and underserved areas were the most undersubscribed set-asides.
MSHDA will have $900 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond cap in 2009, plus an additional $300 million as a result of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. MSHDA was unsure how much of that would be set aside for rental housing allocations, and there is no application deadline for developers to apply for bond financing.
MSHDA does have some incentives in place to encourage developers to use bonds for preservation/expiring-use or Year 15 projects. MSHDA allows up to a $2 million developer fee for tax-exempt financing, and up to $1 million for taxable financing, and may provide soft debt for qualified projects.
MSHDA's underwriting of bond deals has grown more conservative. The authority said it would be more selective of proposed sites and underwrite with deeper income and rent targeting, while using other conservative underwriting assumptions, in 2009.
In 2008, no projects were funded using bond financing.
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ST. PAUL— Minnesota Housing will have $11.4 million in federal lowincome housing tax credit (LIHTC) authority in 2009.
The maximum LIHTC award will be a little more than $1.05 million in 2009, up from $780,000 in the 2008 qualified allocation plan (QAP).
Applications for the first round of allocations were due June 18, 2008, and the application deadline for the second round is Feb. 5, 2009.
Minnesota Housing is in the process of amending its 2009 QAP to reflect changes brought about by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act.
The 2009 QAP includes criteria for determining which projects are eligible for the 30 percent boost in tax credits provided by the act. Eligible projects include top-ranking tax credit developments that previously received allocations but are hampered by funding gaps. The 2009 QAP will also factor the energyefficiency and historic nature of a project into the selection criteria as provided by the act.
The main point categories will not change from the 2008 QAP, nor will threshold requirements, income-targeting requirements, or underwriting standards.
In 2008, Minnesota Housing awarded $10.6 million in tax credit reservations, while more than twice that, $26.9 million, was requested. In all, 22 projects received LIHTCs, accounting for 931 units, in 2008.
New construction deals won a whopping 98 percent of the credits, and the overwhelming majority of those deals, 80 percent, were for family housing. Eightysix percent of the credits went to units targeting those earning up to 50 percent of the area median income (AMI); 10 percent of the credits were awarded to units serving those earning up to 30 percent of the AMI; and 4 percent of 2008 credits went to units aimed at those earning up to 60 percent of the AMI.
For-profit developers garnered 58 percent of 2008 credits, with the remaining going to nonprofits. The median tax credit award was $386,041, and the median project size was 54 units.
Minnesota Housing expects tax-exempt bond financing to be available to developers in 2009 but, as of press time, was unsure what amount would be set aside for rental housing allocations.
Also as of press time, Minnesota Housing had awarded $745,408 in bond financing to two deals and expected to award bond financing to another seven projects in its pipeline, totaling 610 units.
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JACKSON— Like other states affected by the hurricanes that tore through the Gulf Coast region in 2005, Mississippi will see a decline in its low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) authority in 2009.
The Magnolia State expects to have $6.7 million in LIHTCs available to award to developers next year, a huge decline from the $66.8 million it reserved in 2007, its peak year for Gulf Opportunity (GO) Zone credits. One reason that number was so big was that the state forward-allocated the vast majority of its 2008 credits (including GO Zone credits), leaving it with less than $5 million to reserve this year. The federal government awarded extra GO Zone credits to the hurricane-affected states to help them recover and rebuild housing stock destroyed or washed away by the storms.
In 2007, Mississippi funded 5,853 tax credit units, double the previous year's amount and almost 16x as many as it funded in 2008. This year, developers requested $27.9 million, and the state reserved $4.6 million in LIHTCs, which are expected to fund 371 units in 11 projects. That does not include the $3.8 million in LIHTC authority that was expected to be allocated by year-end.
“Currently, delivery of units is being delayed by the difficulty of obtaining a tax credit investor, along with decreased syndication pricing,” says Katina Pace, vice president of tax credits for the Mississippi Home Corp. “Also, wetlands issues are resulting in extensive delays along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”
For 2009, the state has made several changes to its draft qualified allocation plan (QAP). It adds a $750,000 set-aside for historic developments and would award points to such developments for the first time. The QAP also adds a 10- point category for projects that preserve existing affordable housing at risk of being lost. It increases the minimum developers must spend on rehab work to 20 percent of basis in their projects, and it changes its minimum design standards to incorporate green-building and energyefficiency guidelines.
The draft QAP for the first time gives examples of the types of resident services for which it awards points and clarifies that developers must provide six of the eight listed services to qualify for points. The application deadline period for 2009 credits is March 30 to April 3, 2009, with reservations made roughly 120 days later.
Mississippi awarded $1.03 million in 4 percent credits to three qualifying tax-exempt bond-funded projects. For 2009, developments seeking bond funding will have to satisfy all the criteria in the QAP, except for the selection criteria and the competitive credit authority set-asides.
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KANSAS CITY— The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) has established new housing priorities in its 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP).
The priorities include preference given to preservation deals and sustainable or green housing; allocating at least 10 percent of federal low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) to nonprofits; and preference given to developments in disaster areas, workforce housing, and service-enriched housing.
The 2009 QAP also reflects changes brought about by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, including the elimination of below-market federal loans, like HOME and HOPE VI loans, from the definition of federally subsidized properties, allowing the allocation of 9 percent credits without a reduction in basis. MHDC also will extend the time developers have to meet the 10 percent carryover allocation test to one year from date of allocation.
A few underwriting changes are present in the 2009 QAP. Due to the turmoil in the LIHTC investment market, MHDC has eliminated an underwriting provision that sets a floor for tax credit pricing.
MHDC also has lowered developer fee requirements in the 2009 QAP to address concerns over cost. New construction developments now are limited to 15 percent of total replacement costs for the first $4 million, and 10 percent for any additional amount of total replacement costs. Developer fees for acquisitionrehab and historic preservation developments also have lowered requirements.
MHDC will have $12.9 million in LIHTC authority in 2009. Additionally, MHDC will administer about $14 million in state LIHTCs in 2009.
Applications were due Sept. 5, 2008. The maximum award for 2009 will be $700,000.
In 2008, MHDC allocated $11.5 million in LIHTCs to 29 projects, accounting for 1,296 tax credit units. Eighty-nine percent of the credits went to units serving those earning up to 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), while only 4 percent of credits were given to units targeting up to 50 percent of the AMI.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development expects to have $680 million in tax-exempt privateactivity bond cap available in 2009, though the amount allocated to rental housing was not known at press time. Criteria for winning allocations has not changed from previous years. Applications were due Sept. 5, 2008.
In 2008, 10 projects received or were expected to receive tax-exempt bond financing of $59.4 million, accounting for 702 units.
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HELENA— The Montana Board of Housing (MBOH) has amended its 2008 and 2009 qualified allocation plans (QAPs) due to changes enacted by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act.
The changes include a 30 percent boost of low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) for deals located outside of difficult-to-develop areas and qualified census tracts that need extra equity to enhance feasibility. Some of the qualifying reasons include higher land costs, higher costs of construction materials, lower rents, or lower-than-expected credit pricing.
The 2009 QAP also adds a historic designation to the “preservation of affordable housing projects” scoring item. Buildings with historic preservation designations are now included in that scoring category, along with existing housing stock and projects applying for rehab tax credits that have completed their initial 15-year compliance period. MBOH also has eliminated the point category for units targeting those earning up to 30 percent of the area median income in the 2009 QAP.
The 2009 QAP also changed the minimum rehabilitation threshold for acq-rehab credits to 20 percent of costs, up from 10 percent last year. And MBOH removed a requirement for the annual recertification of tenants in 100 percent qualified buildings after the first anniversary recertification. Now, managers will recertify the tenants on the first anniversary of move-in, but the tenants will selfcertify thereafter.
MBOH expects to have $2.6 million in LIHTC authority in 2009, with applications due Jan. 16, 2009. The maximum LIHTC award for 2009 will be $650,000.
In 2008, more than $2.3 million in LIHTCs was reserved, with more than $3.7 million requested. Seven projects received awards, accounting for 200 units. The median tax credit award was $394,812, and the median project size was 34 units.
New construction took the bulk of credits, more than $1.6 million, while seniors developments received about $648,000. The nonprofit set-aside was the most oversubscribed, while the small project set-aside was the most undersubscribed.
Montana will have $236 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond cap in 2009, with no specific amount set aside for rental housing. Allocations are made on a first-come, first-served basis, so there is no deadline to apply. No changes have been made from 2008's criteria. In 2008, three projects received or were slated to receive bond financing as of press time, totaling $9.3 million, for a total of 180 units.
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LINCOLN— The Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA) expects to have $4 million in federal low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) authority in 2009.
NIFA also expects to have an infusion of additional “disaster relief ” tax credits, provided by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, though the amount wasn't known at press time. The act provides for $8 in tax credits per capita to Midwest states designated as disaster areas in 2008.
NIFA has a two-staged application process. The threshold deadline is Dec. 12, 2008, with final applications due Jan. 23, 2009, for the first round. The second round's deadlines begin March 13, 2009, with final applications due April 17. The maximum award equals 18 percent of the state's total allocation.
The only major change in the 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP) is the inclusion of criteria for determining which projects will receive additional tax credits as provided by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. The act allocates 10 percent in additional tax credits to each state, and the states then allow projects that have already received tax credits to get a 30 percent boost of their eligible basis. The QAP was not final as of press time.
In 2008, NIFA allocated approximately $3.9 million in LIHTCs, while $7.5 million was requested. A total of 14 projects accounting for 339 units received tax credits. Each of those projects was a new construction deal, and a significant portion—62 percent—was for rural housing. Eighty-four percent of the credits were for units targeting households earning up to 50 percent of the area median income (AMI), and the remaining 16 percent went to units targeting those earning up to 40 percent of the AMI.
Family housing received the bulk of credits, 59 percent, while 22 percent went to seniors housing. Fifteen percent of the credits were allocated to single-room occupancy or homeless deals, and the remaining 4 percent was allocated to housing for the disabled. For-profit developers received 60 percent, and nonprofits won the remaining 40 percent.
NIFA expects about $262 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond cap to be available statewide in 2009, with about $20 million set aside for rental housing. Applications are processed on a firstcome, first-served basis. In 2008, no multifamily projects received bond financing in Nebraska.
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CARSON CITY— Nevada Housing Division officials were worrying investors' tastes might turn too simple in hard times.
Dr. Hilary Lopez, chief of federal programs, writes, “Based on our 2008 round, there appears to be more investor interest in basic projects that serve seniors/family residents rather than special-needs populations or projects that require special set-asides such as dedicated Sec. 8 or Medicaid vouchers.”
Responses to the financial crisis in the 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP) included higher limits on low-income housing tax credit allocations—up from $1 million to $1.15 million per project and double that per sponsor—and a 10 percent set-aside for supplemental allocations. The agency at first meant to require an underwriting assumption of $0.80 per tax credit dollar, but the QAP's Sept. 23 final draft said staff would post a “prescribed equity rate 60 days prior to the application deadline.”
The QAP set criteria for 30 percent basis boosts under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, generally involving hardships for developers or tenants. They included projects planned for high-foreclosure areas to be designated.
Applications for 2009 credits are due May 8, 2009. The 10 percent carryover test deadline, extended under the housing act, is Nov. 6, 2010.
In 2008, the agency reserved almost $5.7 million in credits for 446 tax credit units, mostly new construction for seniors. It forward-allocated $568,000 more, which Lopez calls “a new process that we will be implementing for 2009.” Lopez sees projects trending smaller. The median award was $556,991, the median size was 50 units, and the median equity price was about $0.83.
Nevada produced $43 million in multifamily bonds for 700 units. Lon DeWeese, the housing division's CFO, identified a “450- unit high-rise that could be built in an affordable manner” as a standout, but declined to name it as it was not yet approved. Bond program emphases included “employer/employee-assisted” housing projects and seniors housing “to prepare for the wave of seniors retiring in Nevada.”
Despite Nevada's high foreclosures, DeWeese says he doesn't see land costs softening yet—“the prices are continuing to hold.”
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BEDFORD— The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority is scrambling to help affordable housing developers deal with falling prices for low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs).
Officials estimate the median price investors will pay for a dollar of 2009 LIHTCs will be just $0.74. That's a drop of more than $0.10 from typical prices this year.
New Hampshire has no state housing tax credit program or housing trust fund to help fill the gap. To make up for the weak prices, officials plan to increase the maximum allocation of LIHTCs a project can receive from $500,000 in 2008 to $600,000 in its 2009 qualified allocation plan, which is expected to be finalized Dec. 1.
The authority also plans to increase the amount it sets aside for alreadyfunded projects seeking supplemental tax credits. Projects needing less than $30,000 in annual LIHTCs will be able to receive the additional funding through an administrative process— over that amount, projects must re-apply.
The authority will reserve $2.9 million in 2009 LIHTCs, a tidy increase from $2.6 million the year before, thanks to the federal Housing and Economic Recovery Act. Applications for the first two rounds of the competition are due Feb. 6 and June 26, 2009.
In recognition of the need to save resources—both tax credits and construction materials—the authority will no longer favor new construction with extra points compared to the rehabilitation of existing buildings. However, the authority still prohibits using 9 percent LIHTCs to recapitalize existing affordable housing.
The authority also plans to continue to reward green building projects. In 2009, developers who pledge to ban smoking at their projects will earn extra points in the competition.
Demand from developers has been high for LIHTCs. The authority received applications requesting more than 3x the $2.6 million it had to hand out in 2008.
Demand from developers has not been as high for tax-exempt bond financing. In 2008, the authority financed one 78-unit affordable housing project with $4.6 million in tax-exempt bonds. In 2009, the authority will set aside $20 million of the state's $270 million in taxexempt private-activity bond volume cap for affordable rental housing.
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TRENTON— Affordable housing developers here are likely to find deep holes in the budgets for their projects because of the falling prices of low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs).
Officials expect investors to pay a median price in the mid-$0.70s range for a dollar of LIHTCs in 2009, compared to the median price of $0.90 investors paid in 2007.
“We have heard from developers that anticipate coming in for additional credits in 2009,” says Debra Urban, director of tax credit services for the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA).
Developers that need up to $100,000 in supplemental LIHTCs can apply for hardship credits from HMFA's reserve in exchange for lowering their developer fees.
Officials expect to finalize the 2009 qualified allocation plan for the competition of the state's $20 million in LIHTCs in the spring, with applications due in April and August. The winners will be announced a few months after the application deadlines.
It's too early to say what changes HMFA will make to the program, although officials do plan to continue to reward green building in the competition for credits, says Urban.
Demand from developers has been high this year. HMFA received applications nearly 3x the $20.1 million it had in 2008 LIHTCs to reserve. That was a big surprise for officials, who expected weak LIHTC prices to shrink the number of feasible applications they received.
The winning 20 projects is expected to create 1,350 units of affordable housing. More than $18.3 million of the $20.1 million in 2008 LIHTCs is financing new construction projects.
Preservation of affordable housing continues to be a priority for the agency, which has reserved one-fifth to a quarter of its LIHTCs in most years to that specific set-aside, says Urban.
HMFA officials expect to use about $100 million of New Jersey's roughly $700 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond cap to finance rental housing projects in 2009.
The agency does not receive a set amount of bond cap. Instead, the state allocates volume cap as it is needed.
FOR TAX CREDITS, VISIT www.housingnm.org
FOR TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.board.nmdfa.state.nm.us
ALBUQUERQUE— Affordable housing developers in New Mexico will compete for about $4 million in federal lowincome housing tax credits (LIHTCs) in 2009.
The 2009 draft qualified allocation plan (QAP) features a couple of important changes in scoring for the coming year, reports the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (NMMFA).
Under the draft QAP, a new point category has been created for “efficient use of tax credits,” where up to 10 points will be available for projects that do not exceed 100 percent of the 2008 weighted average total development cost per square foot ($155.43). Projects that do not exceed 110 percent of the weighted average ($170.97) would receive five points.
The NMMFA also has proposed making up to 20 points available for projects that reserve units for specialneeds housing, an increase of five points from 2008.
The highest point category continues to be for developments that target households with the lowest incomes. The criteria, however, has been changed slightly to help projects in rural counties with incomes in excess of the non-metro median income.
Under the QAP, projects must score at least 100 points. The application deadline is Jan. 30, 2009, with reservations expected to be made around May.
In 2008, New Mexico reserved a little more than $5 million in LIHTCs to six developments that have a total of 391 apartments. About 93 percent of the reservations went to new construction deals.
In response to the recent Housing and Economic Recovery Act, the agency amended its 2008 QAP to hold an interim round of allocations for developments that had already received a LIHTC allocation but had not been placed in service by July 30, 2008. Award recommendations are expected in December 2008.
In 2009, the entire state is potentially a difficult-to-develop area based on financial need, under the recent legislation. That means the eligible basis on LIHTC projects may be increased by 30 percent.
New Mexico's overall tax-exempt private-activity bond cap is approximately $262 million. It is unknown how much will go toward housing in 2009. The New Mexico State Board of Finance oversees the bond program.
FOR TAX CREDITS, VISIT www.dhcr.state.ny.us AND www.nyc.gov/hpd
FOR TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.nyhomes.org AND www.nychdc.com
NEW YORK CITY— The biggest set of low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) programs on the East Coast just got bigger, thanks to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. State and local housing agencies here will have $44.4 million in LIHTC allocating authority in 2009, up from $38.6 million in 2008.
The New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) will reserve roughly $25 million in its statewide competition, and it will suballocate $14 million in 2009 LIHTCs to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and another $5 million to the New York Housing Finance Agency and the Development Authority of the North Country. Applications to DHCR will be due Feb. 11, 2009, with reservations announced in June.
DHCR made few changes to its 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP). DHCR's maximum reservation increased 10 percent, both per development and per unit of housing. The agency will set aside $3.3 million in 2009 LIHTCs to preserve existing affordable housing, 10 percent more than in 2008. The set-aside for supportive housing also will grow 10 percent to $2.2 million.
As of October, investors had paid a median $0.86 for each dollar of DHCR's 2008 LIHTCs—$0.06 on the dollar less than officials forecast a year ago. Developers who need extra LIHTCs from DHCR to fill holes in their project budgets have to compete formally against other projects. DHCR expects to reserve at least $29 million from its housing trust fund in 2009, in addition to $4 million in state housing tax credits.
In New York City, HPD plans to release its 2009 QAP in early 2009. HPD will extend the 30 percent basis boost provided to projects in difficult-to-develop areas to developments that receive HOME funds.
The New York State Housing Finance Agency and the New York City Housing Development Corp. will issue $600 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond cap to finance both rental housing and homeownership projects in 2009.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.nchfa.com/Rental/RD2009qap.aspx
RALEIGH— North Carolina expects to make fewer low-income housing tax credit awards in 2009 than it did this year, but to award more credits per project as costs rise and equity dwindles.
The state also will allow project owners who were awarded credits in 2007 and 2008 to return their allocations in exchange for the same amount of 2009 credits, as well as to apply for the 30 percent basis boost authorized by the federal government. Projects with high land costs, extensive site preparation, or off-site costs will be considered for the boost, according to state officials.
Owners of projects that were awarded 2007 credits “have the added option of applying for an increased award based on the new 9 percent tax credit rate minimum,” says Scott Farmer, rental investment director with the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency. “These credits are not competitive, but projects will only be awarded what they need. This policy is in response to the unprecedented problems in the national equity market.”
Some threshold requirements will change for 2009. Energy Star appliances will be required for all new construction projects, plus hard-cost contingencies, developer fees, and operating expense minimums will increase. And projects won't be underwritten unless rent increases are limited to 2 percent and expense increases to 3 percent. The application deadline is Jan. 9, 2009.
North Carolina received applications for $52.2 million in tax credits this year, 2.4x the $21.7 million it reserved to the 44 projects that received reservations. The median amount of equity developers expected to receive was listed in applications at about $0.81 on the dollar, “but who knows what they will actually get,” says Farmer, adding that projections of equity prices in 2009 are “basically impossible” to make.
Because they were waiting to see how many credits would be returned, as of press time, officials couldn't say with certainty how much credit authority they would have in 2009, but they projected that the amount would exceed $18 million.
North Carolina expects to have $815 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond authority next year and will target $75 million to rental housing, although it's unlikely to see enough demand to allocate that full amount, officials say. Deadlines for multifamily bond applications will be Jan. 9 and July 2009.
FOR TAX CREDITS, visit www.ndhfa.org
FOR TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.nd.gov/ndic
BISMARCK— The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) will have more than $2.5 million in federal lowincome housing tax credit (LIHTC) authority in 2009.
Applications are due by Feb. 27, 2009, and the maximum LIHTC award is $638,750. The state also holds two additional rounds if credits are available, and those deadlines are April 30 and Sept. 30, 2009.
NDHFA has amended its 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP) to reflect the additional 10 percent in credits each state receives due to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. That extra 10 percent will be used to shore up projects already in the pipeline, as NDHFA continues to solicit revised applications from developers who won allocations in 2008 to gauge demand.
The 2009 QAP has been amended to reflect the criteria for developers in need of an extra 30 percent boost in tax credits. Eligible projects include those serving special-needs populations, the homeless, or other populations in need of permanent supportive services. Developments with 20 percent or more of its units targeting households earning up to 30 percent of the area median income will also get preference.
Other eligible projects include those with tribal reservations; new construction of infill lots that require demolition or environmental remediation; and new construction in rural areas without sufficient soft financing to be feasible.
The QAP, which is expected to be final by the end of this year, will also include more points for historic preservation and green developments, as specified in the act. Some existing main point categories also will change. Developments looking to score points in the specialneeds category will have to have a greater percentage of units serving a specialneeds population to score points, and preservation deals will need more dollars of rehab per unit to win points.
In 2008, NDHFA awarded more than $2.3 million in tax credits to seven projects, accounting for 255 units. The median award was $285,698, and the median project size was 43 units.
The North Dakota Industrial Commission expects to have $273.2 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond cap in 2009, though it was unsure how much of that would be allocated to rental housing.
North Dakota's bond allocations are made on a first-come, first-served basis, so there's no application deadline. In 2008, no projects were awarded bond allocations in the state.
FOR TAX CREDITS, VISIT www.ohiohome.org
FOR TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.odod.state.oh.us
COLUMBUS— The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) has made several significant changes to its 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP).
OHFA has changed the definition of its permanent supportive-housing pool, expanding it to include projects dedicated to individuals with special needs that may not be competitive in other pools. Additionally, OHFA will try to encourage more rehabs of existing affordable housing by increasing the preservation pool to $6.5 million, up from $5 million in 2008.
And OHFA will no longer tally points. The agency is eliminating the competitive point process by defining all terms as either threshold requirements or competitive evaluation criteria, which gives OHFA more flexibility to select proposals that best meet its policies.
OHFA is also limiting proposals in rural areas to just $600,000 in annual credits, to spread funds to a greater number of properties. And OHFA will limit the number of applications submitted by one organization to encourage developers to submit only their best projects.
Since Ohio has been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, the 2008 QAP was amended at the last minute to include tax credit opportunities for those rehabbing vacant foreclosed homes. OHFA funded five such projects in 2008 and expects to receive more applications for foreclosedhome rehabs in 2009.
The agency will give a 30 percent boost in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) to projects that demonstrate a need for more funding, a change brought about by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act.
In all, OHFA will have $25 million in LIHTC authority available in 2009. Applications are due March 19, 2009, and the maximum award will be $1 million. OHFA will receive an additional $4.6 million in credits for 2009 due to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act.
In 2008, OHFA allocated more than $23.6 million to 38 deals, accounting for 2,086 tax credit units. Nearly $90 million was requested. New construction projects received more than $17.1 million. Seniors deals scored $10.8 million, family housing received nearly $9.8 million, and rural deals brought in about $5.4 million.
The Ohio Department of Development expects to have $120 million of the statewide tax-exempt privateactivity bond cap available to rental housing allocations in 2009. No significant changes were made to the selection criteria from previous years. In 2008, 13 projects received a total of $103.8 million in bond financing.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.ohfa.org
OKLAHOMA CITY— The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) will have $8 million in federal low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) authority in 2009.
Applications are due Jan. 12, 2009, and second-round applications are due July 2. The maximum award will be $550,000, and OHFA expects the median equity amount per tax credit dollar to be $0.80 in 2009.
OHFA has made some changes to its 2009 qualified allocation plan (QAP) due to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. Two new point categories, energy efficiency and historic buildings, have been added to the QAP as prescribed by the act.
The state also will give some projects a 30 percent boost in tax credits to help project feasibility, as specified by the act. OHFA will outline criteria for eligibility of the 30 percent boost when the QAP is finalized in November 2008.
Additionally, OHFA will allow rural developments to use national non-metro median income figures to determine income limits, if that figure is greater than county area median income, as provided in the act.
OHFA says many developers who won 2008 allocations have requested additional credits. The state enacted emergency rules once the federal legislation was passed to provide for the 30 percent boost in credits. Those additional credits will be awarded in January 2009. The emergency rules give OHFA the flexibility to award additional credits in the future.
Developers requested more than $16.4 million in credits in 2008. Since the second 2008 allocation round had not yet been awarded as of press time, OHFA couldn't say how much in 9 percent credits was reserved this year.
The nonprofit, rural development, and elderly set-asides were the most oversubscribed in 2008. In fact, one of the biggest trends this year was an increase in rural development projects submitting applications. These projects fall under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Development Sec. 515 program for new construction and typically have a USDA Rural Development Sec. 538 loan.
In 2008, OHFA did not finance any developments with tax-exempt bonds. The statewide 2008 tax-exempt privateactivity bond cap was more than $307.4 million, and OHFA expects the 2009 figure to be about the same. As of press time, OHFA was still mulling whether to set aside any of that for rental housing.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.ohcs.oregon.gov
SALEM— Officials at Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) will be looking to see how ready lowincome housing tax credit (LIHTC) projects are to proceed next year.
The department has established a new reservation period that gives project sponsors receiving a tax credit reservation up to 75 days to submit additional materials and fulfill specific project milestones that address their readiness to proceed. Projects that fail to complete the requirements of a reservation letter within the deadline will be reviewed and may have their tax credits rescinded.
Developers will find several other changes at OHCS, which has historically set aside about 30 percent of its grant and tax credit resources to fund special department initiatives. The set-aside targets several areas such as preservation of existing affordable housing and rental-assistance projects, permanent supportive housing for homeless populations, and housing for developmentally disabled individuals leaving or needing to leave the homes of their aging parents.
For 2009, OHCS has added a self-scoring section to its consolidated funding cycle application, which incorporates the results of a housing-needs analysis completed by its research department that identified and ranked the type of projects by city or county that were most in need in a community.
Two allocation rounds are scheduled for 2009, with deadlines expected to be in February and July. The maximum award size will be $825,000.
About $8.3 million in federal LIHTCs and about $3.5 million in state credits are projected to be available in 2009.
Using 2008 credits, OHCS reserved more than $7.2 million in federal tax credits to 14 developments that will provide 688 affordable apartments. The median project size was 46 units, and the median award was $479,329. About 40 percent of the units are aimed at residents earning no more than 40 percent of the area median income.
Oregon's overall taxexempt private-activity bond cap is estimated to be $325 million in 2009. About $125 million in bond authority allocated to the department will likely be made available first to multifamily housing. OHCS will also have about $153 million of private-activity bond carry-forward from prior years, according to officials.
Seven multifamily developments had received bond financing in 2008 as of press time.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.phfa.org
HARRISBURG— The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) will have $27 million to hand out in its competition for 2009 low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs). That's up from the $24 million PHFA officials expected to reserve in 2008 LIHTCs before Congress passed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, raising the state's tax credit authority.
The extra tax credits will come in handy. Officials predict investors will pay a median price of $0.79 for each dollar of 2009 LIHTCs—far less than the median $0.91 investors paid this year.
The state has no housing trust fund or state housing tax credit to help developers make up the difference. Instead, PHFA will offer a high maximum reservation of $1.6 million in 2009 LIHTCs to developments in municipalities the agency defines as distressed.
Officials also plan to set aside 5 percent of its 2009 LIHTCs to developments that need additional tax credits. The state has already allowed developments not yet placed in service to apply for additional 2008 tax credits.
PHFA's qualified allocation plan released earlier this year includes few other changes to the competition for 2009. The competition's scoring still favors energy conservation, leveraging of resources, large family units, extra-deep income targeting, services, and community impact. Applications were due Oct. 3, 2008, and the winners will be announced in May 2009.
PHFA received $66.6 million in applications for the $25.5 million in 2008 LIHTCs the agency had reserved as of October, including the extra tax credits provided by the housing legislation. The winning developers will produce 43 properties, accounting for 2,177 units. Two-thirds of the tax credits financed new construction, and just more than half financed family developments.
PHFA also reserved $126.1 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond cap to finance rental housing projects from the state's total bond cap of $882.2 million. The reservations financed 14 properties. With one exception, the projects will preserve existing housing or redevelop public housing.
Several successful applications packaged properties into single tax-exempt bond deals, including multiple plans to preserve affordable rural developments and seniors properties originally developed through the Sec. 202 program.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.rhodeislandhousing.org
PROVIDENCE— This small state is getting serious about protecting open space. Rhode Island's Keep Space Initiative prioritizes sustainable development that uses land efficiently, maximizes open space, and discourages sprawl.
Developers competing for federal low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) should pay attention. The demand for LIHTCs is still more than three times the supply here, and officials can afford to be picky.
Rhode Island Housing is one of only a few agencies that do not score applications for tax credits by points.
Instead, developers win based on how well they meet Rhode Island's Comparative Criteria, in the judgment of state officials, starting with the capacity of their development team and ending with the priorities of the Keep Space Initiative, according to the 2009 qualified allocation plan now available on Rhode Island Housing's Web site.
Applications were due Oct. 3, 2008, in the competition for $2.7 million in 2009 LIHTCs. The winners will be announced in February 2009. The agency made no changes to the competition's set-asides and threshold requirements.
Rhode Island Housing received applications for $9.1 million for its $2.7 million in 2008 LIHTCs. The winning six projects will create 295 units of affordable housing, all targeted to families.
Officials predict investors will pay a median price of $0.80 for each dollar of 2009 LIHTCs, compared to a median price of $0.92 in 2008. Because of falling prices, an unusually large number of developers have asked for supplemental 2008 tax credits to fill holes in their project budgets.
The agency is evaluating the requests on a case-by-case basis. Rhode Island Housing has also raised the maximum amount of LIHTCs a development can receive to $1.3 million.
The state also plans to set aside $50 million of its total $273 million in taxexempt private-activity bond cap to finance rental housing developments.
Another $100 million will finance homeownership programs.
But it's not clear that any of that bond cap will be used by rental housing developers because of the difficulty of making deals work here.
At the end of October, the agency had not yet issued any bonds in 2008 to finance rental housing.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.schousing.com
COLUMBIA— South Carolina, like many states, expects to provide more lowincome housing tax credits (LIHTCs) to developers with qualifying projects in 2009, but whether that will actually result in more funding remains in doubt with the price of credits continuing to fall.
The Palmetto State will likely increase the maximum tax credit award per project to $700,000 from $650,000 and raise the cap on developer fees to $1.9 million from $1.8 million, according to information in its draft qualified allocation plan (QAP). “This will allow developments to realize the full value of the 9 percent applicable federal rate since several developments hit the $650,000 cap in 2008 and didn't get the full benefit of the rate change,” says Laura Nicholson, program manager for the South Carolina State Housing Finance & Development Authority.
And in response to federal legislation passed this year that allows states to offer a 30 percent basis boost to more developers, South Carolina is expanding the size and number of the areas it will count as qualified census tracts. In tandem with that move, it expects to eliminate its setaside for projects in what it calls “hard to develop areas” and instead add a set-aside for nonprofit developers.
The 2009 QAP also will have an increased emphasis on energy efficiency, including some mandatory Energy Star requirements.
In addition, South Carolina is recognizing the reality of rising costs for development operators by boosting the perunit amount it allows for annual operating expenses by $200, to a range from $3,000 to $4,000. Applications are due Feb. 27, 2009, with reservations being made Aug. 15.
The state reserved $8.5 million in credits this year, which are expected to fund 18 projects totaling 1,016 units. The vast majority of those credits went to new construction projects, and that trend is likely to continue next year. For 2009, South Carolina's LIHTC authority will likely be between $10.5 million and $11 million.
This year, only one project was awarded a reservation of the 4 percent credits that accompany tax-exempt bonds, and it received $613,700. South Carolina expects to have $350 million in volume cap to dole out in 2009 but sees developer demand for this funding source being low because assembling financing will be difficult. Applications for bonds are accepted on a rolling basis.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.sdhda.org
PIERRE— The South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA) has proposed some changes to its 2009-10 qualified allocation plan (QAP), which should be finalized in mid- December.
One proposal is reducing the maximum award amount to 20 percent of lowincome housing tax credit (LIHTC) authority, from 25 percent in 2008. At 20 percent, the maximum award would be $533,000 in 2009.
SDHDA also has proposed changing its debt-service coverage ratio to 1.15x, from 1.10x, in the 2009-10 QAP.
Other proposals for the 2009-10 QAP include increasing the cost-per-unit limits by 8 percent over the last QAP in an effort to eliminate project cost constraints and allow more development flexibility. SDHDA also may revise the points awarded to property characteristics, to put more emphasis on energy efficiency and homeownership. Points awarded for leveraging also may be modified to give more emphasis on creative and diverse project financing.
Income-targeting requirements are not expected to change in the 2009-10 QAP, as SDHDA will continue to award an additional 40 points for projects targeting households earning up to 50 percent of the area median income (AMI), and another 40 points for projects targeting 40 percent of the AMI.
SDHDA will have more than $2.6 million in federal LIHTC authority in 2009. Applications are due Feb. 27.
In 2008, SDHDA awarded more than $2.3 million in LIHTCs, while more than twice that amount, nearly $5 million, was requested.
Nine projects accounting for 367 units received credits in 2008. New construction deals won more than $1.8 million, while acquisition-rehabilitation projects scored about $568,000.
Family housing won more than $1.8 million in credits, while seniors deals scored about $297,000 in 2008. Housing for the homeless garnered $151,396 in tax credits. For-profit developers won 78 percent of the credits, with the remaining 22 percent going to nonprofits. The median award was $172,601 in 2008.
SDHDA expects taxexempt bond financing to be available to developers next year, but as of press time, was not sure how much would be available. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, and there is not a maximum award limitation. In 2008, SDHDA awarded bond financing of $6.9 million to one development, a 60- unit project.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.thda.org
NASHVILLE— With about $1 million in returned low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) from developers whose projects didn't make it off the ground, Tennessee joined many other states that found themselves with a bit of extra credit authority to give out in 2008.
The Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) reserved $13.6 million this year to 23 projects across the state, and at press time, still had about $1 million in authority remaining, which officials expected to hand out by year-end. That's a decline from 2007, when the state allocated $19.8 million to projects that created 4,867 new or rehabbed rental units.
About two-thirds of the state's credit authority tends to go to new construction projects, with the rest going to acquisitionrehab deals, and this year was no different, according to Ed Yandell, director of multifamily development for the THDA. All but five of the projects funded with 2008 reservations were new construction properties.
Tennessee's qualified allocation plan (QAP) wasn't final as of press time, but among the changes officials were proposing was an increase in the LIHTC caps of anywhere from $200 to $500 per unit, depending on the location and size of the development. Also, because adaptivereuse projects benefit from being scored as new construction deals, the 2009 QAP would make them ineligible for Tennessee's rehab set-aside.
The draft QAP made some changes to point categories: It added points for historic rehab deals and energy efficiency, increased the maximum number of points that could be awarded for special-needs developments, and included a point category for permanent supportive housing for the homeless.
For 2009, the state will have about $14.5 million in credit authority, says Yandell. The maximum LIHTC award will increase to $965,000 per project from $920,000 in 2008, and the application deadline will be March 18, 2009.
As of late October, Tennessee had committed $57.8 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond authority to 11 projects, out of a total available volume cap of $105 million.
FOR TAX CREDITS, VISIT www.tdhca.state.tx.us
FOR TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.brb.state.tx.us
AUSTIN— Officials at the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) are considering several changes to its low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program in 2009, including adding new green building initiatives and adjusting its income-targeting scoring.
The department has proposed awarding points for income targeting based on the percentage of low-income units in a development instead of the total units. For example, 22 points would be awarded if at least 80 percent of the low-income units in a development are set aside for households earning no more than 50 percent of the area median gross income (AMGI), according to a draft qualified allocation plan.
That would be a change from when 80 percent of the total units in a development had to be reserved for those earning no more than 50 percent of the AMGI.
The change would help mixedincome and mixed-use developments to qualify for the points.
The draft plan also proposes awarding points to projects that provide certain green amenities.
Texas will have an estimated $66 million in tax credit authority in 2009. The proposed deadlines are Jan. 7, 2009, for preapplications and Feb. 27, 2009, for full applications.
In response to the recent Housing and Economic Recovery Act, TDHCA officials are considering allocating additional credits to allow 2007 and 2008 projects to receive the full 9 percent applicable percentage.
In 2008, more than $49 million in LIHTCs were reserved to 120 projects that will provide 6,301 tax credit units. Eighty-one percent of the reservations went to for-profit companies. The rural set-aside was the most oversubscribed.
Like housing finance agency leaders in many other states, TDHCA officials anticipate a drop in the median equity amount per tax credit dollar. They estimate the median amount to be $0.70 to $0.75 in 2009 compared to $0.77 to $0.84 in 2008.
On the bond front, Texas will have approximately $2 billion in taxexempt private-activity bond volume. About $455 million will likely go toward rental housing.
The Texas Bond Review Board administers the bond program. TDHCA, local housing authorities, and the Texas State Affordable Housing Corp. are all suballocating agencies to the board.
FOR TAX CREDITS, VISIT www.utahhousingcorp.org
FOR TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.utahhousingcorp.org AND www.housing.utah.gov/pab
SALT LAKE CITY— Anumber of key changes have been made to the 2009 low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program in Utah.
Developers will find a bonus status for rail-based mass transportation corridors in the latest qualified allocation plan, report officials at the Utah Housing Corp. (UHC). The plan also says that deferred developer fees must be amortized over 120 months at 1 percent.
Another change calls for “a lockout for new applications in any rural community where a previously awarded project has not yet been placed in service and qualified all units,” report UHC officials.
A performance bond is also required when a project's site zoning is not consistent with the proposed project but is allowed as a conditional use that has not yet been fully entitled. The bond must be cash or an irrevocable letter of credit.
In other changes, the Energy Star preference score for rehabilitation projects was removed and is now a threshold for rehab deals. UHC also reports that five points will be awarded for projects located contiguous to a rail stop and three points to projects within one-third of a mile from a rail stop.
About $5.9 million in federal credits and $337,500 in state tax credits are projected to be available in 2009. The application deadline was Oct. 20, 2008, with reservations expected to be made before Jan. 20, 2009.
Looking back at 2008, UHC officials report that nearly $6.8 million in LIHTCs was reserved to 19 developments that will provide 885 units. About 69 percent of the reservations went toward acquisitionrehabilitation deals, while 31 percent will fund new construction.
Demand outpaced the supply of credits, with nearly $11 million in 2008 tax credits requested by developers.
Utah will have approximately $270 million in overall tax-exempt private-activity bond cap in 2009. About $32 million is expected to go toward rental housing. Bond projects must meet the requirements of the state's allocation plan.
Because of the increased cost of developing affordable multifamily housing projects, the state's Department of Community and Culture's Housing and Community Development Division notes that its board has considered and funded applications that exceed the “suggested” cap limit of $12 million per project.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, visit www.vhfa.com
BURLINGTON— Solar panels and co-generation plants are the order of the day in Vermont, where the biggest new trend in affordable housing is the number of planned developments that will produce their own energy, according to officials at the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA).
To be considered for subsidy, applications for low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) must meet Vermont's Green Building & Design Standards.
All 22 pages are available on VHFA's Web site, along with the qualified allocation plan (QAP) for the agency's competition for $2.6 million in 2009 LIHTCs.
In 2009, VHFA will require applications for larger developments to include residents earning a variety of incomes. Properties with 20 to 49 units must rent 5 percent of their apartments at market rates. At developments with 50 or more units, 10 percent of the units must rent at market rates.
Officials also are considering adding a new requirement to the QAP that each development set aside some apartments as supportive housing.
Vermont's unique tax credit competition has no deadlines, and applications aren't scored by a point system. Instead, projects win credits based on how well they meet the program's threshold requirements and their readiness to proceed. Almost every project that applies is eventually funded.
Developers applied for $2.7 million in 2008 LIHTCs, only slightly more than officials had to reserve. All of these were reserved for projects sponsored by nonprofit developers or housing authorities. The median development was just 22 units in size. The 10 projects that won LIHTCs will produce 260 units of affordable housing.
The state also has created a new tax credit to support the development of homeownership housing.
VHFA also will reserve $400,000 in state housing tax credits to rental housing developments.
Vermont will set aside about $10 million of its total $158 million in 2009 tax-exempt private-activity bond cap to finance rental housing developments. That's about the same amount of bond cap the agency used to finance five rental housing developments in 2008. VHFA will use another $120 million in 2009 tax-exempt bond cap to fund home loans.
The agency will take applications for bond cap from rental projects throughout the year.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, visit www.vhda.com
RICHMOND— Sinking prices for low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) are hurting affordable housing developers in this state. But help is on the way—at least for nonprofit developers and housing authorities.
The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) expects to raise the maximum amount of LIHTCs that projects can receive from $650,000 to $750,000 in the local housing authority and nonprofit pools of its tax credit competition. VHDA's tax credits are divided between seven pools, including five for geographic areas.
As of October, VHDA planned to release its final 2009 qualified allocation plan in November 2008.
Applications for its single round of competition will be due March 13, 2009, and the winners will be announced in June.
VHDA also expects to provide extra subsidy to green developments. Projects that receive the full 60 points for housing lowerincome residents and also qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or EarthCraft certification will get a 5 percent increase to the eligible basis used to calculate credits.
The changes will help fill holes in project budgets left by falling tax credit prices. Officials declined to predict how much investors are likely to pay for 2009 LIHTCs. Investors paid a median price of $0.86 on the dollar for 2008 tax credits.
Demand from developers has been high for tax credits in Virginia. VHDA received applications totaling $35.7 million for 2008 LIHTCs, more than twice the $17.7 million officials had on hand.
The 34 winning projects are expected to create 2,526 affordable units, down from the 2,611 created with 2007 LIHTCs. The growing cost of land and construction were responsible for the shrinking number of new apartments.
Demand from developers has not been as high for tax-exempt bond financing. In 2008, VHDA financed one 26-unit affordable housing project with $2 million in taxexempt bonds.
In 2009, the VHDA will accept applications on a rolling basis for financing from the state's $656 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond volume cap.
FOR TAX CREDITS, VISIT www.wshfc.org
FOR TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.wshfc.org AND www.cted.wa.gov
SEATTLE— Affordable housing developers in Washington would be eligible to receive more low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) per unit under a proposal being weighed by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC).
The plan, which calls for a 12 percent increase, comes in response to rising construction costs and declining tax credit prices.
Under the proposal, the per unit credit limit would increase from $12,275 to $13,750. For projects in a qualified census tract, a difficult-to-develop area, or a rural region, the maximum annual amount of credits reserved would increase from $15,930 to $17,845. Furthermore, these limits adjust to any per capita increase approved by the federal government, say WSHFC officials.
Washington's 2009 qualified allocation plan was in draft form at press time.
States across the nation are revamping their LIHTC programs in response to the changes made by the recent Housing and Economic Recovery Act, including the opportunity to increase eligible basis by 30 percent to certain properties. WSHFC officials cited plans to offer this boost to projects in rural areas.
The state will have approximately $14.2 million in LIHTC authority in 2009. Applications will likely be due in January 2009, with reservations being made around June.
WSHFC cited one change to the threshold requirements, explaining that beginning in 2009 projects must comply with the “evergreen sustainable development” criteria developed by the state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED).
In 2008, about $14.3 million in tax credits was reserved to 18 projects. Demand was strong, with developers requesting nearly $25 million in credits.
The median tax credit award was $770,000, and the median project size was 50 units. WSHFC officials report that the homeless set-aside was the most oversubscribed.
Looking back at 2008, officials cited the drop in equity prices among the significant trends that emerged. They also noted that rural areas have been struggling to attract investors.
Washington will have approximately $582 million in overall tax-exempt private-activity bond cap.
The state has allocated its cap across several bond-use categories, including housing. CTED reports that during 2006 and 2007, the bond program has allocated more than $454.9 million to multifamily low-income and special-needs housing projects, helping to create or rehabilitate an estimated 7,171 affordable housing units.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.wvhdf.com
CHARLESTON— Affordable housing developers are feeling the squeeze as investors pay less for low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) here.
Developers returned about $1 million in 2008 LIHTCs to the West Virginia Housing Development Fund (WVHDF) after falling tax credits prices made their projects unfeasible. That's about double the amount of 2007 or 2006 tax credits returned to the agency, and it's a significant piece of the agency's activity: WVHDF only reserved $3.6 million in 2008 LIHTCs.
Investors paid a median $0.83 for each dollar of 2008 LIHTCs. That's a lot less than the median $0.94 experts projected before the capital crisis of late 2007 turned into a capital markets collapse this year.
WVHDF has a $1 million housing trust fund, and the agency plans to continue to expand its set-aside of 2009 LIHTCs for developers who received tax credits in the last two years and need additional tax credits.
The agency plans to finalize its 2009 qualified allocation plan for the competition for West Virginia's $3.98 million in LIHTCs in early spring.
Officials estimate LIHTC applications will be due in June 2009, with winners announced Aug. 15.
Developers applied for $4 million in LIHTCs in 2008. Demand was high from small and rural housing developments and nonprofit developers.
WVHDF set aside 15 percent of its 2008 tax credits to preserve existing rural housing projects and received applications for 1.8x that.
The agency also set aside 25 percent of its tax credits to build new rural housing but had relatively few takers. In total, about $1 million in 2008 LIHTCs financed rural housing developments.
The agency also set aside 23 percent of its 2008 LIHTCs for small new construction projects and received 1.7x that in applications. Nonprofit developers won about a third of the 2008 LIHTCs.
The winning 16 developments in 2008 are slated to create 715 units of affordable housing.
West Virginia typically does not use any of its tax-exempt private-activity bond cap to finance rental housing.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND TAX-EXEMPT BONDS, VISIT www.wheda.com
MADISON— The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) has made significant changes to its 2009 qualified allocation plan.
Developers can win more lowincome housing tax credits (LIHTCs) in 2009, as WHEDA has increased the maximum award from $750,000 to $850,000. And even developers that won allocations in 2008 but may need more credits to enhance feasibility will have the $750,000 cap waived.
WHEDA also has added a new set-aside group for supportive housing, which accounts for 10 percent of set-asides. The preservation set-aside was reduced from 40 percent to 30 percent to accommodate the new category.
Scoring has also changed. The minimum point threshold has been raised from 100 to 120, and many point categories have changed their maximum scores.
A new category called energy efficiency and sustainability replaced the location category and counts for up to 30 points. Meanwhile, the serving large families category has been raised from 12 to 18 maximum points, and the serving lowest-income residents category has been raised from 50 to 70 points. Some of the categories with decreased points include lower-income areas, mixed-income incentives, small developments, and development team.
WHEDA will have $12.3 million in federal LIHTC authority in 2009, plus an additional $29 million in disaster relief credits as provided by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. Additionally, WHEDA is studying how best to determine which projects will be eligible for the 30 percent credit boost stipulated in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act.
Applications are due Jan. 30, 2009. In 2008, WHEDA allocated $9.5 million (prior to receiving the disaster relief tax credits), and $26.5 million was requested.
In all, 22 projects accounting for 1,078 tax credit units received 9 percent credits. Acquisition-rehab developments beat out new construction $4 million to $2.6 million, while seniors housing was the most prolific housing type, garnering $4.6 million in 2008. Family housing won $3.2 million; rural developments received $1.4 million; and housing for the physically or mentally disabled got $2.2 million.
WHEDA expects Wisconsin to have $247 million in tax-exempt private-activity bond cap set aside for both for-sale and rental housing production in 2009. The application deadline is Oct. 31, 2009.
In 2008, two Wisconsin multifamily projects closed on bond financing totaling $21.5 million, accounting for 235 units.
FOR TAX CREDITS AND BONDS, VISIT www.wyomingcda.com
CASPER— About $2.7 million in low-income housing tax credits are estimated to be available in Wyoming for 2009. That includes the per capita credits and additional credits from the recent Housing and Economic Recovery Act.
The deadline to apply for credits will be Jan. 30, 2009, according to a draft qualified allocation plan.
The Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA) would hold additional rounds if funding is available.
The recent legislation also gave states the ability to increase eligible basis by 30 percent. The draft plan notes that the WCDA may give the project a boost in eligible basis if it is located in a designated difficult development area, a qualified census tract, or if the average rents for all units are at or below 40 percent of the area median income and the project needs the increase to be financially feasible. This is only available to projects receiving an allocation of tax credits during or after 2009, says the plan.
Proposed projects in Wyoming will be ranked using both primary and secondary criteria, according to the draft allocation plan. Under the primary allocation criteria, projects must score a minimum of 170 points out of a possible 504. Projects must score a minimum of 55 points out of a possible 271 points under the secondary criteria.
The scoring system emphasizes housing needs characteristics, including the income levels of the households that will be served and the affordability levels of the units.
The concentration of low-income households in the vicinity is also weighed, with the higher the concentration the fewer points that are awarded.
WCDA also anticipates having approximately $3.5 million in HOME funds in 2009.
Looking back at 2008, six developments received tax credits.
The largest reservation, $769,431, went to a 63-unit family housing development in Casper.
The state will have approximately $273 million in overall bond cap in 2008.