When Miller-Valentine Group started in 1993 in the affordable housing business, the firm was able to get four to six low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) awards each year in its home state of Ohio.
But as qualified allocation plans (QAPs) have evolved and more players have come into the industry, the number of awards has decreased.
The for-profit had to make a decision, reduce its team that was built to accommodate the original volume or expand to other states, says David Liette, partner and president of MV Residential Development. The firm opted to expand its geographic footprint in the Midwest and Southeast.
“We've made one exception by moving into Texas last year,” says Liette. “The state is so strong economically compared with all others. Long term, it was wise for us to go into Texas.”
In addition to expanding the footprint, the development team is focusing more on the nuances of the QAPs as well as good quality applications that they believe will score really well instead of just turning in a number of applications in each state, he says.
In 2012, Miller-Valentine expects to apply for LIHTCs in 13 states.
“We chose these states very strategically and believe it should generate a minimum of nine tax credit awards,” adds Liette.
He says that so far the firm is seeing good results. It already has received two awards in Indiana, an award in Missouri, and an award in Illinois early this year.