2010 was a year of improvement for the aff ordable housing debt and equity markets.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING FINANCE recently surveyed the major players on both sides of the debt and equity equation.

In 2010, the 19 responding low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) syndicators said they raised $6.8 billion in LIHTC capital and acquired 878 developments.

This is a big change over 2009, when the 16 responding firms reported raising $3.2 billion and acquiring 360 projects (see story on page 16).

Debt volumes also soared last year, with most of AFFORDABLE HOUSING FINANCE's Top 25 lenders seeing improvement. Citi Community Capital regained the top lender title, improving from $551 million in 2009 to nearly $3 billion in 2010 .

However, even as the markets rebounded in 2010, the catch phrase over the past couple of years, cautious optimism, remains.

And for good reason. The economy, the expiration of the Tax Credit Assistance Program and the tax credit exchange, the talk of tax reform, and higher interest rates are still potential worries for the industry.

But regardless of what the future holds and the potential problems that may come down the line in 2011, we should still celebrate the final tallies of 2010.

More capital flowed, which means more developments probably were able to get off the ground.

And because many projects came to a standstill during the downturn, it's especially important that you should tout those that were completed last year or that you plan on completing in 2011.

Consider nominating these developments in our annual Readers' Choice Awards by April 4. Entry forms can be found at www.housingfinance.

com or by e-mailing Donna Kimura at [email protected].

The judges look at the following criteria to select the finalists for the July/ August issue, so please consider entering developments that:

  • Impact the community by adding substantially to the aff ordable housing stock or improving the immediate social or economic fabric;
  • Have a role in overall community revitalization or social change;
  • Set a new standard or pioneer a new method (tap new funding sources; demonstrate new efficiency in capital costs and/or maintenance/operating costs, etc.);
  • Employ cost-eff ective or innovative design and/or construction, including energy efficiency and sustainable development; Off er outstanding social services for tenants;
  • Received broad community support, including state and local government financial assistance;
  • Address a unique challenge;
  • Demonstrate creative problemsolving; and
  • Show evidence of cost-eff ectiveness, i.e., producing housing at substantially below-market rents or home prices, at a reasonable subsidy per unit.