NAHMA Launches New Online Credential and Membership Directory

NAHMA recently announced its new online database of credentialed affordable housing management professionals, NAHMA members, and NAHMA committee rosters. The database allows you to locate professionals who have earned their CPO, FHC, SHCM, NAHP, NAHP-e, NAHP Honorary, NAHP Emeritus, NAHMT, NAHMS and CGPM designations, as well as members of NAHMA and its committees.

In addition, the new directory provides a process for existing NAHMA credential holders or members to directly update their contact information contained in NAHMA’s database. (Once changes are submitted via the online form, updates will be processed at NAHMA and reflected in the online directory within 14 business days.)

The directory enables searches by certification and membership category as well as by last name, management company name, city and/or state.

“NAHMA believes it is important for people in the industry or people getting to know the industry to have access to individuals and companies that have shown outstanding personal dedication to satisfying the responsibilities of their positions to the highest degree possible through their participation in NAHMA and its credentialing programs,” said NAHMA Executive Director Kris Cook.

Among the certifications available through NAHMA are:

• National Affordable Housing Professional (NAHP)
• National Affordable Housing Professional - Executive Level (NAHP-e)
• Certified Professional Of Occupancy (CPO)
• Fair Housing/Section 504 Compliance (FHC)
• Specialist in Housing Credit Management (SHCM)
• NAHMA Maintenance Professional Credentials
• Credential for Green Property Management


Association News
Early Bird Discount Still Available for NAHMA 2011 Winter Meeting
NAHMA Announces 2010 Communities of Quality® Award Winners
NAHMA Announces 2010 Industry Award Winners
NAHMA Announces 2011 Affordable Housing Vanguard Award Program Details and Deadline
NAHMA Offers Green Housing Management Publication

Industry News
"Trouble Ahead?"
"Who Invests in Low-Income Housing? Google, for One"
"Plan of Attack"
"Will Cap Rates Go Lower?"
"Wait for Rental-Assistance Grows Amid Recession"
"Peeling Away the Layers of the Recovery"
"Geothermal Heats Up in Downtown Pittsburgh"
"Low-Income Housing Tax Credits: Affordable Housing Industry"
"Reform of Fannie, Freddie Unlikely Despite House Republican Push"
"Why Bedbugs Won't Die"
"Buying Home Is Cheaper Than Renting in 72 Percent of Big U.S. Cities, Trulia Says"
"A Rental Revival"
"Feds Reject County’s Affordable Housing Analysis"
"Oregon Considers 60-Year Affordability Period"

Association News

Early Bird Discount Still Available for NAHMA 2011 Winter Meeting

Register before Feb. 4 and take advantage of the early bird discount for NAHMA’s 2011 Winter Meeting and Legislative Issues Forum. The meeting is being held from March 6-8, 2011 (Sunday - Tuesday) at the Fairmont Washington Hotel located at 2401 M Street NW in Washington, DC.

Click below for for the Preliminary Meeting Agenda, and registration details. Highlights include:

NAHMA Invited Panelists for March 2011 Meeting

Monday, March 7:

HUD Forum 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
• David Vargas, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Real Estate Assessment Center, Public and Indian Housing, HUD (invited)
• Ted Toon, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Affordable Housing Preservation, Multifamily Housing, HUD (invited)
• Catherine Brennan, Director, Housing Assistance Policy Division, Office of Housing Assistance and Grant Administration, Multifamily, HUD (invited)
• Marilyn Edge, Acting Director of Multifamily Asset Management, HUD (invited)
• Delton Nichols, Deputy Director, Real Estate Assessment Center, Office of Public and Indian Housing, HUD (invited)
• Eric Ramsey, Director of Business Relationships and Special Initiatives, Office of Multifamily Asset Management, HUD (invited)
• Margaret Salazar, Senior Housing Program Specialist, Multifamily, HUD (invited)

NAHMA COQ Awards Luncheon 12:00-1:30 p.m.
• Carol Galante, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Multifamily Housing, HUD

Federal Legislative Priorities for Affordable Multifamily Housing 1:30-3:00 p.m.
• Jon Bohm, Senior Director of Congressional Relations, Public Affairs and Field Operations, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials
• Cindy Chetti, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, NMHC, (invited)
• Beth Cooper, Democratic Professional Staff Member, Committee on Banking, U.S. Senate (invited)
• Chad Davis, Republican Professional Staff Member, Committee on Banking, U.S. Senate (invited)
• Laura Hogshead Democratic Staff Assistant, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives (invited)
• Travis Johnson, Republican Staff Director, Senate Banking Housing, Transportation, and Community Opportunity Subcommittee, U.S. Senate (invited)
• Jon Kamark, Republican Clerk, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate (invited)
• Claudia Kedda, Director, Multifamily Finance, National Association of Home Builders
• Gail Laster, Democratic Deputy Chief Counsel, Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives
• Matthew McCardle, Republican Staff Assistant, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives (invited)
• Meaghan McCarthy Democratic Professional Staff Member, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate (invited)
• Denise Muha, Executive Director, National Leased Housing Association
• Michael Passante, Democratic Staff Director, Senate Banking Housing, Transportation, and Community Opportunity Subcommittee, U.S. Senate (invited)

Tax Credit Committee 3:00-4:00 p.m.
• Ryan Abraham Professional Staff Member, Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate (invited)
• Greg Brown, Vice President, Government Affairs, National Apartment Association
• Aharon Friedman, Republican Tax Counsel, House Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives (invited)
• Mike Holler, Senior Economist, Policy Development & Research, HUD
• Kase Jubbori, Democratic Tax Counsel, House Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives (invited)
• Jim Miller, Legislative Counsel, Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition
• Sean O’Connor, CPA, Dauby, O’Connor, and Zaleski
• Grace Robertson, Program Analyst, Examination Specialization & Technical Guidance , Internal Revenue Service

Executive Level Discussion of the Bed Bug Problem 4:00-5:00 p.m.
• Dr. Dini Miller, Associate Professor, Dodson Urban Pest Management Laboratory, Virginia Tech

Tuesday, March 8:

Rural Housing Committee 8:30-9:30 a.m.
• Bryan Hooper, Deputy Administrator, Multifamily Housing, Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture (invited)
• Larry Anderson, Director, Office of Rental Assistance Preservation, Multifamily Housing, Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture (invited)
• Janet Stouder, Deputy Director, Multifamily Housing Portfolio Management Division, Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture (invited)
• Stephanie White, Director, Multi-Family Housing Portfolio Management, Rural Housing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (invited)
• Michael Steininger, Director, Multi-Family Housing Processing Division, Rural Housing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (invited)

Senior Housing Committee 9:30-10:30 a.m.
• Nancy Libson, Director of Housing Policy, LeadingAge, (formerly AAHSA)
• Ben Metcalf, Senior Advisor, Multifamily, Office of Housing, HUD (invited)
• Mark D. Olshan, Associate Executive Vice President and Director of the Center for Senior Services, B’nai B’rith International

TRACS and Contract Administration Committee 10:45 a.m. -12:15 p.m.
• Deb Lear, Director, Office of Housing Assistance Contract Administration Oversight, Multifamily Housing, HUD (invited)
• Lanier Hylton, Office of Program Systems Management, HUD (invited)

NAHMA Announces 2010 Communities of Quality® Award Winners

NAHMA has a long-established competitive program to recognize the best multifamily affordable housing communities across the country for excellence in the way they manage the physical, financial and social condition of the property. Sites also are honored on the basis of the quality of life they offer to residents, the level of resident involvement in community life, and the nature of collaborations with other organizations and agencies that contribute to the lives of residents and the larger community.

This year, there are six Communities of Quality (COQ) award winners from around the country.

For the 7th straight year, the COQ awards are co-sponsored, with NAHMA, by HD Supply™ Multifamily Solutions, a leading supplier of maintenance and renovation products to the multi housing industry.

The COQ awards will be presented at NAHMA’s annual winter meeting, March 6-8, 2011, in Washington, D.C.

“It’s quite an accomplishment to be named a National Community of Quality® Award winner,” said Kris Cook, CAE, Executive Director of NAHMA. “The competitive process pits outstanding properties against one another, and our independent panel of judges carefully analyzes the entries to select the ones that really stand out.”

The 2010 COQ award winners are as follows:
• For Exemplary Family Development: Interstate Realty Management Co., for Park Spring Apartments, Spring City, PA
• For Exemplary Development for Persons with Special Needs: Walton Rehabilitation Health System, for Walton Manor, Augusta, GA
• For Exemplary Development for the Elderly: First Realty Management Co., for The Meadows, North Smithfield, RI
• For Outstanding Turnaround of a Troubled Property (tie): WinnResidential, for Andrews Terrace Apartments, Rochester, NY and Paragon Management Inc., for Delaware Manor, Grand Rapids, MI
• For Exemplary Single-Room-Occupancy (SRO): National Church Residences, for The Commons at Grant, Columbus, OH

“Anybody who looked at the entrants, and especially the winners, of the National COQ Awards program couldn’t help but be impressed with the quality of the housing and the services provided to residents,” said NAHMA President Scott Reithel, NAHP-e. “These communities are certainly great assets to their communities.”

NAHMA Announces 2010 Industry Award Winners

NAHMA is pleased to announce the winners of its annual Industry and AHMA Awards. The list includes both individuals and organizations that have worked in innovative ways to develop and improve affordable housing in their communities and to continually raise the standards of the affordable housing industry. (More details on award winners will be published in NAHMA’s bimonthly newsletter, NAHMA News, in the March-April issue, including photos of the awards ceremony, which is scheduled for Monday, March 7, 2010 starting at 6:30 pm, at The Fairmont Washington. More details on the NAHMA meeting are available by clicking below).

NAHMA Industry Statesman
This award goes to outstanding industry leaders whose long-term service and dedication to NAHMA, the local AHMA and the affordable housing industry have been a constant source of inspiration.

James Henderson, Jr., formerPresident, Interstate Realty Management Company, Marlton, NJ
Jim Henderson has been involved in affordable housing development and management since 1971. He joined Interstate Realty Management Company in 1982 and, under his direction, IRM has become recognized nationally for its quality development and comprehensive supportive services programs. He serves on the board of the New Jersey AHMA and is a past board member of NAHMA.

Allan B. Pintner, Vice President Emeritus (Retired), Millennia Housing Management, Ltd., Cleveland, OH
Allan B. Pintner was Vice President and Real Estate Broker for Millennia Housing Management, Ltd. until his retirement in 2010. He is a past President and a member of the Midwest Assisted Housing Management Association Board (MAHMA), among others, and has served as Chair of NAHMA’s Senior Housing Committee.

NAHMA Industry Achievement
The following awardee is recognized for his ever-increasing level of service, the strategic nature of this service and his commitment to affordable housing.

Christopher White, Executive Director, SK Management, LLC, Encino, CA
Christopher White’s career in affordable housing began in 1970. Since 1978 he has served as Executive Director of SK Management, LLC. Chris is well regarded for his profound industry knowledge, meticulousness and no-nonsense style. He is a Past President of AHMA-PSW and served on the board of directors of NAHMA.

NAHMA Industry Partner
The following awardee deserves a great deal of appreciation for her oversight of the largest tax credit portfolio in the nation—among many other accomplishments.

Rose Guerrero, Chief, Compliance Section, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, Sacramento, CA
Rose Guerrero is a life-long resident of California who has been with the State Treasurer’s Office for 19 years, the past 13 with the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC). Her genuine passion for affordable housing has led her to be extremely supportive of the work of both AHMA-PSW and AHMA-NCNH.

AHMA of the Year
Regardless of size, these organizations go all out for their members and serve as role models for other AHMAs around the country.

SAHMA (Large) – SAHMA’s focus on membership services, training and innovative educational strategies helps ensure its significant membership. In 2010 SAHMA had 20 events planned and expected to train 700+ students by year’s end.

AHMA-PSW (Medium) – AHMA-Pacific Southwest (PSW) had record-breaking numbers of attendees at its annual seminar, educational classes, certification classes, AHMA Drug-Free Calendar contest submissions, AHMA-PSW Foundation Scholarships awarded and industry awards presented.

PennDel AHMA (Small) – PennDel AHMA continues its focus on training and credentialing, and actively encourages participation in the Communities of Quality (COQ) program, the AHMA Drug-Free Kid poster contest, and the NAHMA Educational Foundation scholarship program, among others. In 2010 it contributed $5,500 to the NAHMA Educational Foundation, a 550 percent increase over the previous year.

AHMA Membership Recruitment Award
This award is presented to an organization that consistently achieves outstanding member recruitment levels in relation to its size and history.

SAHMA (Large) – In 2010 SAHMA followed up on approximately 125 leads and recruited 52 new members, giving it a 40 percent success rate. SAHMA has enjoyed high retention rates over the last dozen years. Despite the downturn in the economy, it maintained an 88.8 percent retention rate.

Oregon AHMA (Small) – Oregon AHMA increased its membership through a strategy that focuses on a full spectrum of training programs. The AHMA offers free registration to its annual conference for each new member company, scholarships to members with tight budgets, and discounted or free programs. Its members throughout the state include property management companies, housing authorities, nonprofit housing agencies, attorneys, owners and developers.

AHMA Innovation Award
This organization is recognized for innovative approaches to challenges at their sites and/or in their communities.

MAHMA (Midwest AHMA) – MAHMA partnered with Indiana Quadel for its annual Agent Owner Update, providing marketing and administrative assistance that led to an outstanding conference, new members in MAHMA and an enduring partnership with Quadel.

AHMA Communities of Quality® Award
NAHMA is pleased to acknowledge those organizations with the highest number of COQ properties based on AHMA size.

SAHMA (Large) – 2010 was been a banner year for participation in the COQ Award Program among SAHMA members; more than 56 properties have joined the program. Two hundred and forty-five SAHMA properties have been accepted into the program, and at the March 2010 NAHMA meeting, one of SAHMA’s members received a national COQ Award.

PennDel AHMA (Small) – PennDel AHMA boasts 49 Communities of Quality in its membership, which represents 90 percent of the PennDel management companies that participate in NAHMA. In addition, three management company members of PennDel AHMA are COQ Corporate Partners, a distinction held by only 11 companies across the nation.

NAHMA Membership Recruitment
This award goes annually to a NAHMA member who leads in new member recruitment for the previous 12-month period (based on data maintained by NAHMA staff).

Rocky AHMA – Rocky AHMA serves the needs of industry members in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Its members manage approximately 60,000 units of HUD, RHS and tax credit-financed affordable housing.

NAHMA Communities of Quality® Awards (tie)
This annual award is given to the NAHMA members with outstanding participation in the NAHMA National Recognition Program COQ Registry (based on data maintained by NAHMA staff).

CSI Support & Development Services, Warren, MI
CSI is a nonprofit consumer cooperative that provides affordable housing for elderly and special needs residents in 54 apartment buildings in four states. Each housing complex revolves totally around its residents. CSI had the most Nationally Recognized Communities of Quality in 2010.

AIMCO, Denver, CO
AIMCO has the most overall Communities of Quality members and award winners. AIMCO is an unwavering supporter of NAHMA’s Communities of Quality® National Recognition program. Headquartered in Denver, AIMCO owns one of the largest portfolios of apartment communities, both conventional and affordable.

NAHMA President’s Award
This award is announced and presented at NAHMA’s annual Winter Meeting, March 6-8, 2011, in Washington, D.C.
NAHMA Announces 2011 Affordable Housing Vanguard Award Program Details and Deadline

The deadline for submissions for the National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) 2011 Affordable Housing Vanguard Award will be April 15, 2011.

The Vanguard Award celebrates success in the multifamily affordable housing industry by recognizing and benchmarking new, quality multifamily affordable housing development. The award –
• Pays tribute to developers of high-quality affordable housing;
• Demonstrates that exceptional new affordable housing is available across the country, and that it is a positive addition to any neighborhood;
• Demonstrates that the affordable multifamily industry must be creative and innovative to create exceptional properties given the financing and other challenges to development;
• Highlights results of private-public partnerships required to develop today’s affordable housing;
• Shares ideas for unique design and financing mechanisms with industry practitioners to further stimulate creative development in the affordable multifamily industry.

The Vanguard Award complements NAHMA’s Communities of Quality (COQ) National Recognition Program (, through which multifamily properties are certified as having achieved a high standard of excellence in the way they are managed, the services they provide residents, the experience and training of personnel, and other criteria. However, newly developed properties are too new to meet criteria of NAHMA’s COQ National Recognition Program (particularly in the inspection and financial audit categories), hence the creation of the Vanguard Award to recognize these properties.

Vanguard Award Categories:
A. New Construction (two subcategories: over 100 units and under 100 units)
B. Major Rehabilitation of an Existing Rental Housing Community
C. Major Rehabilitation of a Non-Housing Structure into Affordable Rental Housing
D. Major Rehabilitation of a Historic Structure into Affordable Rental Housing

Who May Apply:
Affordable multifamily housing communities that are less than three years old (as of April 15, 2011) may apply (based on date of completion of new construction or completion of major rehab). Affordable is defined as a property participating in a government funded, insured or otherwise sponsored program that results in rents that are below market-rate housing.

Where and When to Apply:
Applications should be submitted to the National Affordable Housing Management Association by April 15, 2011. Please email your PDF application to NAHMA at, or mail a CD containing your PDF application to NAHMA Vanguard Award, 400 N. Columbus St., Suite 203, Alexandria, VA 22314.

Entry Fees:
The entry fee is $150 per property for members of NAHMA or an AHMA, and $325 per property for non-members. Please reference the name of the applicant property when submitting payment, via either credit card at the NAHMA Webstore at, or via check payable to NAHMA and mailed to NAHMA Vanguard Award, 400 N. Columbus St., Suite 203, Alexandria, VA 22314.

The Judging Process:
NAHMA will convene a distinguished panel of multifamily affordable housing practitioners in late April 2011 to conduct the judging process.

The Awards Ceremony:
Winners of the Affordable Housing Vanguard Awards will be recognized at an awards ceremony at the NAHMA Summer Meeting in June 2011 in Las Vegas.

Beyond the Recognition – Other Benefits of Participation:
- A congratulations letter and certificate
- A draft press release for use with local media
- A draft letter for sending to Congressional representatives
- A free subscription to NAHMA News ($100 value)
- A crystal award
- Inclusion in a press release distributed by NAHMA to national media and trade press
- Inclusion in a detailed article on award winners in NAHMA News and on the NAHMA website

How to Apply:
Applications must be submitted in PDF format. For full details on how to apply, click below.
NAHMA Offers Green Housing Management Publication

A new publication, Green Housing: A Practical Guide to Green Real Estate Management, is now available from the National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA). The 82-page spiral-bound book is an informative yet easy-to-read primer on green real estate management, and covers all of the basic concepts, such as energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, resource efficiency, site sustainability, water efficiency, integrated pest management, tenant green education, and creating a green operation and maintenance plan.

According to a recent report by the U.S. General Services Administration, green buildings have 13% lower maintenance costs and consume 26% less energy. Though there is a common perception that “going green” can be cost-prohibitive, property management professionals and building owners and developers are discovering that greening their properties is not only cost-effective but can be truly profitable. Green Housing, by real estate professional and certified green-building expert Barry P. Weaver, is a timely manual for those who have the desire but not a great deal of capital to accomplish green upgrades.

The book may be purchased for $35 per copy, plus $5 shipping and handling, via NAHMA’s webstore via the link below.

Industry News

Trouble Ahead?
Affordable Housing Finance (01/11) Serlin, Christine; Kimura, Donna

Experts say asset management is becoming increasingly important as many low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) developments grow older and housing markets become more competitive. This involves being vigilant for warning signs, such as declining occupancy, by watching for deviations from the business plan and annual budget. Declining revenue is also a warning sign, and could stem from an inaccurate budget, faulty purchasing procedures, or failure to collect rents promptly. An increase in bills, higher concessions, a reduction in supplies, or an increase in contracts may also signal there is rising pressure on the property. Additional alarms include third-party reports such as compliance notices or Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 8823, which is used to report noncompliance at a LIHTC property. A property that receives several 8823s from the state housing agency could face problems with the IRS if the violations involve renting to overqualified individuals. It is also important for owners to check if deposits are being made and reserves maintained. This is because state housing agencies typically have minimum reserve requirements, and staff should not access those accounts unless the reserves have more than the required amount of money. Additionally, affordable housing owners need to know what is occurring in a property’s market area. A shadow market from single-family homes or conventional apartments, for example, could impact the performance of an affordable housing development’s performance.

Who Invests in Low-Income Housing? Google, for One
New York Times (01/26/11) P. B8 Pristin, Terry

Investments by Google and other large corporations are giving developers of income-restricted housing cause for optimism again. Such developments depend heavily on low-income-housing tax credits to provide the equity needed to get them off the ground. When the economy collapsed in 2008, the market for these tax credits dwindled and many such housing projects were postponed indefinitely. Only $4.5 billion in tax credit equity was raised in 2009 versus $9 billion three years earlier. Weakened demand for tax credits resulted in lower prices, which in turn made them less attractive to developers. But the credits became attractive to a new class of investors--corporations mainly--looking for double-digit yields. In addition to Google, new investors range from Verizon to Allstate to Liberty Mutual. And now that the pool of investors has expanded and many financial institutions are once again stable, prices for tax credits are on the rise. Consequently, many of the projects previously delayed are breaking ground. The negatives? Some tax credit specialists complain that coastal states have an unfair advantage over other regions where the need for this type of housing is equally pressing.

Plan of Attack
Apartment Finance Today (12/10) Bibby, Doug

According to National Multi Housing Council President Doug Bibby, Congress should consider the government-supported multifamily secondary market programs as a model for reforming the U.S. housing finance system and the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Performance within the $2 trillion multifamily sector is healthy, unlike the single-family market, with default and delinquency rates under 1 percent. NMHC and the National Apartment Association's GSE Reform Task Force have created eight points that Congress should consider when reforming the housing finance system. First, lawmakers must preserve the working parts of the system, which include the apartment finance component, and then seek out ways to encourage additional private capital support to ensure innovation and flexibility to meet the housing market's evolving needs. Next, lawmakers should retain an explicit federal government guarantee on multifamily mortgage securities and portfolio-held loans, though the guarantee needs to reflect the level of mortgage risk and the value of the credit enhancement from the government. Additionally, a liquidity backstop should be available and unrestricted by housing type or renter population, and mandates or federally supported public missions should focus only on providing incentives for affordable housing or liquidity. Bibby notes that securitization is necessary to attract private capital to the multifamily mortgage market, though some loans should be held in portfolio. Finally, the government must ensure proper oversight to preserve strong loan performance, protect taxpayers, and maintain the current resource levels now within the GSEs during the transition. Bibby says the secondary market has helped finance a number of affordable units, sustained liquidity in harsh economic times, and ensured the safety of multifamily loans and securities.

Will Cap Rates Go Lower?
Housing Finance (12/01/10) Ascierto, Jerry

Multifamily cap rates fell steeply and rapidly in 2010 due to a variety of factors. Cap rates have been pushed downward because of so many opportunity funds looking for acquisitions, low-priced debt from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and more stable fundamentals. Financial professionals, however, do not expect this cap rate compression to last far into 2011. "It has to level off," says Mike McRoberts, national head of production and sales for McLean, Va.-based Freddie Mac. "One thing that’s going to drive cap rates is availability of product, and we’ve seen an increase. That has to have an upward pressure on cap rates." The first half of 2010 saw about 29 multifamily transactions of $10 million or more, and cap rates were at 6 percent or less. By the third quarter, however, there were 28 such transactions, says New York-based market research firm Real Capital Analytics. High-barrier coastal markets are experiencing a return to cap rates similar to those at the height of the last boom, though only on the highest level of deals.

Wait for Rental-Assistance Grows Amid Recession
San Diego Union-Tribune (01/24/11) Cadelago, Christopher

Over the last two years, an increasing number of San Diego County residents have been applying for federal rental-assistance vouchers called Section 8. Approximately 4,000 households have applied for the county-issued vouchers since 2009, causing the waiting list to increase to more than 41,000, with applicants typically waiting 5 years to 10 years before receiving the benefits. Some residents are opting to apply for affordable-housing developments rather than Section 8 vouchers. Trina Ybarra, for instance, was able to move into a new, three-bedroom apartment for low-income tenants in 2010 after waiting two years. The building is owned by Wakeland Housing and Development Corp., which has 15 affordable complexes countywide. Wakeland Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rebecca Louie says waiting lists for the complexes average two to three years, but can be as long as 10 years. The San Diego Association of Governments estimated that from 2003 through 2009, the region required 62,771 new units for very low- to moderate-income households, but the number of units that had been approved in that time was just 11,550. Matthew Jumper, president of San Diego Interfaith Housing Foundation, says his firm's 77-unit project in Poway has more than 800 people on the interested list, of whom many may be in the "very, very low-income category."

Peeling Away the Layers of the Recovery (01/19/11) Carranza, Sule Aygoren

Panelists at the NMHC Apartment Strategies Conference say the end of the homeownership dream has paved the way for increased activity in the multifamily market during the next few years, as 1 million households become renters for every 1 percentage point decrease in the homeownership rate. However, they pointed out that the class A market has experienced more gains than the class B and C markets. At the "Peeling the Onion: The Best and Worst Submarkets for Apartments" panel, Marcus & Millichap Managing Director Hessam Nadji said vacancies will range from 2.4 percent in New York City to 3.5 percent in New Jersey at the low end this year and from 8.2 percent in Atlanta to 10.4 percent in Jacksonville on the high end, with a national average of 5.6 percent. Even markets that have performed poorly in recent years should see rent growth and single-digit vacancy rates in 2011. In another panel, BlackRock Realty Managing Director Dale Gruen said pension funds continue to view the multifamily market as farther along in the recovery process and a good inflation hedge because of short leases. "There's strong interest in both core and opportunistic deals." At the "From Wall Street to Main Street: Where Capital is Coming and Going" panel, Waterton Associates LLC Managing Member David Schwartz says new multifamily-focused funds will total around 20 this year, though Carmel Partners Inc. CEO Ron Zeff expects newcomers will have trouble attracting investors. At a panel focused on development, speakers said deals in some markets have come to an end, and construction costs are rising. However, larger banks are entering the market, but are lending with caution. They pointed out that developers need to keep the needs of younger renters in mind, and they predict new buildings will be tech-friendly with LEED features and will include retail. Proximity to public transportation is a plus.

Geothermal Heats Up in Downtown Pittsburgh
Affordable Housing Finance (01/11) Serlin, Christine

The Century Building in downtown Pittsburgh, Penn., was initiated by the city's Downtown Housing Working Group to expand affordable housing in the area. An underutilized building in the Central Business District was converted by Trek Development Group into 60 units, of which 28 target residents who earn less than 60 percent of the area median income. The $18 million development was completed in August 2009, and its funding sources include $7.7 million in low-income housing tax credit equity, syndicated by PNC Real Estate, and $2.8 million from the Urban Redevelopment Authority in hard and soft loan commitments. Trek added several sustainable development features to the building such as an open-loop geothermal heating and cooling system, Energy Star appliances, low-flow water fixtures, thermally efficient windows, and compact fluorescent lights. Such efforts are enabling residents to see between 30 percent and 40 percent in utility savings, according to Trek's president, William J. Gatti Jr. The development is hoping to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification. The building's other green features include a demand energy recovery ventilation system that circulates fresh air even when windows are closed, a green roof, and recycling areas on each floor. Gatti estimates that 80 percent of Trek's business now involves geothermal.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credits: Affordable Housing Industry
Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits (01/11)

Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies has published a policy brief discussing issues facing the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program beyond the immediate problems the recession created. The brief, "Long-Term Low Income Housing Tax Credit Policy Questions," discusses LIHTC policy issues such as program targeting, examines current issues surrounding credit investment demand, and looks at the ongoing capital needs and asset management for LIHTC properties. The brief concludes that while the LIHTC is widely regarded as a successful and resilient program, there are a number of long-term issues facing the program, including differences of opinion about the LIHTC's flexibility and whether the federal tax expenditures devoted to the LIHTC are targeted deeply enough.

Reform of Fannie, Freddie Unlikely Despite House Republican Push
The Hill (01/04/11) Schroeder, Peter

The reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is such a large undertaking that it is unlikely to be completed this year, according to mortgage industry experts. Further, the housing market is too fragile for lawmakers to completely eliminate the government-sponsored enterprises this year despite Republican promises to do so; and divisions over what to do with the firms, along with battle scars from previous housing skirmishes, make it doubtful that much progress will be made this year. Observers agree there is no easy solution, saying this will be a year for ideas to be fleshed out but not necessarily for action to be taken. While some Republicans continue to publicly insist that they will move soon to reform the mortgage giants, most appear willing to do it slowly due to market conditions. In fact, many fear a double dip in the housing market this year; and suddenly removing Fannie and Freddie could worsen it.

Why Bedbugs Won't Die
Wall Street Journal (NY) (01/20/11) Hotz, Robert Lee

According to a recent genetic study of bedbugs from Ohio State University researchers, recently published on the PLoS One Website, the pests are rapidly evolving to ward off the effects of the pesticides known to kill them. The bugs have increased the level of enzymes they produce to detoxify their bodies, have grown thicker shells to block insecticides, and have nerve cells that are better equipped to handle chemical impacts from pesticides. In New York City, bedbugs are 250 times more resilient against standard pesticides than those in Florida, say researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. These bugs are now more resistant to chemicals -- which has helped them spread more easily among houses, hotels, dorms, and other commercial properties. Laboratory experiments in the United States, Europe, and Africa show today's bedbugs can withstand pesticide levels a thousand times higher than previously lethal doses of the chemicals.

Buying Home Is Cheaper Than Renting in 72 Percent of Big U.S. Cities, Trulia Says
Bloomberg (01/24/11) McClay, Rebecca

As mounting foreclosures fuel demand for apartments, Trulia Inc.'s latest Rent vs. Buy Index shows that purchasing a home is now cheaper than leasing in 72 percent of the largest U.S. cities. According to the index, which compares the costs of renting and buying a two-bedroom home in the 50 biggest cities each quarter, renting is more affordable than buying in only four major markets: New York; Seattle; Kansas City, Mo; and San Francisco.

A Rental Revival
Boston Globe (01/13/11) Siefer, Ted

Affordable housing apartments are once again in the works. The financial crisis put a damper on such development, as demand for low-income housing tax credits dwindled and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pulled out of the tax credit market altogether in 2008. However, federal stimulus funds and increased confidence among banks and real estate investors are putting these projects back on track, which is good news given that demand for affordable housing is on the rise. In Massachusetts, for instance, over $170 million in federal stimulus funds helped build more than 2,000 affordable rental units over the last couple of years; and projects planned for more affluent towns and suburbs now are moving forward. AvalonBay Communities Inc. is building a 220-unit apartment community in Cohasset, where under the state's affordable housing law, one-quarter of the units will be earmarked for lower-income renters.

Feds Reject County’s Affordable Housing Analysis
Lewisboro Ledger (NY) (01/06/11) Dalen, Matt

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has rejected an analysis required in Westchester County, N.Y.'s affordable housing settlement. HUD said the analysis is "incomplete and unacceptable" and has given county officials until April 1st to modify the document, which must identify possible hurdles to constructing affordable housing in the county. The analysis is one part of the county's 2009 agreement that settled a lawsuit by the Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York. The center accused Westchester County of using federal money for affordable housing but failing to reduce racial disparities in the county. The settlement requires the county to construct 700 units of affordable housing, of which most must be in low-minority towns like Lewisboro, and to market them to minorities in the region, although not exclusively. In a letter, HUD wrote that the analysis "must not only present data but provide a road map of actions that the county will take to address the problems and barriers evident in that data." The settlement also required county leaders to promote "legislation . . . to ban 'source-of-income' discrimination in housing." Federal officials further said the county would need to address exclusionary zoning laws and ways to reduce local opposition to affordable housing.

Oregon Considers 60-Year Affordability Period
Affordable Housing Finance (01/11)

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) is mulling a 60-year affordability period for affordable housing developments that receive funding from the agency. OHCS officials have requested that the public submit comments on the proposal by Jan. 31. If approved, the term would not apply to projects receiving only OHCS bond financing or 4 percent low-income housing tax credits. However, bond-financed and 4 percent credit projects that also receive grants or loan subsidies would have to comply with the standard. The term would apply to new OHCS funding awards through its consolidated funding cycle, requests for proposals, and other application processes. The standard would affect per capita credits, grants, and low-interest, or deferred-payment loans made from the Housing Trust Fund, HOME program, general housing account, low-income weatherization, preservation funds, and other grant programs. Current affordability periods range from 10 years to 30 years based on the funding used. The proposal calls for creating a standard affordability period in the state, where property owners would have an opportunity to buy out of the affordability at years 40 or 50. The balance would be reduced over time to encourage owners to keep the property affordable.

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February 2011
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