Sponsored By:
Windsor Consulting


Register this week for NAHMA's 2010 Summer Meeting -
Co-located with the NAA Annual Conference!

Register now for the exciting combined multifamily housing conference and trade show being offered through the co-location of the NAHMA 2010 Summer Meeting with the NAA Education Conference & Exposition.

Networking and affordable housing policy discussions kick off on the morning of Wednesday, June 23 with the day-long NAHMA Public Policies Forum meeting, where discussions will focus on public policy related to federal legislative and regulatory initiatives that impact all of the affordable housing programs, from HUD programs (project-based Section, Section 8 tenant vouchers, Section 202 senior housing, and Section 811 special needs housing); to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program; to Rural Housing Service programs (Sections 515, 538 and the revitalization program).

The NAA Conference & Exposition runs from June 24 to 26, and features industry-related tracks for all types of apartment professionals - from executives, to onsite managers to leasing agents to maintenance technicians. It also features the largest trade show in the multifamily industry.

The conference also features four key affordable housing-focused sessions presented by NAHMA –

NAHMA Presents Key Updates on HUD Affordable Housing Programs - THURSDAY, JUNE 24 at 10:15-11:15 am
Learn from the top-ranking multifamily official at HUD about the latest updates in agency programs, and how these program changes impact your affordable housing portfolio. Participants will learn about the latest updates in HUD programs, including, timeliness of payments by the agency, required use of the Enterprise Income Verification system, filing for pervious participation certification, the agency’s new strategic plan, and new transformation initiatives.
Presented by:
Carol Galante, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing Programs, HUD

NAHMA Presents Top Ten Tips for Competing in the Post-Recovery Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program -
THURSDAY, JUNE 24 at 9-10 am
Learn from industry experts on how to successfully compete in the post-economic recovery Low Income Housing Tax Credit program - the major tool for production and preservation of affordable multifamily housing. Participants will be able to identify and implement 10 strategies for competing successfully in the post economic recovery Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.
Presented by:
Lawrence (Larry) Curtis, Managing Principal and President of WinnDevelopment, Boston, MA
George Caruso, SHCM, NAHP-e, Executive Vice President, Edgewood Management Corp., Germantown, MD
Vincent F. O'Donnell, Vice President, Affordable Housing Preservation Initiative, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Boston, MA

NAHMA Presents Preservation Tools for Aging Affordable Housing – FRIDAY, JUNE 25 – 8:45-10:15 am
Learn from industry experts about the latest tools and programs to successfully preserve your aging affordable multifamily housing. Participants will be able to identify and implement key strategies for preserving their aging affordable multifamily housing.
Presented by:
Michelle Norris, SHCM, NAHP-e, Senior VP - Acquisitions & Development, National Church Residences, Columbus, OH
Gianna Solari, SHCM, NAHP-e, Vice President, Operations,Solari Enterprises, Inc., Orange, CA
David A. Smith, CEO, ReCap Real Estate Advisors, Boston, MA

NAHMA Presents REAC Experts' Roundtable
FRIDAY, JUNE 25 – 1-2 pm
Participants will learn from leading experts on topics such as: what to expect during a REAC inspections; how to prepare to get a great score; and how to file an appeal if the inspection doesn't turn out as well as expected, as well as other tools and tips for having your next inspection be a success!
Presented by:
Karen Newsome, SHCM, NAHP-e, Vice President – Compliance, WinnResidential, Boston, MA
David Northam, Area Manager, Beacon Communities, Bramblewood Estates, Richmond, VA
Scott Reithel, NAHP-e, Vice President of Property Management, Community Housing Partners, Richmond, VA

In addition to all of the excellent networking and educational sessions available with the co-location of the NAHMA 2010 Summer Meeting with the NAA Education Conference & Exposition, you’ll also have the opportunity for some fun in The Big Easy, as New Orleans is affectionately known.

In particular, NAHMA is hosting an opening party on the evening of Wednesday, June 23. Admission is free to the first 500 who pre-register (admission is free but pre-registration is required). Visit for more details. (Space constraints at the House of Blues limit attendance to 500 persons.)

For registration information, please click on the following link.


Association News
NAHMA Announces 2010 Affordable 100 Listing
NAHMA Celebrates 20 Years of Leadership:
Affordable Housing Pioneer Reaches Historic Milestone

Entries Accepted for National Community of Quality® Awards
NAHMA Offers Tax Credit Housing Management Publication

Industry News
"HUD Submits Draft Transforming Rental Assistance Legislation to Congress"
"LIHTC Bill Introduced in Senate"
"Multifamily Tax Credit Appears Set for Rebound"
"Exchange Program Could Spur 155 California Projects"
"Guest Commentary: Targeting Investments to Create Housing and Jobs"
"HUD Announces New Strategic Plan"
"Going Mobile: Is Your Property Doing What It Takes?"
"FHA 221(d)(4) Changes to Impact Some Affordable Deals"
"Apartment Industry Shows Widespread Improvement According to NMHC Quarterly Survey of Market Conditions"
"Google Invests in LIHTCs"
"GSE Numbers Point to 2010 Trends"
"Holding Credits, Spreading Debt"
"Obama Already Has $72 Billion on Tap for Green Buildings, Study Says"
"'Smart Growth' Taking Hold in U.S. Cities, Study Says"
"Committee Urges Rent Freeze in LA"

Association News

NAHMA Announces 2010 Affordable 100 Listing

NAHMA recently announced the release of its 2010 Affordable 100, a list of the 100 largest affordable multifamily property managers, ranked by affordable unit counts. The list is available at NAHMA’s website (please click on link below), as well as in the June issue of Affordable Housing Finance magazine.

The Affordable 100, created in an effort to accurately determine the size of the portfolio of affordable multifamily units receiving federal subsidy in the United States, lists affordable units containing at least one of following federal subsidies: HUD Project-based Assistance, Section 42 LIHTC, HOME funds, bonds and USDA Section 515.

“If the affordable housing industry is to successfully contend that more federal funds are required to address the rental housing needs of our country, we need the data to make our case,” said NAHMA Executive Director Kris Cook, CAE. “In most government reporting, a unit that receives a HUD project-based subsidy is counted as an affordable unit by HUD. If that same unit was built or rehabilitated using tax credits, it is again counted by the IRS or the state allocating agency as an affordable unit. Add HOME funds to the financing mix and it is counted a third time. NAHMA believes that overstating the supply of affordable housing leads policymakers to believe that more units are available than there truly are.”

NAHMA has taken steps to determine the degree to which layering is overstating the supply of safe, sanitary, affordable housing through its annual Affordable 100 list. The goal of this survey is to produce a list of the 100 largest affordable multifamily property managers, ranked by affordable unit counts.
NAHMA Celebrates 20 Years of Leadership:
Affordable Housing Pioneer Reaches Historic Milestone

This year NAHMA is celebrating its 20th year as a pioneering champion of affordable multifamily housing across the nation.

“NAHMA has raised the standards of professionalism in affordable housing management, become a partner to HUD and other federal agencies and become the go-to provider of information about how government policies and regulations play out in the real world,” said Dan Murray, NAHMA’s Board President and President of Corcoran Jennison, Inc. “It was founded by industry practitioners, both owners and managers, who felt a strong need to educate legislators, government agencies and the general public about the needs and value of housing for people of modest means.”

NAHMA has its roots in the early 1970s, when it became clear that the management of assisted housing (later known as affordable housing) required a new set of knowledge and skill sets than had previously existed.

Property owners in this nascent industry created the National Advisory Council of HUD Management Agents in 1976. Not long afterward, property managers began creating local Affordable Housing Management Associations (AHMAs) so that they could support one another in interacting with local HUD offices, state agencies and others. This group eventually coalesced into the National Federation of AHMAs.

Fourteen years later, in 1990, the two organizations merged and created NAHMA.

NAHMA’s national network has grown to include 20 AHMAs across the country as well as individual, corporate and affiliate members. Its board of directors is composed of NAHMA members, who are typically owners/CEOs or senior-level managers at regionally or nationally focused property management companies.

Today, NAHMA's mission is to support legislative and regulatory policy that promotes the development and preservation of decent and safe affordable housing. NAHMA serves as a vital resource for technical education and information, fosters strategic relations between government and industry, and recognizes those who exemplify the best in affordable housing.
Entries Accepted for National Community of Quality® Awards

For the 18th year, NAHMA will showcase the highest-quality multifamily affordable housing in the country through its 2010 Community of Quality® (COQ) Awards program. The awards acknowledge excellence in:
• The physical and financial condition of affordable multifamily properties;
• The quality of life they offer to residents;
• The level of resident involvement in planning and problem solving; and
• The nature of collaborations with other organizations and agencies that contribute to the betterment of the lives of residents and the communities at large.

The awards are co-sponsored by HD Supply Multifamily Solutions™, a leading supplier of maintenance and renovation products to the multihousing industry.

“Every year we are inspired by the excellence being exhibited in the communities created and maintained by our members,” said NAHMA Executive Director Kris Cook. “It’s important for people know what assets these properties are to their communities.”

Property owners can submit COQ applications for the following categories, each of which will have first- and second-place winners:
* Exemplary Family Development
* Exemplary Development for the Elderly
* Exemplary Development for Residents with Special Needs
* Exemplary Development for Single-Room Occupancy
* Outstanding Turnaround of a Troubled Property

Before applying for a COQ Award, a property must first have achieved National Recognition as a Community of Quality®.

NAHMA President Dan Murray, NAHP-e, urged property owners and managers to apply for the awards. “Earning a COQ Award demonstrates to your peers, your investors, the regulatory community, your residents and your employees how much care and effort goes into creating and maintaining a high-quality environment,” he said.

Mike Hendel, Director of Multifamily Business Development, HD Supply Multifamily Solutions, said his company is proud to once again be involved in an awards program that recognizes the importance of property maintenance. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with NAHMA in an awards program that encourages property owners and managers to maintain their properties in ways that keep the value high and makes residents proud to live there.”

The 2010 COQ awards will be presented at NAHMA’s annual winter meeting in March 2011 in Washington, D.C.

For more details, click below.
NAHMA Offers Tax Credit Housing Management Publication

The comprehensive "A Practical Guide to Tax Credit Housing Management" is available from NAHMA. The 74-page spiral-bound book is an informative yet easy-to-read primer on tax credit housing management.

The user-friendly guide will help you understand key concepts in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, including Fractions and Credits, Eligible Basis, Qualified Basis, Minimum Set-Aside, Rules of Calculation of Income, Student Households, Amenities and Services, Non-Transient Occupancy, and more.

In addition, the book is designed as a referencew guide for the Specialist in Housing Credit Management® (SHCM®) certification. The SHCM program is unprecedented as the only national certification program supported by three national trade associations and their members. Joining NAHMA in the strategic alliance are the National Apartment Association Education Institute (NAAEI) and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA).

“As experienced affordable housing management professionals know, the tax credit program is the primary production tool for creating new affordable housing properties across every state in the country, and it is also the most important tool for rehabilitating and preserving the nation's existing stock of aging affordable housing,” said NAHMA President Daniel Murray, NAHP-e. “To maximize their careers, management professionals in the affordable housing industry must be able to demonstrate their experience and expertise in mastering the complex requirements of the tax credit program.” The publication can be ordered at NAHMA’s webstore via the link below.

Industry News

HUD Submits Draft Transforming Rental Assistance Legislation to Congress
Lexology (05/21/10) Pickersgill, Dianne

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has submitted the Preservation, Enhancement, and Transformation of Rental Assistance Act of 2010 (PETRA) to Congress that would authorize and implement HUD's Transforming Rental Assistance (TRA) initiative. PETRA allows public housing authorities and owners of certain HUD-assisted housing to convert to property-based Section 8 contracts. It also modifies the project-based voucher (PBV) statute, including adopting some provisions of the House version of the Section 8 Voucher Reform Act (SEVRA). Under new Section 8(m), "Transformation of Rental Assistance," owners of eligible properties may request to voluntarily convert to a property-based Section 8 contract (PB contract) or, in some cases, to a PBV contract. Eligible properties are defined as those assisted under Section 8 of the Housing Act; Section 9 of the Housing Act; the Rent Supplement program; the Rental Assistance program; and other federal affordable housing programs to be identified by the HUD Secretary. Section 8(m) authorizes an appropriation of $350 million for TRA for fiscal year 2011 and additional funding as necessary through 2015. A Rental Assistance Conversion Trust Fund would be created as a depository for funds, such as fees that may be charged for conversion and amounts de-obligated under prior contracts as a result of conversion. Section 8(m) requires one-for-one replacement of assisted units upon conversion, with certain exceptions, including the possibility of transferring assistance to another property. For public housing, converted properties would be subject to at least a 30-year use restriction. For other properties, the use restriction would be the remaining term of any prior restriction or the term of the new assistance contract, whichever is greater.

LIHTC Bill Introduced in Senate
Partnership for Strong Communities (05/12/10)

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced legislation on May 6 to improve the low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program. The bill, S. 3326, the Job Creation and Housing Act of 2010, would provide an exchange program for the 4 percent tax credit and expand the ability of investors to carry back tax credits. Both of these provisions have been sought by housing advocates as a way to reinvigorate the program, which has stalled during the financial crisis. The 4 percent exchange provision is similar to the one included in H.R. 4687, and the carryback provisions are similar to provisions in H.R. 4109 and S. 3141. A more limited 4 percent program was included in the House-passed Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act of 2010. The 4 percent exchange program in S. 3326 differs from the one in the Jobs Act. The provisions in the jobs bill would not be available to nonprofit developers and would require that projects be placed in service by the end of 2010; these limitations are not in S. 3326. Advocates are seeking to have language similar to that in S. 3326 and H.R. 4687 included in any final legislation.

Multifamily Tax Credit Appears Set for Rebound
American Banker (05/28/10) Fogarty, Mark

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit appears poised to return to its former status as the premier production conduit for affordable multifamily housing, after being hurt in recent years by investors getting out of the market altogether or lying low. Many investors suffered big net losses, meaning they had no use for a tax credit, and the resulting lack of competitive bids drove prices down. While prices are now holding up well in active areas like New York, where 90 cents on the dollar is possible, many other areas of the country are seeing returns between 55 cents and 75 cents. Jim Carlisle, a senior vice president at Bank of America Corp., says the company remains a committed investor in the tax credit, having bought about $500 million in tax credits last year. Daniel Devin, a senior vice president in Bank of America's tax credit originations group, reports his unit did $30 million to $40 million in equity deals in the fourth quarter of last year and has "a substantial pipeline" this year. Carlisle says that while the past two years have been "a crisis period" for the LIHTC, the downturn is temporary. "As the industry returns to profitability, there will be an appetite going forward" for tax credit deals, he states, adding that because some deals unraveled during the past couple of years, development money was left by the side of the road and is available. Industry officials are supporting an amendment of a one-year carryforward to five years introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.). Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) has introduced similar legislation in the House.

Exchange Program Could Spur 155 California Projects
Affordable Housing Finance (06/10) Kimura, Donna

A new survey of developers conducted by the California Housing Partnership finds that construction of as many as 13,000 affordable housing units could break ground in the state this year if equity investments are combined with the exchange of cash for 4 percent and 9 percent low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) that are unusable. About 155 properties could get under way this year and generate 16,000 jobs, the partnership says. The survey is in support of the proposed Low Income Housing Tax Credit Exchange Expansion and Job Creation Act of 2010, introduced by Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), which seeks to expand the exchange program to include 4 percent credits and specifies that states can loan the funds and need not grant them. Among the 155 properties identified, 107 are new construction and 48 are rehabilitation of existing buildings. One-fifth of the units would be for households earning less then 30 percent of the area’s median income, with 42 percent for those between 31 and 50 percent, 34 percent for those between 51 and 60 percent, and 4 percent for higher-income households.

Guest Commentary: Targeting Investments to Create Housing and Jobs
Affordable Housing Finance (06/10) Spivak, Sindy; Tracey, Brian

Bank of America Community Development Banking tax credit investment professionals Sindy Spivak and Brian Tracey note in this commentary that low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC) have, for more than 20 years, helped attract capital for creating and maintaining affordable housing as well as generating many jobs. LIHTCs are the main tool used by banks to comply with the requirements of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), making banks a major segment of LIHTC investors. However the placement of investments is based on the geographic location of deposits, resulting in most of the demand being concentrated in urban markets and leaving the affordable housing needs of the rest of the country unmet. Banks, then, should be given CRA consideration for housing credit investments in areas where affordable housing is most needed and unemployment is high. Much like the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency granted CRA consideration for investments in areas affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita to banks located outside the area, the same action can be applied to areas throughout the country where affordable housing is most needed. The effect would be significant - if the annual investment test goal for each of the top 10 U.S. banks was $1.5 billion, and each bank was permitted to invest up to 5 percent of that amount, it would result in up to $750 million flowing into underserved markets, producing up to 12,500 affordable apartments and generating 23,000 jobs.

HUD Announces New Strategic Plan
National Mortgage Professional (05/12/10)

The Strategic Plan recently released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will help the agency "create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and affordable homes for all" through the 2015 fiscal year. One facet of the plan involves striking a balance between sustainable homeownership and rental housing, resulting in the development of millions of rental units that are affordable, accessible, and energy efficient. Among other things, HUD also will work to stabilize the housing market and create sustainable, inclusive communities tied to schools, jobs, and transportation.

Going Mobile: Is Your Property Doing What It Takes?
Multi-Housing News (05/10) Zeff, Dana

More and more people are accessing the Internet from anywhere via phones and mobile devices, and property managers need to provide Web sites that are compatible with mobile browsing in order to keep up with the trend. Mobile users want the same functionality on their devices that they can get on a laptop, but optimized for the smaller space with less graphics and easy access to data. Having a strong mobile option will help a firm to give browsers a more satisfying experience, attract new prospects, and gain a competitive edge in closing leases. And advertising this feature helps as well - mobile conveniences are valuable amenities, and letting residents and prospects know that a firm is an early adapter of technology can help to bring in new residents and keep existing ones happy.

FHA 221(d)(4) Changes to Impact Some Affordable Deals
Multifamily Executive (05/10) Ascierto, Jerry

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is making underwriting changes to its flagship new construction program, Sec. 221(d)(4), for the first time in decades, and some affordable housing developments will see tougher restrictions. The (d)(4) program has traditionally offered a 1.11x debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) and a 90 percent loan-to-cost (LTC) across the board. Under the proposed changes, market-rate deals seeking 221(d)(4) loans would be underwritten to a minimum 1.20x DSCR. Projects with subsidy levels of 90 percent or greater would still get a 1.11x DSCR, but tax-credit deals would be increased to a minimum 1.15x. Also, projects with rental assistance would still qualify for 90 percent LTC, but LIHTC deals would tap out at 87 percent and market-rate deals at 83.3 percent. While the underwriting changes probably will not have a big effect on tax-credit deals, the impact on mixed-income developments is uncertain. Observers are not sure if the FHA would treat a deal that had some affordable set-asides as pure market-rate, or if those deals would be underwritten more like LIHTC deals. To classify a mixed income deal as affordable, a test needs to be applied, which depends on a commitment to long-term affordability.

Apartment Industry Shows Widespread Improvement According to NMHC Quarterly Survey of Market Conditions
Bradenton Herald (FL) (05/07/10)

The National Multi Housing Council's (NMHC) last Apartment Market Conditions Quarterly Survey revealed that industry experts believe the apartment sector has been rebounding these past three months. Researchers gauged market performance based on market tightness, sales figures, equity financing, and debt financing indexes. The results reflected record highs in sales volume and equity, and the largest improvements occurred in market tightness. This marks the first occasion the council has witnessed improvements in all four indexes over a previous quarter's survey since October 2005. The market tightness index rose from 38 to 81, while the sales volume index increased to 72 from 56, followed by an increase in equity financing to 71 from 66 and an increase in debt financing from 49 to 58. NMHC Chief Economist Mark Obrinsky says, "There is clear improvement in apartment market conditions on all fronts. We saw a sharp increase in the Market Tightness Index, which fits with the surprisingly strong (for a seasonally weak period) effective rent growth. And the all-time highs recorded by the sales volume and equity financing indexes offer even more reason for optimism. Even so, a sustained recovery in the apartment market needs a firm economic and demographic foundation. While the long-term prospects for the industry are bright, in the near-term the industry's prospects still depend upon a stronger rebound in both the job market and household formation."

Google Invests in LIHTCs
Affordable Housing Finance (04/10)

Google has partnered with Union Bank to provide low-income housing tax credit financing (LIHTC) for California developers. The bank will syndicate and manage about $25 million in LIHTC investments, which will produce two affordable senior housing projects. The tax credits have historically been purchased by financial institutions, so the entrance of Google into the market is “exciting news for the industry,” said Union Bank’s Annette Billingsley. Indeed, the industry has had several investors drop out or reduce their investments in the past two years, and has been looking for new investors to fill financing gaps. “Mid-Pen is proud to be the recipient of Google’s first investment in affordable housing,” said Matthew O. Franklin, president of Mid-Peninsula Housing. “We applaud Google’s vision to invest in their region by supporting the development of affordable, high-quality housing, and we hope that their leadership will pave the way for other nontraditional investors to enter the LIHTC market.”

GSE Numbers Point to 2010 Trends
Apartment Finance Today (04/10) Ascierto, Jerry

Multifamily housing debt decreased significantly last year at both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which registered declines of 45 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Despite the smaller overall size of the multifamily debt market, the two federally chartered mortgage financiers' share of the market grew, with Freddie Mac garnering its biggest slice of the pie -- 37 percent -- in company history. Nearly every loan category slumped in 2009 at Fannie Mae, with the exception of manufactured housing. That niche expanded to $1.1 billion from $1 billion in 2008. While Freddie Mac does not have a manufactured housing program at this time, it intends to launch one later in 2010. For 2009, its key growth area was in student housing mortgages, which increased in volume from $580 million processed in 2008 to $775 million last year.

Holding Credits, Spreading Debt
Housing Finance (05/01/10) Ascierto, Jerry

Despite rumors spoken to the contrary in 2009, Freddie Mac CEO Ed Haldeman confirmed that the company is not actively pursuing a sale of its tax credit portfolio. In February, the Federal Housing Finance Agency told Freddie Mac that the company could not sell or transfer the assets and that it saw no other options for disposition, resulting in a writedown of the carrying value of Freddie Mac's LIHTCs to zero. In an interview with Hanley Wood Business Media, Haldeman and other executives indicated that Freddie Mac's preservation business will again be a focus this year. The more troubling debt product for affordable housing developers has been Freddie Mac's forward commitment program, with rates around 8.5 percent, according to Freddie Mac lenders. This program promised a permanent loan in advance to new construction tax credit deals but has fallen out of popularity in spite of more developers receiving tax credit exchange funds and ramping up pipelines. Freddie Mac is attempting to move most of its business into its securitized debt platform -- the Capital Markets Execution (CME) program -- and hopes to make Targeted Affordable Housing deals eligible for the CME program this year. Freddie Mac will likely finance more units that serve lower-income populations this year, including more lower area median income levels than in the past, and is also overhauling its multifamily systems platform.

Obama Already Has $72 Billion on Tap for Green Buildings, Study Says
Greener Buildings (04/30/10)

President Obama and his administration have more than 30 existing programs worth $72 billion lined up to increase energy efficiency in commercial buildings and multifamily housing, according to an analysis prepared by Van Ness Feldman for the U.S. Green Building Council and several other sponsoring organizations and companies. "The Obama Administration has tremendous, untapped opportunities to use legal tools already at its disposal to enhance the energy efficiency and sustainability of the nation's multifamily and commercial buildings - all without seeking new funds or authority from Congress," according to the report. "All told, the programs identified in this report have the potential to directly provide or facilitate over $72 billion in funding or loan guarantees, and can leverage hundreds of billions of dollars in private investment through instruments such as mortgage insurance and regulation of the real estate lending market." The report recommends several ways the Obama administration can use existing programs to enhance building efficiency, including reforming appraisals and underwriting practices and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, promoting flexible FHA insurance products, and integrating energy efficiency and sustainability criteria into competitive grants and funding formulas.

'Smart Growth' Taking Hold in U.S. Cities, Study Says
New York Times (03/24/10) Nelson, Gabriel

A new study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "Residential Construction Trends in America's Metropolitan Regions," reports a more than twofold increase in residential construction in urban centers, marking a shift in development away from the suburbs. Sprawling metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles and Chicago, saw gains in urban redevelopment similar to gains seen in areas with strict regional land-use policies. The study says, "The market fundamentals are shifting toward redevelopment even in the absence of formal policies and programs at the regional level." The study indicates that development pushed toward urban centers in 2008 when more apartment complexes and other multifamily developments broke ground and fewer single-family houses were started. National Resources Defense Council Smart Growth Program Director Kaid Benfield says urban areas are popular among baby boomers and young professionals, adding that an awareness of one's environmental footprint has played a role. The movement toward urban redevelopment is a focus of the Obama Administration's Partnership for Sustainable Communities, involving the EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation. HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims says, "[The livability initiative will be a step toward] improving building-level energy efficiency, cutting greenhouse gas emissions through transit-oriented development, and taking advantage of other locational efficiencies."

Committee Urges Rent Freeze in LA
Los Angeles Daily News (05/05/10) Orlov, Rick

On May 5, the Los Angeles City Council's Housing, Community, and Economic Development Committee recommended a four-month freeze on rent increases for 630,000 rent-controlled units, preventing property owners of buildings erected before 1978 from increasing rents. The recommendation could even be extended for two additional months. Unemployment in the region is around 14 percent, and property owners are concerned that the freeze will hamper efforts to maintain buildings as operating and repair costs rise. Property owners also contend that current market conditions favor renters, forcing them to offer free rent over several months in order to fill all of their units. Meanwhile, council member Jan Perry, who voted against the rent freeze, suggested that encouraging development would keep rents affordable. Council members say the rent freeze will provide them with enough time to study the Los Angeles rent stabilization ordinance -- which only permits property owners to increase rents to market rates after units are vacant or increase rents by a base rate of 3 percent per year -- and recommend any possible modifications.

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June 2010
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