March 27, 2018

Community Developments: New Report Highlights the Continued Success and Necessity of the Housing Credit

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  • HUD has released a new report, Understanding Whom the LIHTC Program Serves: Data on Tenants in LIHTC Units as of December 31, 2015, which highlights the continued success and necessity of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). It shows that between 2013 and 2015, the vacancy rate of Housing Credit properties dropped by 1 percent to 4 percent – indicating that there is high demand for these properties. The report also points out that the Housing Credit continues to deeply target extremely low-income households – those earning up to 30 percent of the area median income – noting that in 2015, 44.5 percent of Housing Credit properties’ tenants were extremely low-income renters. (Novogradac & Company, March 26) As previously reported in Community Developments, the fiscal year (FY) 2018 omnibus spending package includes a provision that expands the Housing Credit by 12.5 percent for four years, the first expansion of the Housing Credit in ten years.
  • A new study by RENTCafé shows that Millennials are spending about 45 percent of their total income on rent, suggesting that they are the most rent-burdened generation. The analysis – which refers to single individuals who pay their monthly rents without assistance – finds that Millennials between the ages of 22 and 30 pay a median rent of $92,600, compared to $82,200 for Gen Xers and $71,000 for Baby Boomers. The analysis suggests that some of this trend can be attributed to Millennials preferring to live in more expensive downtown urban areas and that student debt is preventing many Millennials from buying homes. The study also points out that if this trend continues, members of Generation Z could pay around $102,000 in rent during their 20s. (HousingWire, March 26)
  • The Baltimore City Council is considering legislation that would require mandatory licensing and inspection of all residential rental properties in the city, expanding oversight to include one- and two-unit rental properties, which are now exempted from mandatory inspections. Under the proposed bill, landlords who fix violations promptly and avoid the most serious problems would earn a license that requires an inspection only once every three years, but property owners with more code violations would receive licenses that require inspections annually or every two years. (The Baltimore Sun, March 26) 
  • An article in Next City looks at a new down payment assistance program by MassHousing, a quasi-public agency that provides financing for affordable housing in Massachusetts, which allows qualified low-to-middle income households to purchase homes without a down payment. The new program covers the down payment on a home – up to 3 percent – with a second loan of up to $12,000 that is repayable at one percent interest over 15 years. MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay notes that her “agency’s underwriting safeguards, homebuyer education and fixed-interest loans make this assistance a far cry from the predatory practices that lured so many buyers into agreements they couldn’t possibly sustain.” (Next City, March 27) 
  • A group of housing advocates, including the National Fair Housing Association and the Fair Housing Justice Center of New York City, has filed a federal lawsuit against Facebook in a Manhattan courtroom, alleging that the social network utilizes the personal data of users to help landlords and real estate brokers target and/or exclude specific groups and audiences, which enables discriminatory practices that violate the Fair Housing Act. The housing advocates argue that Facebook enables advertisers to exclude families with children, women, people of color and other protected classes from seeing housing advertisements. An investigation by ProPublica shows that Facebook’s advertisement platform permitted advertisers to exclude African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans from receiving ads for housing and other goods and services. (Curbed, March 27) 

For the latest housing and community development news and notes, follow the Enterprise policy team on Twitter: @E_Housing Policy and subscribe to the Capitol Express Newsletter. The Enterprise Public Policy team works to safeguard, expand and improve programs that end housing insecurity. Learn more about our public policy efforts.

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