All posts by Scott Beyer

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Housing USA: Hotel California No More?

California is famous for its low-budget lodging. I stayed in some while traveling the state – little hotels and motels on the roadside that, mixed with the palm trees and desert backdrop, had a noirish feel. They’re a part of California lore, even profiled in that infamous Eagles song.

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Housing USA: Virtual Leasing Is Here to Stay

The sudden rise of Coronavirus—and the subsequent four-month shutdown of society—sped up certain technology shifts. Digital communications like Zoom, Skype and Amazon were already bringing disruption to work, education, shopping, medical provision and more.

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Housing USA: Stretching the Private Activity Bond Cap

When it comes to allocation of Low Income Housing Tax Credits and complementing Private Activity Bonds (PAB), there’s only so much to go around. The IRS distributes both forms of financing to states based on population; as noted by the Affordable Housing Finance website, the 2020 LIHTC allocation “will be the greater of $2.8125 multiplied by the state population, or the small state minimum of $3,217,500. For private-activity bonds, the amount used to calculate the volume cap will remain $105 multiplied by the state population. The state minimum will be $321,775,000.”

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Fannie Mae M.TEB: Hilltop Apartments

The Hilltop Apartments was a previously market-rate rental apartment project that sits near the eastern city limits of Washington, DC, in the Deanwood neighborhood. Built in the 1960s, it had become a run-down project within a gentrifying area, and the natural market direction might have been to demolish it and build new market-rate housing that commanded higher rents.

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Keys to the RAD Capital Stack

Since its launch in 2011, the Rental Assistance Demonstration program (RAD) has put hundreds of  thousands of public housing units under private management, across 44 states plus DC. All this activity was spurred by HUD’s change in incentives – after decades of defunding public housing, HUD decided to allocate money for RAD, showing that privatization is the agency’s preferred future model. But RAD has also shot off because it’s being blended with other HUD tools that better enable public housing repair and conversion. Two of these tools are Section 18 and Rent Bundling. 

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Housing USA: Why The South Dominates RAD

Many of today’s affordable housing policies, from inclusionary zoning to strengthened tenant protections, are—whether you agree with them or not—growing out of coastal urban America. But one relatively new HUD program, Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), has become a Southern thing.

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Housing USA: Amazon Enters An Opportunity Zone

The idea behind Opportunity Zones has been to encourage development in poor areas. Inspired by the Enterprise Zone concept championed in the 1980s by congressman Jack Kemp, the Trump Administration law is, according to the IRS website, “Designed to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities…by providing tax benefits to investors who invest eligible capital into these communities.”

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Housing USA: Massachusetts’ Smart Growth Incentive

In recent years, the local political obstacles to adding dense housing are thought by analysts to be overcome with state policy. And often, these policies are “stick”–like in nature: Oregon, in 2019, passed a bill to outlaw single-family zoning in most parts of the state. Legislators in Virginia, California and Maryland have since proposed similar bills. But the “carrot” approach, which involves dangling financial incentives to cities that loosen zoning voluntarily, is also possible.

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