The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a final rule on Dec. 14, setting the benchmark levels for the multifamily housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for 2023 and 2024. This rule finalizes the proposal FHFA published earlier this year for the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs). By setting goals that the GSEs must meet when purchasing mortgages, FHFA is encouraging the GSEs to provide low- and very low-income households with greater access to affordable housing. The benchmark uses a new percentage-based methodology for the GSEs annual multifamily loan acquisitions.

How Does This Differ from Previous Years?

The percentages for each category are detailed in the table below.

Blog Graphic: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Multifamily Housing Goals

Click to Enlarge

 

As explained in an August Notes from Novogradac post, in December 2021, FHFA set multifamily housing goals for 2022 based on the total number of affordable homes in multifamily properties financed by mortgage loans purchased by the GSEs each year. In August 2022, FHFA released the proposed rule for the updated goals—the 2023-2024 goals will instead require that the percentage of affordable units in multifamily properties financed by mortgages purchased by the GSEs each year meet or exceed the affordability benchmark levels.

Further, by setting a one-year benchmark for 2022, which was due to market variability after the COVID-19 pandemic, FHFA was able to use more relevant data for 2023 and 2024 that better reflects the ever-changing marketplace. In a FHFA press release, Sandra L. Thompson, FHFA director, says that the new benchmark levels will allow for multifamily housing goals to be more receptive to market conditions, therefore, allowing the GSEs to complete multifamily housing requirements throughout the year.

Recent FHFA News and Investments

The FHFA release of the final GSE multifamily housing goals follows several other FHFA policy announcements to further support affordable housing. In September 2021, the FHFA increased the annual low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity investment cap from $500 million to $850 million each for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for a combined total of $1.7 billion. Additionally, FHFA announced that the portion of GSE LIHTC equity investments required for mission related investments increased from 40%, or $200 million, to 50%, or $425 million. These steps are contributing to the White House’s Housing Supply Action Plan, which outlines efforts by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the FHFA goal of increasing the affordable housing supply by approximately 100,000 homes.

The FHFA also published revised 2022-24 Underserved Market Plans for the GSEs under the Duty to Serve (DTS) program. According to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the GSEs must set DTS goals, which include plans on increasing liquidity for mortgage investments that assist very low-, low- and moderate-income families in three underserved markets. These markets include manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing. In comparison to the 2018-2021 plans, these new set of plans include an increase in LIHTC loans and equity investment in LIHTC properties. These plans emphasize rural areas and new rural and affordable housing preservation goals.

These DTS goals and performance metrics were published in a 2021 report to Congress. In 2021, Fannie Mae had a DTS target of 42 rural LIHTC investments. Fannie Mae exceeded this goal, in 2021 there were 52 rural LIHTC investments with a total of 2,839 units. Freddie Mac had a DTS loan purchase goal of 42,000 units for LIHTC debt within the affordable housing preservation market and exceeded this goal for a total of 52,390 units. Freddie Mac also had a goal of 15 transactions for loan purchases within the rural housing market and exceeded this goal for a total of 16 transactions and 1,295 units.

How To Stay Informed

FHFA will monitor and report the GSEs’ annual performance compared to these benchmark levels, and release guidance on trends in the multifamily market. Novogradac resources on affordable housing include the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Handbook and the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits. To stay up to date on affordable housing trends, register for the Novogradac 2023 Affordable Housing Developers Conference on Jan. 11-12, 2023.

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