Identifying LIHTC Market Opportunities in the State of Indiana

As we all know, there are numerous items to think about when choosing a market to develop/invest in. Due to the requirements of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), having a good understanding of the market/region you are looking to develop/invest in is a critical step in developing a successful LIHTC property and one that we here at Bowen National Research look forward to helping you with.

 

One of the more important factors to consider is the location of recently allocated Tax Credit projects as this can give an idea as to where Tax Credit investment is popular, while also illustrating areas where developers may want to use caution due to recent and/or multiple allocations. Understanding the proximity of your site to other allocated projects can help ensure you do not develop/invest in an area that may be saturated in terms of LIHTC product and/or help to identify potentially underserved areas. Between 2016 and 2019, IHCDA has awarded LIHTC allocations to 79 different projects throughout the state of Indiana. While these projects are scattered throughout the state, the cities of Indianapolis (9), Fort Wayne (8), and Evansville (6) have been awarded the most allocations during the past four years. For a full list of allocated projects, reference the IHCDA website here. You can also identify allocated LIHTC properties in your market by selecting the LIHTC data set under the “housing” tab on the Policy Map website here.

 

Other important factors to consider include demographic and economic trends as well as the performance of existing LIHTC developments within the market being considered. Of course, these metrics will fluctuate from market-to-market. In general, however, markets with high concentrations of lower- to moderate-income renter households and/or lower-wage paying occupations often result in strong support for LIHTC product. Another demographic characteristic to look for is a market(s) in which a relatively large share of households, particularly renter households, pay a disproportionate share of their income towards rent as these households are considered rent overburdened and would benefit from the addition of more affordable rental product. Typically, households which pay more than 35% or 40% of their income towards rent are considered to be rent overburdened. As a whole, the state of Indiana will continue to experience demographic trends conducive to LIHTC development over the next several years as more than half of all renter households are projected to earn less than $40,000 through 2023 and nearly 36% of all renter households are considered to be rent overburdened paying more than 35% of their income towards rent.

 

The state of Indiana also shows trends conducive to affordable senior (age 55+) rental product, as more than one-quarter of all renter households will be age 55 or older in 2023 and more than 60% of these senior renter households will earn less than $30,000. In fact, senior renter households (age 55+) are projected to increase by more than 6,500 households, or 2.8%, within the state between 2018 and 2023, as compared to renter households under age 55 which are expected to decline slightly during this time period. This suggests that many markets throughout the state could likely benefit from and/or see increased interest in the development of senior LIHTC product in the very near future.  To review demographic characteristics of your market, review the tools offered under the “demographics”, “incomes and spending”, and “housing” tabs on the Policy Map website here, and/or Census and American Community Survey data offered here.

 

While the preceding provides some good starting points to help determine LIHTC development potential in a market you may be considering, contact Bowen National Research to obtain more detailed information for your specific Indiana market. Our experience and proximity contributes to our knowledge of markets throughout the state of Indiana. In the past three years (2016-2018), Bowen National Research has conducted 60 market studies for 4% and 9% IHCDA Tax Credit application submissions, as well as 24 additional non-state-formatted market studies throughout the state of Indiana. Contact us to schedule your market study and/or for preliminary feedback/data on a market you may be considering for the upcoming July 29th, 2019 IHCDA deadline. Our database of surveyed LIHTC properties throughout the state of Indiana makes it easy for our staff to provide quick feedback on occupancy and rental rates. We look forward to assisting you in any way that we can to provide quality and affordable housing throughout the Hoosier State! In the meantime, don’t forget to review the latest IHCDA Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) which can be found here.

Blog written by Craig Rupert, Market Analyst with Bowen National Research

Bowen National Research Caps Off Off A Successful 2018 With A Countywide Housing Needs Assessment and Studies in Puerto Rico (Jan 2019)-

Bowen National Research finished a successful 2018 with the completion of a countywide Housing Needs Assessment in Michigan, along with the launch of several others, and a trip to Puerto Rico to study multiple housing projects on the island devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. A comprehensive analysis of Ottawa County, Michigan capped off a string of large and high-profile Housing Needs Studies that were finished by our firm in 2018. The community-wide studies included the following:

 

  • Yellow Springs, Ohio
  • Burke County, North Carolina
  • Dublin, Georgia
  • Beaufort County, South Carolina
  • Evansville, Indiana
  • Ottawa County, Michigan

These comprehensive studies were done during a year that saw Bowen National Research complete nearly 500 market studies in 32 states and Puerto Rico that included a total of 284 markets. The scope of the firm’s work included:

 

  • Rural Development housing portfolio studies in Kansas
  • Native American housing studies from California to Maine
  • State finance agency work in places like Louisiana and Iowa
  • Work for non-profit groups serving special needs populations such as the homeless and veterans
  • Mixed-use projects in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Anderson, South Carolina
  • Student housing and senior care studies in numerous markets throughout the country

We conducted our first work for Redstone Investments while continuing to work with HUD lenders partners such as Berkadia, Love Funding, and Merchants Capital. Overall, nearly 130 organizations chose Bowen National Research as their trusted partner for real estate markets research and analysis services.

 

Our firm will not sit idle because of our 2018 successes. We are in the process of investing more than $100,000 in a state-of-the-art database that will enable the firm’s researchers and analysts greater data collection and processing, more data analytics capabilities and better information for users of Bowen’s services. The database, scheduled for implementation in 2019, will empower us to provide more in-depth data analysis, including rent comparisons, rent growth trends, turnover rates, renovation activity, Voucher usage and much more. The new database is just one part of several investments in technology Bowen has planned over the next few years.

 

The experience and reputation that Bowen National Research’s team has garnered over the years have earned our client’s trust in providing input on market study requirements for state housing finance agencies in Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, and Virginia. The firm’s principal, Patrick Bowen, currently serves as Co-Chair for the Standards Committee for the National Council of Housing Market Analyst ((NCHMA). This committee, under Mr. Bowen’s leadership, continues to explore key industry issues, including income-averaging under the Tax Credit program and affordable assisted living projects. Bowen National Research is exploring a national survey of apartment managers that would pinpoint housing industry topics and provide the firm with exclusive insight on key market trends that can help its clientele make better strategic decisions involving development.

Bowen National Research Continues To Lead The Field In Third-Party Market Studies For Syndicators Nationwide

Among the more than 500 market studies the firm completes each year, a large number of the firm’s studies involve the market feasibility of projects being developed with financing through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. The program provides tax incentives to encourage developers to create affordable housing. Developers of qualified properties are allocated the Tax Credits and investors in those properties take advantage of the Tax Credits. Syndicators help connect investors with developers and oversee the fund’s acquisition and the ongoing management of the projects. As part of their due diligence and underwriting process, syndicators commission market feasibility studies on individual projects or groups of projects.

 

Bowen National Research is a provider of market feasibility studies throughout the U.S., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico and works with several of the nation’s largest Tax Credit syndicators including Aegon USA Realty Advisors, Berkadia, Boston Financial Investment Management, CAHEC, Hunt Capital Partners, R4 Capital, RBC Capital Markets, RedStone Equity Partners and WNC & Associates. Bowen National Research has earned the trust of these syndicators and investors through years of reliable and timely market studies that provide detailed market data and analysis. The firm has worked in some of the most economically depressed neighborhoods in the country, while also working in high-growth markets and in some of the more rural parts of the country. Bowen National Research has worked with syndicators on projects serving families or seniors, special needs populations and Native Americans and the firm brings this broad range of experience and understanding of a variety of housing products and diverse market conditions to each project..

 

Adding to Bowen National Research’s appeal to syndicators has been its development of Investor Summary Sheets, or ISS forms. ISS forms are short summaries comprised of tables and short narratives of key data and findings from the market study. These ISS forms are customized to meet the specific requirements of syndicators and their investors. They serve as a “cheat sheet” or “road map” of sorts, highlighting the key market information in a simple reference document, saving the syndicators’ underwriting staff time and allowing them to focus on other critical due diligence responsibilities. Bowen National Research welcomes input and suggestions from the syndicator and investment community on ways to continue to enhance an industry-leading product and service.

What is a Housing Needs Assessment and How Do You Use It?

Puzzle HousePurpose and Users

A comprehensive Housing Needs Assessment typically involves compilation and evaluation of specific demographic data, economic characteristics and trends, current housing inventory and characteristics, government policies and incentives, and the adequacy and availability of selected community services, as well as collecting the input of area stakeholders and residents. The assessment concludes with quantifying the number of housing units needed in the market by tenure (rentals vs. for-sale), price point, bedroom type and market segment (e.g. families, seniors, disabled, young professionals, etc.). The assessment also typically provides recommendations on how to achieve certain housing goals and will provide recommendations on potential housing policy initiatives that would benefit the local housing market. In instances where a community has available land that could be used to develop new housing or the adaptive reuse of existing structures, site-specific analysis can also be included as part of an overall Housing Needs Assessment. An analysis can even be conducted on submarkets or select neighborhoods within the subject community. In short, a Housing Needs Assessment can be customized to meet the specific needs of a community.

The users and beneficiaries of a Housing Needs Assessment are broad. Typically, a Housing Needs Assessment is used by local governments to identify housing issues and solutions that can be used to make strategic decisions related to the housing market and is often used as a basis for future housing and policy decisions and/or to secure financing for various housing programs and projects. Additionally, the assessment is used by local entities (government, economic development, chamber of commerce, etc.) to attract and encourage residential development activity and investment. Such assessments can also be used by social services organizations to understand housing issues specific to their interests and allow them to focus on ways to meet the needs of certain special needs populations (e.g. homeless, disabled, etc.). These assessments are also used by private developers and non-profit entities to identify areas of development potential so that they can strategically develop the types of housing most needed in the community. Finally, the assessment will enable local leaders and residents of the community to provide valuable insight as to the housing challenges they see in the market and help interested parties understand where focus should be placed on addressing such challenges. As such, a Housing Needs Assessment provides the information and tools for a variety of entities to make data-driven decisions about the area’s housing needs.


Components

The components (scope of work) of a Housing Needs Assessment can vary greatly. However, the most basic assessment should include the following:

Identification of the Study Area(s): The foundation of the analysis is the establishment of the Primary Study Area (PSA). The PSA is the geographic area from which demographic and economic factors influence housing needs. Typically, this includes the subject city, county or region for which the Housing Needs Assessment was requested. At times, secondary study areas (SSAs) are established that consist of a broader geographic area, such as a county or region that has influence on a PSA.

Evaluation of Demographics & Economics: A socio-economic profile should be created for the PSA and any SSAs established. The profiles provide in-depth details about the market areas, including population and household characteristics, development characteristics, economic characteristics, current housing stock, and the housing market conditions. Information should include current year information, as well as projections. Sources used include: U.S. Census, ESRI, HISTA, local auditor/assessor, interviews with city officials and other experts, and in-house and “on the ground” field research.

Evaluation of Community Services: An overview of services available to residents, including, but not limited to, parking alternatives, public transit, shopping, medical, public safety and recreational facilities. These identified services will be evaluated to determine how they affect potential demand for housing.

Housing Stock Inventory (Supply):
-This section of the assessment should include:Housing stock characteristics that are analyzed and displayed for the study areas (based on U.S. Census data and ACS data). These characteristics include, but are not limited to, housing tenure (renter vs. owner), age of housing, general housing condition, housing values, rent levels, etc.
-Inventory of rental housing supply that includes multifamily rental housing properties in the study areas, including government-subsidized and affordable Tax Credit properties, as well as market-rate properties.
-Inventory of for-sale housing supply that includes data for the subject market from sources such as Multiple Listing Services, Realtor.com, and the local tax assessor. Data should be collected and analyzed for both historical sales (typically from 2010 to current) and available for-sale housing alternatives. This will provide valuable information such as sales trends, including pricing, and the product that is currently available for purchase.
-Identification of projects in the development pipeline and residential foreclosures.

Stakeholder Interviews: The goal of these interviews is to obtain local insight from area stakeholders regarding current housing conditions and trends, to identify anticipated housing needs, and to determine if there are barriers that exist that may limit residential development in the market. Stakeholders will be asked for input on what housing products or markets should be a priority for the area. This insight is used in conjunction with quantitative data to assess market issues.

Housing Gap Analysis (Demand Estimates): Based on the existing housing stock within the study area and both current and projected demographics, a housing gap analysis will be completed for the PSA and possibly the larger SSA. The gap analysis will determine whether a deficit or surplus of housing units exists for households at various income bands for rental and for-sale housing. The demand analysis will consider existing current household estimates, as well as household growth projections by income and tenure. The rental demand calculations should also consider cost-burdened households and those living in substandard housing. The for-sale demand calculations will take into consideration household growth and the need for replacement housing (older, substandard housing).

The analysis should include housing gap estimates for each target market by identifying net gain, decline and demand of market-rate and income-restricted housing utilizing various levels of income stratifications. These may include income levels that correspond to various federal and state financing programs that would allow users of the report to understand if there are housing finance programs that may be utilized to help support the development of housing.

Conclusions/Recommendations: The conclusions typically summarize the depth of the market for additional housing within the PSA. Specific conclusions may include recommendations for the types of housing development that should be pursued and supported, as well as types of housing that will be needed in the short, medium and long term (projected five years ahead, or longer), recommendations as to the types of programs that the local government should consider expanding or providing for the development/redevelopment of necessary housing and recommended priorities for funding of projects.


Optional/Supplemental Services

There are additional research and analysis services that may be deemed to be beneficial to the assessment of the area’s housing needs. These are often separate from standard work elements, as they are often not required or may add to the costs and timing of the report that may exceed the users limitations. These include the following work elements:

Homeless and Special Needs Housing: Because interested stakeholders and other parties may apply for future grants and funding involving special needs, this optional service would evaluate homeless and special needs population and housing data. It would include an evaluation of how and to what extent housing availability has impacted various homeless and special needs households, and an inventory of homeless and special needs housing and demographics as well as stakeholder input from those familiar with these groups. Special needs groups vary in type but typically include the disabled, persons with HIV/AIDS, children aging out of foster care, recently released convicts, farm workers, etc.

Resident Survey: A resident survey would allow for area residents to provide their opinion and insight as to what type of housing development is needed. The survey can be conducted online, or in-person at public venues such as grocery stores, senior centers, etc., or a combination of both online and in-person. The survey can be customized to address the specific challenges a community faces.


Cost Estimates and Timing

The costs estimates and timing of a Housing Needs Assessment will vary based on the scope of work commissioned and the size of the community. Typically, most Housing Needs Assessments are priced between $10,000 and $75,000 and can take between two months to one year. The addition of special analysis or data collection can add significantly to the cost and timing of a report. It is recommended that the scope of work focus on answering core housing issues facing the community.

Patrick Bowen Presents at Nebraska Investment Finance Authority’s Housing Innovation Marketplace

NIFA_Cover_Page

On March 22, 2016, Patrick Bowen presented at the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority’s 2016 Housing Innovation Marketplace. The session was titled “Housing Market Studies” and was moderated by Ms. Casey Cline, Development Director at Travois. Additional panelists included Mr. Timothy M. Keelan, Principal Partner
of HANNA:KEELAN ASSOCIATES, P.C. and Mr. Brian Wilson, MAI, Commercial Real Estate Appraiser with Wilson Valuation LLC.

Mr. Bowen’s presentation involved a review of housing market study components and included an overview of NIFA’s market study guidelines. This presentation is available here and in the Research Center at www.bowennational.com.

Patrick Bowen Presents at the Virginia Housing Credit Conference

On Thursday, October 8, 2015, Patrick Bowen presented at the Virginia Housing Credit Conference, sponsored by the Virginia Housing Coalition and held at The Westin in Richmond, Virginia. Additional panelists included Jaynell Pittman-Shaw, Senior Allocation Officer with the Virginia Housing Development Authority, and Corine Sheridan, Vice President, Director of Origination with Boston Capital. The session was moderated by JD Bondurant, the Assistant Director of Low Income Housing Tax Credit Programs at the Virginia Housing Development Authority.

The title of the session was “Virginia’s Market: What’s Hot, What’s Not” and the purpose was to provide an understanding of where markets in Virginia have been and where they are going. Patrick Bowen provided attendees with an overview of the Tax Credit rental housing market in Virginia, as well as in 10 major cities throughout the state. Information presented included an overview of collected Tax Credit rents and vacancy rates of more than 100 LIHTC projects in the state. According to Mr. Bowen, “Based on our research, there aren’t any weak rental markets among the existing LIHTC supply and several markets have vacancy rates below 2.0%.”. Mr. Bowen added, “There are many low-income housing development opportunities in the state. It’s just a matter of finding the right project to fit the market’s needs.” This presentation is available here and in the Research Center at www.bowennational.com.

Patrick Bowen Presents Downtown Morgantown Retail Analysis

DTMorgantown

On Tuesday, June 30, 2015, Patrick Bowen presented findings from a Downtown Retail Feasibility Study, conducted for Main Street Morgantown in West Virginia. Below is an article written after this presentation.

Study: Parking, safety could be reasons for vacant retail space

Andrew Hesner

TheDPost.com

MORGANTOWN — A feasibility study on downtown Morgantown and the Wharf District shows that of the surveyed 374,586 square feet of retail space, more than 8 percent is vacant.

And although this is slightly lower than the regional and national averages, leasing rates for downtown retail space are “substantially lower than those reported at competitive shopping centers in Morgantown,” according to the study.

The study, presented by Patrick Bowen, owner and founder of Ohio-based Bowen National Research, on Tuesday night, June 30, to the Morgantown City Council Committee of the Whole (COW), attributes the low rates to parking, traffic and safety concerns from stakeholders, and many spaces being in poor condition.

A COW meeting is a non-voting, and discussion-based session with the council.

The more than 200-page report, solicited to Bowen by Main Street Morgantown, assesses current retail market conditions, shopping centers outside downtown and provides recommendations to fix retail problems.

Charlie McEwuen, of Main Street Morgantown, after hearing the presentation, gave the council an update as to what Main Street is doing.

“Bottom line is … according to a lot of the downtown merchants, safety is a very important factor right now, or the perception of safety.”

And although McEwuen said he feels comfortable and safe downtown, he has heard that many do not. And to address that issue, he suggested adding more lighting and addressing “probably the No. 1 topic for all downtown merchants … undesirables. … We have some homeless downtown, but most of the people that are causing concern for our customers, for a lack of better word, I’m going to call them bums — they are just people that hang out downtown and intimidate passersby.”

He recommended adding more police officers on the streets.

The study used demographic data for population, households, and employment came from ESRI, the 2000 and 2010 United States Census, Applied Geographic Solutions, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the American Community Survey, according to the report.

Downtown Housing Needs Assessment in Charleston, WV

In January of this year Bowen National Research were hired by the Charleston Area Alliance to conduct a Downtown Housing Needs Assessment in Charleston, West Virginia.  Patrick Bowen, the principal and author of the report, presented the report’s findings last Tuesday (April 21st) at the Charleston Area Alliance “Think Tank” event.  You can read more about the presentation via the link below of the article in the Charleston Gazette.

http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150421/GZ01/150429819/1419

In addition, Mr. Bowen’s presentation also made television on the local news channels WCHS and WSAZ in Charleston.  You can visit the link below to view the short video.

http://www.wchstv.com/news/features/eyewitness-news/stories/Study-Says-Charleston-Area-Needs-More-Housing-117941.shtml#.VT5H401uiUl

Regional Housing Needs Assessment for the City of Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville PresentationBowen National Research recently completed a regional housing needs assessment for the city of Asheville, North Carolina that included analyses of the city of Asheville and the four-county region of Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties.  The principal, Patrick Bowen, had the opportunity to present the study several times last week to groups of city officials around the Asheville area.

Bowen National Research is an Ohio-based real estate research firm that conducts a variety of real estate studies throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.  Notable studies recently completed by the firm include studies of Springfield (Illinois), Morgantown (West Virginia), Nederland (Colorado), Joplin (Missouri), Evansville (Indiana) and a statewide analysis of Vermont.  According to the firm’s President, Patrick Bowen, “Government entities understand the value of the comprehensive housing and retail studies our firm provides and the benefits they offer as a key element to their strategic planning and marketing efforts.  Plus, our clients benefit from our experience of evaluating growing and stagnant markets, small towns to entire states, and even studies focused on neighborhoods or downtowns.”

These types of large-scale reports are very beneficial for city, county and state governments, as well as the private sector, as they illustrate the current and future demographic, economic, and housing trends of the selected area.  These reports are valued as an essential planning tool for our clients and bring to light issues that may have never been discovered otherwise.  This particular report highlights on the overall issue that the city of Asheville is predicted to face: large demographic growth and lack of available housing.  To read more about the report please see the link below of the news article summarizing the study or contact Patrick Bowen at patrickb@bowennational.com or at 614-833-9300.  You can also visit our website for additional information at www.bowennational.com.

 http://mountainx.com/news/study-highlights-asheville-housing-challenges/

 

Ohio Statewide Tax Credit Rental Housing Data

OHCoverSince 2011, our firm has been conducting statewide rental housing surveys on Tax Credit properties for various states that we select. Thus far we have surveyed nine different states, which include Georgia (2013), Indiana (2012), Iowa (2012), Kentucky (2013), Ohio (2014 our most recent), Pennsylvania (2012), South Carolina (2012), Tennessee (2013),  and Virginia (2012).  These surveys are all conducted by telephone and include properties that only operate with Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (both 4% and 9%).   Some of these projects also operate with a project-based subsidy, such as Section 8 or Rural Development 515, and/or have market-rate units.  While these surveys do not include all Tax Credit rental housing projects, we aim to survey approximately 75% of the published Tax Credit rental housing alternatives in each state, which provides a good representation of the affordable Tax Credit rental housing market conditions in each state surveyed.

            We recently completed a statewide rental housing survey in the state of Ohio that included 815 rental projects comprising 57,072 Tax Credit units.  There were 1,146 vacant Tax Credit units, yielding an overall occupancy rate of 98.0%.  Note that our housing data is segmented between non-subsidized Tax Credit units and Tax Credit units that operate with a concurrent subsidy.  The occupancy rate among the non-subsidized Tax Credit units was 97.1%, while the occupancy rate among Tax Credit/Government-Subsidized units was 99.2%.  The statewide median collected rents for studio up to four-bedroom units range from $323 to $725.  We also derived the median collected rents on a county level as well as the occupancy rates.  To access the full Ohio statewide rental housing survey, including aggregate occupancy and rental data, overall demographic growth trends, low-income household growth trends, general economic data and more, please visit the Research Center on our website.  You can also see the full statewide reports of all nine states our firm has conducted.

            Although we are not hired to conduct these statewide rental housing surveys, we complete these reports for several reasons.  One of those reasons is for our internal use.  It makes our process more efficient when we have this data readily available in our database.  This improves our accuracy and turn around time for site-specific feasibility studies.  Secondly, it expands our coverage areas.  It ultimately adds to our expertise in these markets, specifically, the states we do a vast amount of work in.  Lastly, and most importantly, we can assist our current and future clients to identify markets that are performing well in terms of housing conditions and demographics, and what markets are lacking affordable housing.  With these statewide rental housing surveys we are able to see a quick summary of the entire state’s affordable rental housing market conditions including breakdowns by county levels.  This is valuable information to our clients as it gives great insight into that state’s affordable rental housing market.  Although it is not an in depth analysis, it is a good starting point for developers.