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.

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.

How Tribal Housing Authorities Can Improve Telling the Story of Housing Needs

As part of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, applicants for Tax Credits are required to submit a variety of documents and reports to their state housing finance agency as part of the application process.  One element of the application process is a market feasibility study.  Market feasibility studies are reports that include such things as demographic, economic and housing data for a particular market.  These reports are typically conducted by qualified market analysts, who often must be approved to conduct such studies within the respective state.  While market studies include a variety of data from secondary sources such as the U.S. Census bureau, this secondary data often under reports pertinent data in rural markets, particularly in Indian Country.  Evidence of such under reporting on tribal reservations includes markets in which the tribal housing authority operates more rental units on the reservation than the number of renter-occupied housing units reported in the U.S. Census for the same reservation.  As a result, such under reporting often underestimates the actual number of households that suffer from such things as rent burden or over crowded housing situations.  This becomes important when state housing finance agencies assess data presented by the tribal housing authority or the market analyst who prepared a market feasibility study for the tribe.


However, tribes and tribal housing authorities can compensate for the shortcomings in secondary data sources by collecting, maintaining and sharing such data.  For example, many tribal housing authorities maintain wait lists for the next available housing units under the housing authority’s jurisdiction.  Often these lists vary in the level of details they contain and the frequency they are updated.  Because secondary data often fails to accurately account for the true depth of housing problems in Indian Country, detailed and current housing authority wait lists may often be the most compelling evidence a tribal housing authority has to make its case that there truly is a need for additional affordable housing on a particular reservation.


As tribal housing authorities move forward with the planning of their next affordable housing project, a component to that plan should be the collection of detailed wait list information for available housing.  Information regarding household sizes (number of residents in a unit), age of head of household and household income levels of those on the wait list are just some of the items that could become critical in presenting the case for the need for affordable housing.  For more information on housing needs and tribal housing related matters, please contact Patrick Bowen at Bowen National Research at or 614-833-9300.