New York, NY – February 2, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — New York State’s housing finance agencies, for the third year in a row, led the country in financing multifamily and single-family affordable housing in 2009.
According to rankings compiled by Thomson Reuters, the New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA) and the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) sold $1.22 billion in bonds in 2009 to finance the construction or renovation of affordable multifamily rental apartments and to purchase single-family mortgages for first-time homeowners. The bonds are not considered state debt, but rather revenue bonds of the agencies because the debt service is paid with the mortgage payments of multifamily project owners and individual homeowners.
“The success at HFA and SONYMA demonstrates my administration’s commitment to creating and preserving affordable housing even in these difficult economic times,” Governor David A. Paterson said. “The ingenuity of our housing finance agencies, combined with their strong credit rating, enabled us to continue producing housing for New Yorkers who need it.”
Judd S. Levy, Chairman of HFA and SONYMA, said, “Despite severe turbulence in the bond markets that left many states unable to borrow and finance housing, we were able to make the state’s housing bonds attractive to both retail and institutional investors. This track record reflects the extraordinary dedication and hard work of the staffs at both HFA and SONYMA.”
The financing enabled the state housing finance agencies known as “nyhomes” to achieve significant milestones in 2009:
• HFA financed the creation and preservation of 3,317 affordable rental housing units, including 1,586 units in Mitchell Lama projects where renovations were financed through HFA’s Mitchell Lama Rehabilitation & Preservation program.
• With the help of other state agencies, including the NYS Office of Mental Health, the NYS Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance and the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, HFA-financed projects included 445 units of supportive housing–the largest number of supportive housing units in one year in HFA’s 49-year history.
• Working with the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal, HFA leveraged $65 million in federal Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP) funds included in the Federal stimulus bill to help finance 10 affordable housing projects–eight of them upstate–that otherwise could not have been financed.
• SONYMA began several new programs aimed at promoting homeownership among first-time homebuyers, including the Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC), which enabled new homeowners to convert 20% of their mortgage interest deduction into a tax credit, and the Tax Credit Advance Loan (TCAL), which enables homeowners to receive a cash advance on their Federal homeowners tax credit.
• SONYMA’s Mortgage Insurance Fund, which provides project insurance for affordable multifamily rental developments, recorded the largest volume in its 35-year history, issuing $491 million in new project commitments for 7,836 affordable rental units.
• “nyhomes” inaugurated its Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) with $64.5 million in Federal and State funds that will be distributed to 29 communities across the state to help alleviate the impact of the foreclosure crisis.
The agencies’ 2009 results are the third consecutive year of significant increases in housing production by HFA, SONYMA and its affiliated agencies.
During the past three years, HFA has more than doubled the number of affordable housing units it has financed. The agency financed 10,848 affordable units from 2007 through 2009, compared to 5,224 units from 2004 through 2006.
HFA has also nearly tripled the number of affordable units renovated through its financings–reflecting the agency’s new emphasis on using its financial resources to protect tenants in existing affordable housing, particularly Mitchell Lama projects. The agency financed the preservation of 7,547 affordable rental units in the last three years, compared to 2,589 units preserved in the previous three years.
The Mortgage Insurance Fund also demonstrated a major increase in productivity. It has issued $1.15 billion in project commitments since 2006–a 104% increase over the previous three years. These commitments helped finance 19,309 affordable housing units from 2007 through 2009, an increase of 49% over the previous three years.
SONYMA mortgage activity decreased in 2009 compared to previous years, in large part due to the economic recession and the Federal Reserve’s effort to drive down interest rates for conventional rate mortgages. In response, the agency started new programs such as MCC and TCAL so the state would remain at the forefront of efforts to promote affordable homeownership for first-time homebuyers. In 2009, SONYMA purchased 1,136 mortgages worth $169 million in a year when many state housing finance agencies shut down or sharply reduced their mortgage business due to their inability to sell bonds in the credit markets.
In addition, SONYMA’s Mortgage Credit Certificate program helped finance another 1,201 mortgages totaling $220 million–more than double the original estimate for the program. Because the MCC program generated such a strong response, SONYMA in October decided to limit the program to homes purchased in Federal “target” areas, which are neighborhoods that are economically distressed.
For more information, go to the “nyhomes” web site at www.nyhomes.org.
The NYS Housing Finance Agency was created in 1960 to sell bonds to finance the construction and rehabilitation of multi-family affordable rental housing in New York State.
The State of New York Mortgage Agency was created in 1970 with the mission of helping low- and moderate-income families become homeowners. It offers a variety of low down payment mortgages that provide competitive fixed interest rates, as well as assistance with down payments through a network of participating lenders across the state.
Contact: Philip Lentz
Director of Communications
plentz (at) nyhomes (dot) org