Top 4 Trends in Affordable Housing for 2022
February 15, 2022
At a glance
- The main takeaway: Legislative changes, supply chain challenges, diversity and LIHTC compliance are among the key topics that will define affordable housing conversations in 2022.
- Impact on your business: Developers can gain competitive leverage by staying abreast of trends and prioritizing transformative changes to achieve their goals, whether it’s preparing for a new construction project, an impending sale or an exit.
- Next steps: Contact Aprio’s Affordable Housing team for help with capitalizing on these trends and using them to gain competitive leverage in your business, as you set your strategic goals for the new year.
The full story
Affordable housing has already endured several major shifts since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Case in point: in order to respond to the growing number of cases, many developers have shifted to virtual property tours, a convenient service that is expected to continue even after the pandemic has dissipated.
Even beyond advances and the application of new technology, the affordable housing sector is on the brink of evolution — and developers should be prepared to adapt. Here are four trends we are watching as we move through 2022.
1. Prepare for the potential Build Back Better Act
Though the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) is currently on hold, it contains some history-making provisions for affordable housing. The BBBA includes $156 billion devoted toward housing and community development initiatives and $65 billion for public housing specifically, which would be a game-changer for helping developers address capital improvements.
The version of the BBBA that passed the House included, among other provisions:
- $24 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers, which is the federal government’s program for expanding affordable and safe housing to low-income buyers in the private market.
- $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund, which is dedicated to creating and preserving more than 150,000 affordable homes for households with the lowest incomes, in addition to providing first-generation home buyers with $10 billion in down payment support.
- $11.72 billion in provisions related to low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs).
- $10 billion for the HOME Investment Partnership Program, which currently is the federal government’s largest block grant for state and local governments to create affordable housing.
- $3 billion for community development block grants.
- $750 million for the Housing Investment Fund.
Although the future of the bill is up in the air, that doesn’t mean you should hold off on preparing for an influx of capital. Stay tuned for future communications from Aprio’s Affordable Housing team regarding the status of the bill and other legislative updates that could affect developers this year.
2. Evaluate the impact of strained supply chains on new construction
In 2021, the affordable housing industry was one of the many affected by stagnant supply chains and unfortunately those challenges are expected to persist in 2022, presenting challenges for developers looking to start new construction projects.
What’s more, lumber prices are proving to be a problem once again. In fact, prices have doubled from November to January, soaring above the $1,000 per thousand board feet mark. Though we have little control over market volatility, we recommend developers evaluate both the cost and projected time frame of all new construction projects and compare those figures to the capital you currently have on-hand. In addition, assess the pros and cons of prepaying for certain materials, and weigh the potential of locking in today’s prices against the risk of storing materials over the longer term.
You can also enlist the help of Aprio’s professionals to navigate the risk mitigation process and make the right, cost-effective decisions for your business before you start new development projects.
3. Prioritize diversity and inclusion
Aside from changes related to the pandemic and legislative initiatives, the affordable housing industry is also seeing a major shift in talent. Development companies are seeing turnover in their executive and leadership teams, especially since the advent of LIHTC — and with changes in leadership has come a push for more diverse talent to take the reins.
In fact, many states’ Qualified Allocation Plans (QAPs) are offering points on LIHTC applications for women- and minority-owned businesses, thereby improving the chances for those companies’ applications to be accepted. As members of the affordable housing community, Aprio is helping contribute to this talent push — we are proud to have a team that is comprised of 75% women, including three female partners. If you need some guidance when crafting your D&I strategy to foster a more diverse leadership team, Aprio stands ready to help you.
4. Determine future plans for expiring LIHTC properties
Over the past few years, many properties financed through LIHTCs have reached the end of their compliance periods and have become eligible to leave the program. If one of your properties falls within this group, it’s time to pause and evaluate your next steps.
What is your exit strategy? Do you plan to sell or rehab your property? Have you reached the end of the 15-year compliance window and want to start the qualified contract (QC) process? Aprio’s team can help you develop a QC calculation, in addition to helping you craft a strategy for navigating your next steps.
The bottom line
Though there is no crystal ball to predict what the future holds, proactive preparation is your best defense against uncertainty and can provide you with a solid path forward, no matter what comes your way in 2022. Aprio’s Affordable Housing specialists have the industry knowledge and perspective you need to move forward with confidence.
Schedule a consultation with us today.
 Harrison Kral, “Why Lumber Prices Are Soaring Again in 2022,” Family Handyman, January 31, 2022, https://www.familyhandyman.com/article/why-lumber-prices-are-soaring-again-in-2022/, accessed February 2022.
About the Author
Alison specializes in the audit requirements of the construction and real estate industries, with deep experience in commercial real estate, multifamily housing and affordable housing. She works extensively with corporations, S-corporations and partnerships in the real estate space.