MassHousing Update, April 2019
Lending Update: MassHousing on Record Pace
As of the end of Q3 of Fiscal Year 2019 (March 31), MassHousing had closed more than $1.3 billion in financing to support affordable homeownership and rental housing opportunities for 7,681 Massachusetts households. The FY 2019 lending total already ranks as the fifth highest in Agency history.

MassHousing has closed $667.3 million in mortgage loans to help 3,867 homeowners buy or repair a home. Lending was driven by MassHousing’s Down Payment Assistance program, which contributed to nearly half of all first mortgage loans. Another 179 loans for $38 million were made possible by MassHousing's Mortgage Insurance Fund. 

Multifamily lending remained strong as well. A total of 24 developments received $607.8 million in financing to support the creation or preservation of mixed-income rental housing across the Commonwealth. Four developments with 332 units are new construction, and 20 transactions extended affordability restrictions and supported physical improvements to the properties. A number of transactions have been approved by MassHousing and are expected to close before the end of the fiscal year, on June 30. 
Resiliency Forum, May 10
National and local leaders in resiliency and affordable multifamily development will discuss their strategies for climate resiliency on Friday, May 10 in Boston. 
MassHousing and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation are hosting Are We Ready? A Forum on Climate-Ready Buildings and Community Resilience in Affordable Housing

Experts will discuss how they are preparing buildings and communities for extreme weather events, sea level rise, power outages and other climate change related disasters. In addition, attendees will learn how we can collectively plan for and implement building improvements and emergency management systems that ensure safer, healthy and affordable homes for all.

Learn more about the forum and the panelists. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by Friday, May 3.
Conference to Explore Strategies to Support Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, June 4
Registration is now open for MassHousing’s 2019 Community Services Conference, Supporting Those Affected by Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in Housing, which will be held Tuesday, June 4 in Norwood.

Each year, MassHousing brings together experts from housing, social services, academia and other areas to explore a topic facing affordable housing communities. Conferences include keynote addresses, panel discussions and breakout sessions that inform attendees and equip them with strategies to better serve their communities.

The conference is open to all and free for staff of TAP member sites. Learn more and register today!
Trade Fair will Connect Diverse Businesses with Opportunity, June 6
MassHousing’s 29th Annual Greater Boston Trade Fair will be held Thursday, June 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Randolph. 

MassHousing Trade Fairs give minority-, women-, veteran-, LGBTQ- and other diverse businesses an opportunity to showcase their goods and services to property management companies, general contractors, government procurement officials and others in attendance. 

This year’s Trade Fair will also include a ‘matchmaking’ portion where exhibiting diverse businesses will be paired for one-on-one meetings with organizations in need of their particular services. The Trade Fair is completely underwritten by MassHousing. Register today.
Chrystal Kornegay to Participate in Upcoming Affordable Housing Forums
MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay will be among the panelists at a pair of upcoming events on the region’s affordable housing challenges: 

Getting to the Point: The Path to Affordable Housing in Massachusetts, May 7
State and local leaders will discuss the impact housing affordability has on diverse communities, quality of life and economic growth at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate. Learn more and register here

The Greater Boston Housing Dilemma: Who Has Skin in the Game, May 16
Part of the Suffolk University Moakley Center for Public Management Breakfast Series. 
3 Questions with Mounzer Aylouche, VP of HomeOwnership Programs
Q: What’s driving MassHousing’s HomeOwnership Lending?
A: There is no doubt that Down Payment Assistance (DPA) is the main driver for our lending in today’s market. DPA has helped 1,319 families since its inception in 2018; 46% of those families purchased homes in Gateway Cites. In addition to DPA, our low-cost MI Plus mortgage insurance program, which includes unemployment benefits, has proven to be very effective and valuable for borrowers. It is only available through MassHousing.

Q: What are the biggest challenges homebuyers face in today’s market? 
A: The shortage of affordable homes on the market has to be the biggest challenge for low- and moderate-income homebuyers. While the drop in interest rates is positive for affordability, the steady increase in home prices limits what and where a consumer can buy. We are seeing more purchase volume in southeast, central and western Massachusetts, indicating that affordability still exists in those markets in relationship to eastern Massachusetts. Another challenge is the amount of student loan debt among borrowers. Potential homeowners with good jobs and good credit are unable to obtain affordable mortgages due to the high level of student debt. We are working hard to find a solution to this problem.

Q: What don’t people know about MassHousing’s HomeOwnership Division that they should? 
A: MassHousing’s HomeOwnership Division is unique in what it offers and how it works. Not only do we provide mortgage financing, but we also operate a public mortgage insurance company—the Mortgage Insurance Fund—and we service all of the MassHousing loans made by our lenders right here in Boston. Nowhere else in the mortgage industry will you find a single entity that does each of those functions under one roof.
3 Questions for Mark Teden, VP of Multifamily Programs
Q: What trends do you see based on the lending applications coming in to MassHousing? 

A: We see a large increase in the number of mixed income projects as the need for housing and the number of projects under development is far greater than the amounts that can be financed with the volume of tax-exempt debt we can issue.

Q: MassHousing’s rental lending volume has been rising the last several years. Why? 

A: The development of the HUD MAP (Multifamily Accelerated Processing) platform has given us access to the benefits Ginnie Mae securitization, which allows us to offer very competitive loan terms to projects that qualify. In addition, because of MassHousing’s longstanding Risk Share relationship with HUD, we were able to take advantage of a very competitive program through the Federal Financing Bank, which is an arm of the U.S. Treasury.

Q: MassHousing oversees properties in its own lending portfolio, but also hundreds of other properties for HUD. What’s something you’d like people to know about the work MassHousing does for HUD?

A: MassHousing receives and resolves over 300 tenant complaints annually for HUD. In addition, the properties we oversee for HUD have access to and the benefit of our Community Services TAP program and all its related activities.
Construction Updates
Construction is underway to create and improve a number of affordable multifamily communities that have received MassHousing financing.
98 Essex Street, Haverhill
Affordable Housing and Services Collaborative and Peabody Properties are using $1.6 million in MassHousing financing to help convert a vacant, historic former shoe manufacturing building into 62 new apartments.
AO Flats, Boston (Jamaica Plain)
MassHousing provided $19.2 million in financing to help The Community Builders develop the new 78-unit, mixed-income, mixed-use transit oriented development.
Brighton Marine, Boston (Brighton)
$28.4 million in MassHousing financing is helping WinnCompanies create 101 units of mixed-income housing adjacent to the Brighton Marine Health Center , in close proximity to train stops and highways.
Close Building, Cambridge
Just-a-Start Corp . is using $17.6 million in MassHousing financing to renovate and extend affordability at The Close Building, a 61-unit affordable rental community in Cambridge. A former factory built in 1910, the building was converted to affordable housing in 1976.
Melnea Cass Apartments, Boston (Roxbury)
MassHousing provided Madison Park Development Corporation $22.9 in financing to create the new 76-unit Melnea Cass Apartments, which is part of the larger Whittier Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. Overall, the Agency has committed $53.5 million for the initial phase of the redevelopment of the Boston Housing Authority’s Whittier Street Apartments by Madison Park DC and Preservation of Affordable Housing