Housing Credit preserved, but bill still a net loss for housing affordability
WASHINGTON– Today’s conference report on the tax bill, expected to pass Congress next week, makes sweeping changes to the tax code and has potentially negative consequences for people in America seeking access to affordable homes in thriving communities, especially households of low-income. Congress’ choice to preserve the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and private activity bond financing recognizes that affordable housing is vital to communities nationwide, but the unintended discouragement for investors in affordable housing properties and reduced support for homeownership is a net loss.
“Keeping the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and private activity bonds in the tax code was the right choice, but the unintended negative consequences of the tax bill for rental and homeownership opportunities need quick action by Congress,” observed Ethan Handelman, Acting CEO of the National Housing Conference. “The next agenda item needs to be the bipartisan technical corrections bill that so often follows sweeping legislation.”
Congress should immediately begin work on the technical fixes necessary to resolve the unintended consequences for people and communities in need of affordable housing. Ensuring that the Low Income Housing Tax Credit can go as far as possible to create and preserve rental housing, expanding the total amount of tax credit authority, and maintaining a strong base of investors willing to provide up front capital for affordable rental housing are all needed steps. Most of these steps have already been detailed in the Cantwell-Hatch Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S 548, companion bill H.R. 1661).