HUD Report Shows Continued Need and Success of LIHTC Program
HUD recently released “Understanding Whom the LIHTC Program Serves: Data on Tenants in LIHTC Units as of December 31, 2015,” a report that analyzes LIHTC household data collected as a result of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) passed in 2008.
HERA, among other things, requires each housing finance agency (HFA) that administers the LIHTC to submit certain demographic and economic information on tenants in LIHTC units. HUD collects information about race, ethnicity, family composition, age, income, use of rental assistance, disability status, and monthly rental payments. This report represents the fourth public release of information under the HERA mandate. The information presented within the report was received by HUD in the fall of 2016 and includes tenants in LIHTC units as of Dec. 31, 2015.
The data shows that demand for LIHTC units has consistently remained high. As was the case in 2014, the reported 2015 vacancy rate was approximately 4 percent. With the 5 percent vacancy rate in 2013, the reports confirm consistently low vacancy rates, strong property performance, and high demand for LIHTC housing.
The data also shows that the majority of tenants in the LIHTC program are still extremely low-income (ELI) households, those making 30 percent or less of the area median income (AMI). Though their share of all LIHTC tenants decreased in 2015, ELI tenants still accounted for a large share of the tenants served. The percentage of tenants earning between 30 and 40 percent of AMI remained unchanged in 2015 at 18.2 percent. The other categories, tenants earning from 40 percent of AMI and up, all increased in 2015. The increases in households earning more than 30 percent of AMI in 2015 can be explained by the fact that tenants are permitted to remain in LIHTC homes even as their incomes increase over time and exceed the maximum qualifying limits at move-in. Allowing tenants to remain in-place, even as their incomes increase, provides a sense of security and steadiness that comes from having affordable housing. And consequent effects from stable housing, such as improved job and health prospects, are some of the LIHTC program’s additional benefits.
With regard to race and ethnicity, the data showed the number of Caucasian LIHTC tenants has decreased from 22.9 percent in 2013 to 21.2 percent in 2015. The number of African-American tenants also decreased in 2015, after posting an increase in 2014 over the 2013 figure (22.7 percent). Hispanic tenants of any race increased 2.1 percentage points to 11.4 percent in 2015. The percentage of Asian tenants increased 0.5 percentage points in 2015 to 2.5 percent. Tenants reporting “Other” (including multiple race) decreased to 1.2 percent in 2015 from 1.4 percent in 2014. American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander remained unchanged from 2013 to 2015 at 0.7 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.
Finally, the report found that the number of households containing persons with disabilities remained unchanged. In 2015, there was no change in the percentage of households providing disability information. The 2015 and 2014 numbers represented an increase over 2013, when the percentage was 78 percent. There was also no change in the percentage of households that reported at least one disabled member. In 2013, the figure was 8.3 percent, 1.2 points lower than the 9.5 percent reported in 2014 and 2015.