(To read more on the multifamily market, click here.)

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WASHINGTON, DC-An affiliate of Municipal Mortgage & EquityLLC called International Housing Solutions will be leveraging $100million in seed money provided by the locally based OverseasPrivate Investment Corp. to invest $300 million in affordablehousing in emerging markets over the next 10 years. Severalapplicants participated in the bidding to win the US governmentagency's funding commitment.

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OPIC, best known for providing financial support for overseasinfrastructure investment, then spent several months on duediligence before it made its final selection.

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IHS, which is a Luxembourg entity formed in fall 2005, has justopened a new office in Johannesburg, South Africa, a market thatwill be a key investment focus, according to IHS COO UrsulaPowidzki. Within a week it will close on its first transactionthere--a joint venture it has formed with a local firm to redevelopa group of properties into 143 units of affordable housing and 38units of retail space.

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Jordan will be another market in which IHS will invest, Powidzkitells GlobeSt.com. Elsewhere, "we are looking at other markets insouthern Africa, potentially Botswana, for instance. Likewise,there are markets in the Middle East at which we are looking."

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Affordable housing will be the common criteria, she says. "Wemay be investing in projects that are rental rehabilitations or innew construction of multifamily buildings. We also may be makinginvestments in companies that are tied to the housing value chain."The general go-to-market approach will be through a partnershipwith a local developer, such as the one in South Africa.

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IHS is a joint venture between MuniMae and affiliates of HowardEurocape Limited, a Dublin-based property investment anddevelopment company. This is the company's first emerging marketinitiative, Powidzki says.

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In 2006 MuniMae sponsored $1.2 billion of tax credit equityinvestments in affordable housing projects. That figure includes asingle fund with commitments from 14 institutional investors formore than $500 million--the largest tax credit equity affordablehousing fund ever syndicated in the US, according to thecompany.

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