Costs are a major challenge in the affordable housing market segment. The requirement to keep costs down requires multiple funding sources, which lead to fragmented and complex deals that are often too challenging to develop. A new report sponsored by Capital One from the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California Berkeley highlights the fragmented nature of affordable housing and calls for more streamlined alternatives.

Part of the reason for greater funding complexity is that it has gotten more expensive to build housing, and LIHTC affordable financing is not immune to this, Desiree Francis, head of community finance at Capital One, tells "The number of stacked financing sources needed has risen in tandem with the rapid increase in building costs. These increases are not unique to affordable housing production: the Terner Center's research found that hard construction costs have driven up costs for both affordable and market-rate developments."

However, layering financing sources to pursue a deal actually drives up costs, making affordable projects even more out of reach. "In addition to mismatched allocation cycles, individual requirements for funding sources varies, which lengthens the development timeline and contributes to costs increases," says Francis. "Many developers that the researchers spoke to for the report pointed to the lack of alignment of deadlines among key funding sources as a key contributor to longer timelines and associated cost increases."

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.