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COLUMBIA-Enterprise Community Partners is putting the final touches on the plans it has for the year to purchase Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The affordable housing developer and finance provider typically launches several funds through which it will purchase these credits. This year it is planning on three major initiatives besides one off transactions with single source funds, Kari R. Fitzpatrick, vice president of investment management in Enterprise Community Investment’s Capital Markets Group, tells GlobeSt.com. All together Enterprise expects it will purchase roughly $450 million in tax credits, which is less than the approximate $650 million it purchased in 2008. The economy and credit market, of course, is the reason for the drop, Fitzpatrick says.

Green building is a large emphasis this year. While Enterprise has traditionally encouraged sustainable development in its activities, this year it has launched its first green only development fund–the $40-million Enterprise California Green Communities Fund, aimed at creating 500 energy efficient, affordable homes in Los Angeles, Oakland, and metropolitan San Francisco. The fund is already closed and the projects identified.

Next, Enterprise will launch a Western region fund to target Oregon, Washington, California and Colorado. “We are currently raising money for that fund,” Fitzpatrick says. “We expect to close it at the end of Q2 or beginning of Q3.” That fund as well will be dedicated to green housing; Enterprise expects to buy $80 million of LIHTCs through it.

Also in Q2 the firm will launch Enterprise Housing Partners 19–a $125-million to $150-million national fund that will cover California, New York, the Mid Atlantic, and parts of the Southeast, she says. This should close in Q3.

Currently the market for LIHTCs is stagnant. Two of its largest players, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have all but ceased purchases. Also many banks that used to purchase these credits don’t need to because they have realized no or little profits, Fitzpatrick says. However she is hopeful that favorable provisions in the stimulus act will entice new investors to the space.

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