Financial Regulation News: Measure eyes affordable homeownership, community revitalization

U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Brian Higgins (D-NY) have joined four colleagues to introduce legislation they indicated would spur affordable homeownership opportunities and community revitalization.

Specifically, the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (H.R. 3940) establishes a new tax incentive producing 500,000 starter homes in under-resourced communities over the next 10 years.

U.S. Reps. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Randy Feenstra (R-IA), and Dwight Evans (D-PA) joined as legislation co-sponsors.

“For too long, the cost of rehabilitating a home has been more expensive than simply starting from scratch. Now, the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act will allow homeowners and developers to more affordably restore beautiful homes and create more affordable housing in communities that need it the most,” Kelly said. “This legislation creates stronger homes, stronger families and stronger neighborhoods.”

Bill provisions include tax credits awarded to project sponsors via statewide competitions administered by state housing finance agencies; sponsors that include developers, lenders, or local governments using credits to raise capital for their projects with investors claiming the credits against their federal income taxes; and credits only being claimed for homes developed or rehabilitated in eligible low-income communities and after the homes are sold and occupied by lower or middle-income families.

“The United States is experiencing an affordable housing crisis and my community of Western New York is not immune,” Higgins said. “Older communities like Buffalo and Niagara Falls have aging homes with good bones, but the high cost to rehab these properties, compared to their value, causes them to fall into disrepair.”

Higgins said the bill closes the value gap neighborhoods face with a tax credit encouraging investments in single family homes, leading to community revitalization.