Dickinson Project Awarded Redevelopment Assistance

HIF Invest in Your CommunityBISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency recently awarded $315,000 through the state’s Housing Incentive Fund to Mountain Plains Equity Group and Affordable Housing Developers Inc. The assistance provided supports the acquisition and rehabilitation of Dacotah Ridge Apartments, a 24-unit rental property in Dickinson, ND, that is occupied primarily by elderly and disabled households.

“Preserving affordable housing options for those who need it most is one of our highest priorities with the Housing Incentive Fund,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. “We are pleased that this valuable housing resource will continue to serve North Dakota for years to come.”

Last November, NDHFA awarded $321,000 in federal tax credit authority to Dacotah Ridge through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. The equity created through the sale of the credits is the project’s primary funding source. The HIF funds will supplement a financial gap caused by an unexpected decrease in LIHTC credit value before the equity was able to be provided to the project.

“One of the greatest values of the Housing Incentive Fund is the program’s ability to close gaps in the financing of affordable rental housing,” said Kline.

Since HIF’s 2011 inception, almost $89 million has been allocated to 79 projects, leveraging more than $427 million in construction financing to support the development or rehabilitation of more than 2,500 housing units statewide. During the most recent funding round, NDHFA received five applications for the $1.2 million in HIF assistance that was available due to the cancellation of previous commitments.

NDHFA is a public financial institution dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans. The Industrial Commission of North Dakota, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum, as the chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees the state agency.

From the Director, April 2017

Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director

The time we are in right now requires difficult decisions and I don’t envy our legislators one bit on the work they had to accomplish over the past four months.

The Legislative Session is over and now we will continue our work to help all North Dakotans have an affordable place to call home. While we had a few issues pop up, this was a relatively quiet session for NDHFA.

We are a special fund agency that doesn’t affect the state’s general fund, but we too were asked to help find efficiencies. We trimmed our budget where we could, but also faced the prospect of not having the flexibility needed to respond to the homeownership needs of the state when two of our staff positions were cut. Thanks to the work of our advocates and legislative champions, those positions were restored and we feel confident that, as our mortgage portfolio grows, we will be able to provide the superior customer service our partners and homeowners expect.

With the Housing Incentive Fund, we have both good news and bad news. The good news is that the expiration date of the program was removed so now we don’t have to come back for reauthorization every legislative session. Also the projects that still are under development won’t lose their funds if they can’t draw them by the end of the biennium.

Unfortunately though, the Legislature didn’t have the funds available to supply anything new for HIF. I know this comes as a disappointment because of the affordable housing challenges our communities continue to face, but we can be heartened that HIF is still in our tool box and we certainly hope that it can be used again in the future to help our communities grow and prosper.

I want to express my deep appreciation to all of our partners who helped talk about NDHFA and the work we do during the Legislative Session. I know there were many who called or wrote their local legislators and several of the industry organizations were diligent in reaching out on our behalf. I hope that illustrates that we aren’t creating top-down government, but instead NDHFA is a partner to our communities big and small across North Dakota.

What’s Right for You?

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FirstHome program user Teresa Sayler (right) relied heavily on Gena Syvertson (left) of REMAX Legacy Realty to find the right home and negotiate the terms of the sale.

While many young adults wait until they are married or involved in a long-term relationship before pursuing homeownership, Teresa Sayler knew having her own home was what she wanted.

Sayler moved to Fargo, ND, for college and stayed on after graduation. She lived in apartments for a dozen years, a situation that to her always felt temporary. At 30 years of age, Sayler was ready to be grounded.

Turns out while buying on her own was a little nerve racking, “I had to remind myself to take things one step at a time,” Sayler isn’t alone in following that path. After married couples, the National Association of Realtors ranks single women, age 18 to 34, as the second largest home buying group in the United States making up 15 percent or more of the market each year.

“Single females often are heading out of their own at an earlier age to establish their households,” says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s managing director of survey research and communications. Men purchase on their own half as often.

Taking full advantage of available resources helped Sayler ease her solo purchase anxiety. In addition to taking a homebuyer education class, she talked to a financial advisor and took a class focused on budgeting, paying down debt and building savings. Sayler also visited with family and friends to learn about their experiences. When she was confident that she was really ready, Sayler sat down with a lender.

Clayton Lilleby of First Community Credit Union pre-qualified Sayler for North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s FirstHome™ program and referred her to the person she relied on heavily to find the right home and negotiate the terms of the sale, Gena Syvertson of REMAX Legacy Realty.

A real estate agent for more than a dozen years, Syvertson has a soft spot for first-time buyers. She enjoys educating them, stepping them through the purchase process, and making sure they understand the terms being used. She reminds them to ask questions too so they are comfortable with the decisions they are making.

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While Teresa Sayler isn’t afraid of taking on home improvement projects, her real estate agent encouraged her to have a home inspection and include an inspection clause in the purchase agreement so if major repairs were needed, they could be addressed before closing. Doing so gave Sayler peace of mind that her new home would be structurally sound.

“Before looking at any homes,” said Syvertson, “Teresa and I sat down and we talked about home features she really needed versus things she might want to have and what the tradeoffs might be.”

Initially, Sayler wasn’t interested in a twin home, but she knew she wanted an attached garage to better endure North Dakota’s cold winters. A large outdoor space was another priority, so she could have a garden, more privacy, and have friends over to sit around a firepit on summer evenings.

Helping Sayler narrow down her list of must-haves and understand the improvements that could be made after a home was hers really helped. “I only physically looked at about four or five homes before I found one that I made an offer on,” Sayler said.

While Sayler wasn’t afraid of taking on some projects, Syvertson encouraged her to have a home inspection and include an inspection clause in the purchase agreement so if major repairs were needed, they could be addressed before closing. Doing so gave Sayler peace of mind that her new home would be structurally sound.

While Sayler now takes pride in being a homeowner, she’s only talked to a few friends about buying. When the subject comes up, she doesn’t immediately push them into homeownership.

“If they think it’s what they want, I encourage them to educate themselves, to talk to a real estate agent and make sure their finances are in order. Don’t buy a home just because everyone else is. Forget about everything you see on Pinterest, and what your family and friends are saying and doing, is it right for you?”

Housing Finance Agency Hires Schaf

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency recently hired Deanna Schaf of Bismarck, ND.

Deanna1Schaf joined the agency as an administrative assistant. In this position, she provides customer service at the agency’s front desk, and is responsible for processing loan payments and responding to general inquires.

“We are pleased to welcome Deanna to NDHFA. I believe she will be a great asset to our administrative team,” said Jolene Kline, the agency’s executive director.

Schaf replaces Kristi Seilinger, who transferred to the agency’s Homeownership Division.

NDHFA is a public financial institution dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans. The Industrial Commission of North Dakota, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum, as the chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees the state agency.

Affordable, Family-Friendly Mandan Townhomes Complete

RibbonMANDAN, ND – Affordable Housing Developers Inc. celebrated the completion of Trails West Townhomes today. The family-friendly development brings a dozen units of affordable rental housing to north Mandan.

“We are very excited to showcase Trails West,” said Andrea Diede, executive director of AHDI, developer and owner of the townhomes. “Interest in the property has been strong and with warmer weather upon us, we anticipate many applications will be coming in over the next couple of weeks.”

To rent one of the townhomes, households must be income qualified. Nine of the units are reserved for tenants earning 80 percent or less than Area Median Income. These two-bedroom units rent for $777 and the three-bedroom units rent for $888.

The three remaining townhomes are reserved for extremely low-income tenants, at or below 30 percent of AMI. A four-person household earning $26,500 or less would be able to rent one of these units for $470.

PartnerSignThe $2.65 million project received support from state and federal government programs to guarantee the affordability. The North Dakota Department of Commerce provided $985,000 through the HOME program and North Dakota Housing Finance Agency allocated $762,000 from the Housing Incentive Fund. AHDI owned the land on which the townhomes were constructed. The balance of the project was financed US Bank.

“The three-bedroom townhomes, in particular, are a welcome addition to the community. Our greatest rental need in Morton County is affordable housing for larger families,” said Rick Horn, executive director of the Morton County Housing Authority.

Located at 4530 30th Ave NW, ten of the Trails West Townhomes are three-bedroom units with one and one-half baths and tuck-under garages. The single-story, end units with attached garages are two-bedroom, one-bath that meet HUD Section 504 accessibility requirements. All of the townhomes are furnished with soft-closing cabinets, kitchen pantries, appliances including dishwashers and in-unit washers/dryers, window coverings, air conditioning and patios.

FrontThe property is within walking distance of Mandan’s newest elementary school, Red Trail. A retail/grocery shopping center, medical services, churches, parks, municipal services and public transportation are all available in the area.

HJL Management Company is the property manager, (701) 663-7494.

A Community Housing Development Organization based in Dickinson, ND, AHDI’s focus is on upgrading or creating rental units in Western North Dakota for elderly and low- to moderate-income individuals and families.

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Public Hearings Held for Housing Development Programs

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency will hold Public Hearings for the 2018 Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program Qualified Allocation Plan and the 2017 National Housing Trust Fund Allocation Plan on April 27, 2017.

18QAP&17HTFGraphicThe LIHTC hearing will begin at 10 a.m. and the HTF hearing at 11 a.m. Both hearings will be held in the Board Room at NDHFA’s office, 2624 Vermont Ave., Bismarck, ND.

The LIHTC program provides incentives for the production and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing. The HTF program supports the development and preservation of affordable rental housing for extremely low-income households, including homeless individuals and families. The proposed plans are available online.

The general public may submit either written or oral comments at the hearings. Persons who are unable to attend the hearings may submit written comments to hfainfo@nd.gov or NDHFA, PO Box 1535, Bismarck, ND 58502-1535, by 10 a.m. on April 27, 2017.

Persons needing accommodation or assistance to attend the hearing should call (800) 292-8621 or (800) 366-6888 (TTY), or email hfainfo@nd.gov.

NDHFA is a self-supporting state agency dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans. The Industrial Commission of North Dakota, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees the agency.

From the Director, February 2017

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Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director

Thank you to everyone who was able to make it to the Statewide Housing Conference earlier this month! It was an informational and inspiring event, and I hope the attendees walked away with at least one more tool to do their jobs or live their lives to the greatest extent. I enjoyed getting to visit with many of you and that’s really my favorite part of the conference every year. I learn from each of you and truly value your friendship and partnership.

If you weren’t able to attend, I want to invite you to consider it again next year and help us to make the conference a valuable experience for everyone. We are always looking for input on what sessions and speakers would be of interest to you or any other feedback that would make the conference better. It is your conference and we truly want to know your opinion.

We are now at half-time of the legislative session and are gearing up for quick action on housing issues. Our agency’s budget bill, as approved by the Senate, also includes reauthorization of the Housing Incentive Fund with $5 million in tax credits to capitalize it, as well as the creation of a new homeownership loan fund for essential service workers. There is $500,000 in tax credit authority to capitalize that fund. The hearing for that bill is scheduled for first thing after the cross-over break – 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 1.

This legislative session has been chalk full of tough decisions for lawmakers. With reduced revenues, they haven’t had the luxury to fund everything they want. We feel extremely fortunate that the Senate saw the value of these housing programs, but we still have another half to go and I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch.

We will continue to monitor and provide the background information legislators need to make the best decisions on housing issues. If you want to follow the legislative process, you can do that by visiting the Legislative Assembly website.

Again, thank you to those who attended the conference and congratulations to our Champions of Affordable Housing! I look forward to seeing you all again next year…if not much sooner.