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February 08. 2012 10:06PM

Study: Housing credits boost jobs

MANCHESTER — Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits supported hundreds of jobs in the state last year, with a first-year boost of about 433 jobs and $31.5 million invested, according to a report released by the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.

Prepared for New Hampshire Housing by the National Association of Home Builders, the study found the federal tax credits for multi-family and elderly housing give an immediate boost to the state's economy, as well as a smaller, but longer term increase in income, spending and jobs.

The study measured the impact of building 149 multi-family units and 53 senior units.

About $2.8 million in federal tax credits attracted about $22 million to $24 million in private equity investment, New Hampshire Housing said.

The tax-credit-funded projects, which are privately owned, are targeted at people with incomes up to about $36,000 on average statewide.

That's a higher income than most public housing allows, said Dean Christon, executive director, New Hampshire Housing.

Over the last decade, Manchester Housing and Redevelopment Authority has used the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to build new, or renovate low-income housing, partnering with private owners.

“It's an important program for producing low-income housing, that's for sure,” Dick Webster, MHRA's housing development manager, said.

Projects include the Mary Gale Apartments, 600 Maple St., the Brown School, on the West Side, and most recently the South Porter Apartments with 61 units for elderly and disabled, at 800 South Porter St.

In order to qualify, South Porter Apartments residents have to earn no more than 50 percent of the median income, which varies with household size. For a single person, 50 percent of median income would be $26,600.

“The millions of dollars invested in housing developments each year infuse vital dollars in the local and state economies as residents spend money on rent, goods and services,” Christon said.

“This investment in affordable housing for the state's workforce generates substantial economic activity for the Granite State.”

Recent housing projects funded with the federal housing tax credits include a senior project off South Willow Street in Manchester; Abingdon Square in Goffstown and Mallard Place in Hooksett.

The market for the federal tax credits is national and purchasers tend to be banks and insurance companies and sometimes corporate entities, Christon said.

“We do encourage local financial institutions to participate, but it's going to be again very variable year to year,” he said.

Over the long term, on a yearly basis, 149 units of family housing support 83 jobs, $1.5 million in state and local tax revenues, and $6.1 million in income, while 53 units of elderly housing support 27 jobs, $445,000 in state and local tax revenues and $2 million income, the report said.

Over the life of the program, it has logged 190 tax-credit projects consisting of 8,569 housing units.

“The Economic Impact of the Housing Tax Credit Program in New Hampshire— Income, Jobs and Taxes Generated,” as well as a basic primer on the housing tax credit program, is available on New Hampshire Housing's website at www.nhhfa.org.



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