CohnReznick Analyzes Operating Expenses For Affordable Housing Tax Credit Properties in Every State

9/28/16

CohnReznick LLP, one of the nation’s top accounting, tax and advisory firms, coincided the release of The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit at Year 30: An Operating Expense Analysis, its fifth survey of properties benefiting from the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, with the 30th anniversary of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. It is the first report that CohnReznick has issued that measures the performance of properties financed with LIHTCs in terms of operating expenses for affordable housing tax credit properties across the United States.  

The report, which is being released during CohnReznick’s 2016 Annual Fall Affordable Housing Conference in Philadelphia on September 20-21, 2016, offers a per unit per annum (PUPA) analysis of gross annual operating expenses for every state in the country, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These operating expenses are segmented by administrative costs, salary expenses, repair and maintenance expenses, management fees, insurance and utility costs, and property taxes. The state by state summaries in the report also include a comparison to the national average for each expense category.

A synopsis of the report, as well as instructions for downloading the full report, is available in a special section of the CohnReznick website. This section also offers a color-coded interactive map that provides key operating expense metrics for each of the contiguous 48 United States. Click on any state in the map for an overview of these expenses.

“A comprehensive operating expense study of this size and scope could never have happened without the tremendous support of the tax credit syndicator and investor communities,” notes Fred Copeman, Principal, Tax Credit Investment Services. “Because operators use a variety of different methods to categorize expenses, understanding and segregating data into comparable categories turned out to be a significant undertaking. Once complete, we were pleased to have received viable operating expense data for more than 15,000 stabilized housing tax credit properties.”

According to the report, the total operating expenses for 2014 (not including replacement reserve contributions) across the surveyed portfolio were $5,336 PUPA on a national median basis.

Among the report’s key findings:

·      Statewide median operating expenses ranged widely, from as low as $3,634 PUPA in Alabama to as high as $8,453 PUPA in Massachusetts. In fact, Massachusetts reported the highest operating expenses in 2014 among all 50 states.

·      New England states generally ranked as the most expensive to operate a housing tax credit property, followed by Washington, D.C., and New York. In addition to a high cost of living expense, these states’ portfolios had a larger share of rehabilitations vs. new construction properties, a concentration of older buildings, and some severe winter weather conditions to contend with.

·      Salary, repairs & maintenance, and utilities constituted the majority of gross expenses. The remaining categories each represented less than 10% of total expenses. Factors influencing each expense category are reviewed in detail in the study.

·      Historic rehabilitation projects cost 24% more to operate on a median basis.

·      New construction properties reported median operating expenses that were approximately 10% less than the overall median.

Methodology

CohnReznick requested the participation of every active housing tax credit syndicator and some of the nation’s largest institutional investors. 33 housing tax credit syndicators and three of the nation’s largest investors participated in the survey. CohnReznick was able to analyze 2014 data collected from more than 15,000 housing tax credit properties.

About CohnReznick

CohnReznick LLP is one of the top accounting, tax, and advisory firms in the United States, combining the resources and technical expertise of a national firm with the hands-on, entrepreneurial approach that today's dynamic business environment demands. Headquartered in New York, NY, and with offices nationwide, CohnReznick serves a large number of diverse industries and offers specialized services for middle market and Fortune 1000 companies, private equity and financial services firms, government contractors, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations. The Firm, with origins dating back to 1919, has more than 2,700 employees including nearly 300 partners and is a member of Nexia International, a global network of independent accountancy, tax, and business advisors. For more information, visit www.cohnreznick.com

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