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Affordable housing a focused concern

A Word from Heritage Bank

Nearly a third of the nation’s households are financially burdened when it comes to owning or renting a suitable home. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), more than 30% of their income goes toward housing.

The association cites the following factors as part of the overall housing cost equation: labor and materials prices; interest rates and financing costs; federal, state and local regulations; and supply and demand.

Further analysis by NAHB shows that regulatory requirements make it difficult to increase the supply of affordable housing.

In the Puget Sound region, and even statewide, affordable housing is a focused concern. In markets with high job growth, like the greater Puget Sound area, financing for affordable housing developments (for moderate incomes and previously homeless individuals) can take three to five years for developers.

The Puget Sound area boasts a sophisticated list of nonprofit developers with expertise in affordable housing. But there’s no single source of financing to make affordable housing work. It takes specialized expertise to structure affordable housing transactions and to navigate through the complex form of financing to realize a construction project.

Heritage Bank offers one-stop financing for nonprofit developers. From construction and permanent financing to the purchasing of federal low-income housing tax credits to making the housing transaction balance out and offer less debt and more equity. The process requires a dedicated team of experts. While most larger banks have a centralized approach to real estate and construction loans, Heritage Bank credit decisions are made in the local market.

Homeownership is one of the most significant ways that individuals and families can build wealth. When a person achieves homeownership, they are no longer subject to displacement due to rent increases, building sales or the landlord losing the house. Their resources are no longer tied up in excessive commuting, paying high rent or serial, frequent relocation. That’s why it’s important for vibrant communities to have affordable housing for all income levels and a bank that can structure affordable housing transactions quickly and locally.

Heritage looks forward to a continued partnership with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and supporting the Housing Washington conference. Because when neighbors help neighbors, the whole community benefits. And that’s true prosperity.

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