CityView Apts.

Century Acquires CityView project, Preserves 296 Affordable Homes for Seniors

CityView Apts.

Century is pleased to announce the $66.5 million acquisition of CityView apartments, a 296-unit multifamily senior housing community located on a 2.58-acre site in the Wrigley area of Long Beach, California. Homes at the community serve senior households earning at or below 60% of Area Median Income (AMI).

Renovated in 2015, City View includes upgrades such as a new cool roof, replacement of all existing residential and storefront-type aluminum frame single pane windows with nonmetallic frame double pane windows, installation of Energy Star refrigerators, HVAC improvements, and LED light installation. Project amenities include a community room, fitness center, library, tech center, laundry facilities with TVs, game tables, elevators, surveillance cameras, controlled-access entry, rooftop deck with a BBQ area, and 173 parking spaces.

The project is conveniently located directly adjacent to the Metro Blue Line Wardlow station, providing tenants ease of access to the greater Long Beach and Los Angeles area, Long Beach Medical Center, and other medical services relevant to the tenant population.

“Creating and preserving affordable housing for seniors close to transportation and medical facilities enhances the lives of senior residents so they can be independent and thrive,” said Ronald Griffith, President and CEO, Century Housing.

The CityView acquisition was made possible through a non-volume cap real estate secured tax-exempt bond offering in combination with an unsecured privately placed AA- rated tax exempt bond. This novel method of financing has not commonly been utilized and provides an innovative approach to capital raising in the challenging affordable housing environment. This capital markets-based strategy relied on the issuance of two separate but coordinated 501(c)3 bond sales: a $48 million public execution with Wells Fargo as the underwriter and a $21 million private placement to Barclays through U.S. Bank as underwriter and placement agent.

“Century Housing is thrilled with the results of this financing structure, which ultimately delivers value for the preservation of affordable rents for this senior population,” said Alan Hoffman, SVP & CFO, Century Housing. “Through transactions like this, Century is able to directly apply its financial strength toward its social and environmental mission of financing the development and preservation of affordable housing.”

Both the publicly offered and privately placed bonds carry an ESG opinion from Sustainalytics in connection with the environmental and social impacts of the project they finance. Embracing the vision that homes are the cornerstone of a thriving and just society, Century is deeply committed to addressing the economic and social inequities that are so pervasive throughout society. Through this acquisition, Century preserved rent affordability for close to 300 low-income seniors. The financing for this project serves as an innovative model for injecting new capital and resources into preserving and creating future affordable housing projects throughout the State of California and beyond.

“We are proud to serve as placement agent for a bond designed to support quality affordable housing in California,” said Marcus Martin, managing director and head of ESG, Fixed Income & Capital Markets (FICM) for U.S. Bank. “This unique bond – a result of collaboration between our FICM and U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation teams – is an example of how we can bring highly tailored, socially impactful financing solutions to CDFI partners and investors. We applaud our longtime client Century Housing for its efforts to bring this important project to life.”

With a growing housing portfolio, Century’s approach is to develop supportive, green housing at scale while achieving financial sustainability and delivering meaningful social impact.

“Barclays is constantly working to innovate in the affordable housing sector and this landmark tax-exempt transaction with Century Housing Corporation will help serve as a prototype to providers nationwide. We are proud to have provided Barclays’ balance sheet to facilitate this transaction and to continue our efforts to provide sustainable, affordable housing to those in need,” said Damian Busch, Director, Barclays.

“Wells Fargo is honored to partner with Century Housing- an organization that is critically important to the financing and development of affordable housing,” said Peter Cannava, Managing Director, Wells Fargo.

CADI President, Brian D’Andrea said, “Century is immensely grateful for the efforts of the entire deal team including our lead underwriters at Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank along with institutions like Barclays that invested in these social impact bonds. Especially at a time when inflation is disproportionately affecting those on fixed incomes, these investments will produce a meaningful difference in the lives of our low-income seniors for years to come.”

Preservation Critical to Maintaining Affordable Housing Stock

 

Preserving existing affordable housing is as important as creating new affordable housing. Each year, even as demand increase, the United States loses more than half a million affordable homes due to expiring affordability restrictions, conversion to more expensive housing, or building deterioration.1 Without intervention, we are in danger of permanently losing the current supply of affordable housing.

WAYS THE MARKET LOSES AFFORDABLE HOUSING 

Expiring affordability restrictions
Many affordable housing properties receive rental assistance contracts and/or financing from various federal, state and local programs. As time passes and owners pay off their subsidized mortgages, the low-income use restrictions on these projects expire. Without further incentives, owners often opt out of continuing to offer their properties as low-income housing.

Conversion
In strong markets, owners can command higher rents as competition for units increase. In addition, higher property values also motivate owners to sell to investors, who are generally not in the business to provide affordable housing. In these situations, affordability is lost and rents will almost always increase.

Deterioration
To maximize returns, property owners can either increase rent or reduce cost. For properties with already low rents, owners will delay fixing vital infrastructure systems such as plumbing, electrical systems, roofs, etc. Over time, the unit can deteriorate to the point where it is no longer habitable. These vacant properties enter foreclosure or become a source of blight. In cases where properties are sold to investors, it is often demolished and replaced with high rent buildings. This is where policy and incentives can intervene, turning these abandoned eyesores into livable homes.

ADVANTAGES OF PRESERVATION

In many cases, preserving housing, rather than building it new from the ground up, has proven to be the most financially sustainable method.

  • Preserving existing affordable housing is generally much more cost-effective than new construction, by as much as 30% to 50% (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development2).
  • With inadequate funding for new affordable housing construction, the existing funds can go a long ways in creating more affordable housing options.
  • In many cities, high land costs, limited available land or regulations that restrict land use make it difficult to build new affordable rental housing.
  • Preservation builds on previous public investments: there is no need to buy new land (where prices have skyrocketed in many cities), pay for costly securing of regulatory approval for new construction in certain expensive markets, or contend with “soft-costs” such as closing fees.
  • Preservation of affordable housing is key to a diversified and stable housing stock and economic diversity by creating or sustaining a mixed-income neighborhood.
  • Preservation is less likely to displace longterm residents who may otherwise have to move and change jobs when rents are no longer affordable.
  • Preservation keeps families, communities and social networks intact and safe. Displaced residents often have to move to a more affordable but less safe neighborhood. For those who remain, the loss of a tight-knit community means less protection, reduced communication and more isolation of individuals who no longer look out for each other.
  • Preservation restores vacant buildings to a city’s housing stock, and research shows that restoration also benefits neighborhoods by attracting private investment and improving community safety.

There is no doubt that the need for affordable housing is dire. Through collaboration between public, private, philanthropic groups and elected officials, their combined power can make a difference in preserving affordable housing that can impact individuals, neighborhoods and communities.

Recently, Century funded a bridge loan to Bridge Housing for preservation of low-income senior housing in the growing community of Danville, CA where seniors can now remain in their community even as rents soar. Century also helped with acquisition financing to developer Affirmed Housing to preserve 60 two- and three- bedroom units for families in Bakersfield targeting average affordability of 50% of AMI.

 

 

  1. “Community Strategies to Preserve Affordable Housing” https://www.huduser.gov/portal/pdredge/pdr-edge-frm-asst-sec-112017.html
  2. “Preserving Affordable Rental Housing: A Snapshot of Growing Need, Current Threats, and Innovative Solutions,” Evidence Matters, Summer 2013. https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/summer13/highlight1.html