Some state housing finance agencies had to turn to alternatives to mortgage revenue bonds to finance housing, even though issuance was up, the National Council of State Housing Agencies found in a recently released 2011 factbook.

“With the housing market struggling to recover, and mortgage interest rates remaining at near-record lows, some HFAs have found that MRBs do not currently offer them the same competitive advantages they did previously,” the factbook said. “Consequently, many HFAs have begun to utilize alternative financing structures, such as Ginnie Mae or pass through arrangements, which have allowed them to continue carrying out their missions in this touch economic environment.”

Nevertheless, mortgage revenue bond issuance jumped 13.5% in 2011 compared with the previous year, according to the factbook, a comprehensive survey of housing finance agency program activity.

NCHSA found that HFAs issued $8.4 billion in MRBs in 2011, compared with $7.4 billion in 2010.

HFAs adapted to challenging municipal bond market conditions and were able to finance 9,514 single-family mortgages with more than $1.2 billion raised from alternative financing sources and supported 29,383 subordinate, or second, loans to help families purchase homes in 2011, according to the factbook.

State and local governments issue MRBs to help lower-income Americans secure affordable home mortgages so that they can purchase their first homes. Congress limits MRBs and mortgage credit certificates to first-time home buyers who earn no more than the greater of their statewide or area median income.

Many HFAs also finance the acquisition, construction or rehabilitation of multifamily housing by issuing tax-exempt, taxable, nonprofit or governmental purpose bonds. In 2011, HFAs financed 198 multifamily bond issues, a 19% increase from the 167 they issued in 2010, according to the factbook.

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