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How Wisconsin Is Investing in Housing

housing optimismThe Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority [1] (WHEDA) has made sizeable strides in helping more households of The Badger State achieve their dream. In its annual report [2] published recently, WHEDA said that the agency had made loans to 3,450 individuals and families totaling $427.5 million—the best for the agency since 2006.

“While our financing activity clearly illustrates the scope of what we do, we never lose sight that each numerical figure represents a family or an individual or small business owner whose life has been positively impacted by because of their experience with WHEDA,” Wyman B. Winston, Executive Director at WHEDA wrote in his address in the annual report.

Saying that WHEDA bucked the national trend of homeownership rates among millennials, Winston said that 73.5 percent of the agency’s loans were to millennials. Additionally, the report said that in 2018, 97 percent of all WHEDA home loans went to first-time homebuyers.

Apart from showcasing the substantial impact of its housing and economic development, WHEDA’s annual report also gave insights into the agency’s financial performance. The agency recorded a net interest income of $27.5 million in 2018, slightly lower than $31.9 million recorded in 2017. Its mortgage servicing fee also fell to $7.8 million in 2018 compared to $8.1 million in the previous year.

The annual report also shares success stories of WHEDA’s support and collaboration with its industry partners and includes snippets on single-family homeownership as well as the redevelopment of the historic Bronzeville district in Milwaukee as well as, a shelter that provides safe harbor to homeless women and children.

“I’m proud that WHEDA’s housing tax credits are financing developments like Thurgood Marshall that utilize a nationally recognized model, “Housing First.” The approach is to reach some of the most vulnerable people in the community and offer them stable housing with services so that they can begin to improve their lives,” Winston said.

In May 2018, Wisconsin had passed Act 176 into law to establish a Wisconsin Housing Tax Credit Program that provides a tax incentive for private investment for the development or rehabilitation of affordable rental housing.