August 22, 2018

Wyden Introduces Housing Affordability Bills

Legislation Would Help First-time Homebuyers, Middle-Income Renters

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden today introduced two bills that would create new tax credits to help first-time homebuyers and middle-income renters.

Both pieces of legislation aim to provide a comprehensive affordable housing package in tandem with the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC), a tool Wyden has long supported that’s helped to finance construction of affordable rental units.

“Repairing the country’s housing policy to help people in Oregon and nationwide afford a place to live requires a full tool box,” said Wyden, ranking member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee. “My bills aim to remodel housing policy by targeting improvements to help American families struggling to pay soaring rents and trying to save for a down payment on their first home.”

The first of Wyden’s two new housing affordability bills would help deal with increasing housing costs by providing first-time homebuyers up to a $10,000 refundable tax credit. This credit would equal 2.5% of the home purchase with the maximum credit reached at homes selling for $400,000 – below the median home price in Portland. 

His second housing affordability bill would create a middle-income housing tax credit (MIHTC) aimed at sparking the development of rental homes affordable to Americans with moderate incomes. The bill builds on the successful LIHTC model, allocating funds to states based on population with state housing authorities and then following a competitive process to allocate the tax credits to developers for individual new construction projects or rehabilitations.

These new bills expand on Wyden’s work to help with housing for the homeless and affordable housing for low-income families and individuals, including veterans. This year Wyden is working to secure nearly $1.9 billion for the Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) program and $100 million for the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) voucher program in the Military Construction appropriations bill. These programs help veterans and their families, who are either homeless or on their way to being homeless, find a home.

Additionally, Wyden has been a longtime supporter of the LIHTC, which has financed 3 million affordable homes nationwide. That includes 40,000 affordable homes in Oregon, providing housing to more than 92,000 low-income households in Oregon since the tax credit’s enactment in 1986.  Wyden has also championed efforts to strengthen and expand the low-income housing tax credit this Congress.

A summary of the new bills is available here and here. Text of the bills is available here and here.