National Equity Fund has announced that its investment volume for 2021 hit a record-breaking $2.2 billion, the highest amount the low-income housing tax credit syndicator has ever reported in its 35-year history.

NEF raised and deployed upwards of $1.2 billion in LIHTC investments alongside $930 million in lending activity to preserve affordable housing — both also the highest the syndicator has ever reported. This activity was tied to the creation and preservation of 13,550 affordable housing units during the year.

The LIHTC syndicator reported a number of other successes as well. NEF’s investments in affordable housing within Opportunity Zones reached $110 million, alongside $40 million in capital dedicated to workforce housing.

NEF also raised $112 million for its Emerging Minority Developer Fund. This fund was designed to grow the financial capacity and assist Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) developers in accessing LIHTC investment capital.

Focus on Affordability

Matt Reilein, president and CEO of NEF, highlighted that this level of activity comes amid a difficult time for renters, particularly those falling into lower income brackets. The demand for quality housing is at an all-time high and, while incentives are available to encourage workforce and affordable housing development, rapid rent growth in the market-rate sector continues to attract a significantly larger degree of focus.

In a recent webinar organized by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, Wells Fargo Managing Director Kate McShane noted that the issue of affordability is predominantly one of supply. She further suggested collaboration between government departments — like the Department of Housing and Urban Development — and the private sector would be the key to building and preserving affordable units.