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By: Heather Kvasnak on 4/17/2019

Legislative Breakfast and CE Class

Financing with USDA Rural Development and Vermont Housing Finance Agency


Join the Windsor County Board of Realtors for this important Legislative Breakfast.  Network with Legislators and get up to date information on legislation important to Realtors and property owners.  There are several important pieces of legislation at the State House and many more issues being discussed, including:

  • Act 250

  • Increase in license registration fees

  • Broadband

  • Housing Affordability


Business Meeting

The business meeting and legislative update will begin at 8:30am.  It's an opportunity to talk to Legislators one on one.  Invitations have been sent to Legislators, but if you see your Legislator, please extend the invitation as well! 

Thank you to the sponsor Mascoma Bank.


CE Class (2CE)

Financing with Rural Development and Vermont Housing Finance Agency

USDA Rural Development and the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) offer opportunities for Vermonters to purchase homes with up to 100% financing, down payment assistance, and low closing costs. 

USDA Rural Development’s portion of the course will introduce Realtors to USDA’s core housing programs. 502 Direct Loan purchase option and Home Improvement Grants/Loans that are available through local RD Specialists will be addressed. The course will also overview the RD Guarantee Program that is available through local Vermont banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies. RD programs are the most commonly used federal financing program in the state of Vermont for single family home purchase, making this opportunity for realtors to learn more critical to their success in the market. 

The VHFA course section will cover VHFA’s mission as a state chartered agency in administering mortgage loan programs to help Vermonters achieve homeownership. The material will provide detail on the available programs, how they are structured with underlying standard conventional and government products and the features and benefits. The section will also include an overview of the eligibility criteria, how the process works and resources for realtors to access after course completion to help them assist homeowners interested in VHFA programs.


Register today for the Legislative Breakfast and CE Class!

By: Mia Watson on 4/16/2019

The Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) Board of Commissioners announced yesterday that its annual allocation of federal and state housing tax credits will support the development of 214 permanently affordable apartments in nine communities across the state. Low and moderate income Vermont renters will benefit from a 12.5 percent increase in Vermont’s annual allocation enacted by Congress last year.

Housing tax credits are the single largest source of funding for the development of affordable rental housing in Vermont. VHFA awarded the developers of the eight projects state and federal tax credits that are expected to yield an estimated $41 million in total upfront equity for development costs.

“The number of Vermont renters struggling to afford rent continues to rise,” remarked Maura Collins, Executive Director of VHFA. “The increase in federal tax credits allows us to build approximately 20 more permanently affordable apartments each year. This increase coincided with the issuance of Vermont’s Housing for All Revenue Bond, spurring substantial growth in the development of affordable housing.”

Despite its clear benefits, the 12.5 percent increase in federal tax credits has only been funded by Congress through 2021. In addition to providing over 7,000 homes to Vermonters since 1986, the tax credit program supports nearly 8,000 jobs related to development and housing management each year. In light of this, VHFA is strongly supporting legislation introduced in Congress last year to increase tax credits by 50 percent, which would allow 900 additional affordable apartments to be built in Vermont over the next ten years.

The Board also approved $22 million in VHFA permanent and construction loans. In total, VHFA-awarded permanent loans and tax credit equity are expected to cover 64 percent of the development costs for the upcoming projects.

Housing developments awarded federal tax credits include Maiden Lane Apartments in downtown St. Albans, which is a public-private partnership between the City of St. Albans, Champlain Housing Trust, and Housing Vermont. It will create 22 affordable apartments in a 30-unit mixed income building, six of which will be reserved for homeless or at-risk households. Maiden Lane will be part of the Congress & Main Redevelopment project to replace dilapidated buildings with a mix of rental housing, condominiums, office space and storefronts.

Juniper House in Burlington, developed by Cathedral Square Corporation, is a 70-unit building with 60 affordable apartments for seniors, seven of which will be enriched with supportive services for formerly homeless or at-risk households. Juniper House will be located at Cambrian Rise, a new neighborhood on the shores of Lake Champlain that will mix market rate and affordable apartments and condominiums. All of the units were designed for accessibility, and all residents will have access to SASH (Support and Services at Home), a care-coordination program that helps residents live safely, comfortably and independently.

In Shaftsbury, Lake Paran Village will offer 16 affordable apartments in a 22-unit mixed income site with multiple small buildings. The apartments will be in walking distance both to the Village of North Bennington and nature trails surrounding the lake. Shires Housing is the project sponsor. As part of the project, Shires Housing will reserve four apartments in its portfolio for homeless or at-risk households. 

Housing Vermont will completely rehabilitate a historic building in downtown St. Johnsbury to develop New Avenue Apartments. The renovated building will contain 38 affordable apartments, nine of which will have access to supportive services for homeless or at-risk households. The first floor of the building is being privately developed as commercial space, with the overall goal that New Avenue will serve as a cornerstone for downtown revitalization. 

Vergennes Community Housing, sponsored by Addison County Community Trust and Housing Vermont, will offer seven market rate apartments and 17 affordable apartments, four of which will offer supportive services for homeless or at-risk households. Vergennes Community Housing will have easy access to schools, transportation and amenities in the downtown area. In addition, there are plans to have a child care center located on-site. 

These projects each achieve important housing priorities for the agency. All of the new projects will include some apartments for formerly homeless Vermont households. In addition, every new development is located within half a mile of regular public transportation, furthering the goal of smart growth and downtown development.

VHFA also awarded federal bond credits and Vermont State Tax Credits to four projects that will significantly rehabilitate older buildings, helping to preserve Vermont’s limited supply of affordable rental housing. In Waterbury, Downstreet Housing and Community Development will renovate 14 affordable apartments in the historic Stimson and Graves building. The Manchester Knoll and Depot Street project involves the rehabilitation of 25 affordable apartments in several different buildings in Manchester and Bennington by Shires Housing. Governor Prouty Apartments in Newport has 24 affordable apartments for senior and disabled renters that will be renovated by RuralEdge.  All of these projects will involve substantial energy efficiency updates, including new heating systems, window replacement and weatherization.

In addition to the housing credits and loans awarded by VHFA, other funding sources for these developments include grants and loans from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the federal HOME program, the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program, the National Housing Trust Fund, local housing trust funds, NeighborWorks and the Vermont Community Development Program.

Pictured: Rendering of Maiden Lane in St. Albans, courtesy of Housing Vermont

By: Heather Kvasnak on 4/15/2019

Great news!  A Mortgage Credit Certificate provides a mortgage interest tax credit benefit for homebuyers whether or not deductions are itemized. 

A Mortgage Credit Certificate is a federal tax credit for up to $2,000 and unlike a tax deduction, a Mortgage Credit Certificate reduces federal tax liability dollar for dollar for homebuyers.


How is a Mortgage Credit Certificate obtained?

A Mortgage Credit Certificate is issued exclusively in Vermont by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) for Vermont homebuyers.   The Mortgage Credit Certificate is issued to homebuyers at the time of home purchase and can be used through the life of the loan as long as the home is occupied as a primary residence.


How is the Mortgage Credit Certificate tax credit dollar amount determined*?

The Mortgage Credit Certificate value is determined based on the lesser of (a) 30% of total mortgage interest paid annually or (b) $2,000.  The tax credit is reported on Form 8396 which is used to determine the maximum credit based on total tax liability and face value of the Mortgage Credit Certificate.   The remaining 70% of mortgage interest paid can be itemized as a deduction on Schedule A to the Form 1040 to help further reduce federal tax liability.


To find out more about a Mortgage Credit Certificate, contact a VHFA Participating Lender today!


*VHFA is not licensed to provide tax advice, please consult a tax professional for specific questions about how a Mortgage Credit Certificate will influence individual tax liability.



Article Reference




By: Mia Watson on 4/10/2019

Today marks the date in 1974 that Governor Thomas Salmon signed legislation creating Vermont Housing Finance Agency. In the 45 years since then, we've helped over 29,000 Vermont households become homeowners and have provided financing, development and management support, subsidy administration and tax credits to approximately 8,800 rental apartments. In total, 15 percent of all Vermont homes and over 136,000 Vermonters have been assisted through VHFA.

The 1970s were a time of instability in the housing market across the country, including Vermont. Rising interest rates and steadily growing home prices coupled with high unemployment made it increasingly difficult for families to afford to buy homes. At the same time, the federal government sharply curtailed funding for the construction of public housing, leaving few resources for new affordable rental housing. Many states responded to these concerns by establishing Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs) like VHFA, which were given the authority to sell tax-exempt bonds to finance affordable mortgages.

As the housing landscape changed, VHFA changed with it. When the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program was established in 1986, VHFA became responsible for allocating tax credits to developers of affordable rental housing. In 1988, VHFA established its first program for down payment assistance for homebuyers. In 2003, VHFA created the Vermont Housing Data website, which continues to be the largest single source for Vermont housing information. In 2009, in the midst of the Great Recession, VHFA created the Housing Assistance Rehabilitation (HARP) program with federal stimulus funds, which involved purchasing and rehabilitating foreclosed homes and reselling them to qualified low- and moderate-income buyers. After Hurricane Irene destroyed large numbers of mobile homes in 2011, VHFA helped create an award-winning program that provides down payment assistance to income-eligible Vermonters purchasing energy efficient manufactured homes.

Throughout its history, VHFA has been a leader in housing policy in Vermont, successfully lobbying for increased funding for affordable housing at the federal, state, and local level, and providing research and guidance for lawmakers, nonprofits, and media. VHFA looks forward to the challenges and opportunities that the next 45 years will bring as it continues to expand affordable, safe and decent housing opportunities for Vermont.

Visit VHFA’s website to view an interactive timeline of major milestones.

Pictured: Painting of VHFA headquarters painted by staff member Polly Thibault

By: Mia Watson on 4/8/2019

The State of Vermont’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will be holding a public hearing to receive comments on its draft of the 2019 HUD Annual Action Plan at 5:30 PM this Thursday, April 11 at the Bethel Town Hall.

The Consolidated Plan outlines priorities for the use of approximately $13 million in federal funds Vermont will receive for affordable housing in the upcoming program year (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020). Programs covered by the plan include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and HOME program, administered by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, respectively, and the Emergency Solutions Grant, administered by the Vermont Agency of Human Services.

VHFA Executive Director Maura Collins was recently appointed to the Community Development Advisory Board, which awards grants under the CDBG program. She also sits on the Consolidated Plan Advisory Group.

Proposed changes to the Consolidated Plan include setting aside CDBG funds for Scattered-site Housing Revolving Loan Funds, reducing the match requirements for most CDBG grants to 10 percent, and increasing the maximum Access Modification grant award to $100,000.

DHCD continues to accept written feedback in addition to comments during the public hearing. Meeting details and the full draft 2019 Consolidated Plan are available on DHCD’s website.