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Chart of the Week: Are FAA Properties Worth the Effort?


Many have been raising concerns about the ongoing "affordable housing crisis" in major US cities. With rising rents and expiring contracts, federally assisted apartments and properties have become questionable investments, and owners are considering cashing out or converting the space to market rate housing. And, according to a report by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), these owners' concerns are valid.

After collecting research from 891 federally assisted apartment properties containing 83,414 units, IREM collected both the 2014 total expenses and NOIs of five different categories of federally assisted apartment properties (which were then categorized by subsidy type of elevator, low-rise and garden buildings), and found that many building's NOIs pale in comparison to their expenses.

While Section 221 (d)3 low-rise buildings experienced the lowest expenses at $5.17, Section 202 elevator buildings reported the highest total expenses at $10.74. Total expenses decreased for all garden subsidies over the last two years, with the exception of Section 8 family buildings. Elevator buildings reported median NOI ranging from $5.93 to $10.68 per square foot; low-rise buildings ranging from $2.58 to $4.69 per square foot; and garden buildings ranging from $2.26 to $6.65 per square foot.

IREM's findings are full of interesting peculiarities—such as the fact that both Section 221 (d)3 and Section 8 elderly garden buildings bring in impressive NOIs and that Section 202 elevator buildings are the only Section 202 properties to make a considerable NOI despite the high costs across amenities—what's easily apparent is just how paltry the NOIs are for these spaces, regardless of amenity or contract. No one really expects FAA properties to be huge money makers, but it's hard to argue with owners' considerations of conversion when you can actually see how little they're making.

Click here to download the whole report.