Affordable and Mixed-Income Housing Development, Finance, and Management

This “nuts and bolts” course focuses on the development, financing, and management of both rental and ownership affordable and mixed-income housing developments. The primary public and private subsidy vehicles necessary to develop affordable housing, including development cost, debt service, operating, rental assistance, tax credit, entitlement, tax credit, and project-generated cross subsidies will be explored and the common practice of aggregating subsidies into comprehensive gap financing packages will be examined. Other topics covered include: establishing development objectives, assembling and managing a development team, preparing feasibility studies, controlling development and/or adaptive reuse sites, gaining community support, securing subsidies, syndicating tax credits, coordinating the design and construction process and managing the completed asset. Inclusionary, workforce, preservation and special needs housing will also be discussed.

Almost all students elect to participate in the Affordable Housing Development Competition (AHDC), a well-organized development competition sponsored by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston and others where interdisciplinary student teams primarily from Harvard and MIT work with either non-profit or for-profit clients to develop detailed affordable and/or mixed-income housing proposals for actual sites in the Greater Boston area. For these students the AHDC proposal becomes the course final project. For students not electing to compete in the AHDC, a final project will be required on a topic mutually agreed upon by the student(s) and the instructor. Students will be evaluated based upon classroom participation, a written report and class presentation involving the design and development of a mixed-income housing subdivision, the final project, and a written evaluation and ranking of the AHDC projects to determine which project creates the highest net public value. There is no final exam.

The course includes a mix of lectures, cases, exercises, site visits, guest lectures, and student presentations. All classes are designed to be highly interactive. There are no course prerequisites. No prior real estate development or finance experience is expected or required. Fundamental real estate finance principles relevant to the development of affordable housing will be covered at the beginning of the course. Although the course focuses on domestic affordable and mixed-income housing practices, the principles learned should be applicable globally.

There will not be a required textbook. Most readings will be available on the web and/or the course web page. Total cost for class materials not available on the web and/or course web page is estimated to be less than $30.