Real Estate Industry Urges Lawmakers to Consider Tax Incentive for Property Conversions
Biden Administration Expands Low-Income Housing Financing and Provides More Flexibility to Affordable Housing Developers
FASB Approves Two-Year Extension for Transitioning LIBOR Contracts to Alternative Benchmark
Roundtable Weekly
October 14, 2022
Real Estate Industry Urges Lawmakers to Consider Tax Incentive for Property Conversions
CRE with green trees

A Roundtable-led coalition of 16 national real estate organizations on Oct. 12 recommended certain enhancements and expansions to the Revitalizing Downtowns Act (S. 2511, H.R. 4759). The bill was introduced by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) to encourage the conversion of older buildings into new uses. (Coalition letter

Qualified Property Conversions Credit 

  • The coalition noted that many buildings are being reimagined and repurposed to address a severe shortage of housing and meet other post-pandemic business needs. Where appropriate, property conversions can be a cost-effective means to develop new housing supply, create jobs, and generate critical sources of local property tax revenue while saving energy and reinvigorating communities.

  • The Revitalizing Downtowns Act would provide a 20 percent tax credit for qualified property conversion expenditures. The credit is modeled on the historic rehabilitation tax credit and could be used for office buildings that are at least 25 years old at the time of the conversion.

  • An office-to-residential conversion project may qualify for the credit if the project provides at least 20 percent affordable housing—or is subject to an alternative affordable housing arrangement under state or local policy, ordinance, or agreement. 

Real Estate Industry Recommendations 


  • The recommendations include:
    • (a) expanding the category of properties eligible for the credit to include other types of commercial buildings, such as shopping centers and hotels;
    • (b) extending the incentive to real estate investment trusts (REITs); and
    • (c) reducing the conversion expenditure requirement from 100 percent of the building’s basis to 50 percent—along with half-a-dozen other suggestions.

  • The coalition letter is the work product of a property conversions working group created by The Real Estate Roundtable’s Tax Policy Advisory Committee. The working group has reviewed and considered the challenges and impediments confronting potential property conversion activities.  

Recent media articles on property conversions include "Cities push to convert deserted office buildings into housing” (Axios, Sept.  28) and “Multifamily Developers Turn Some Dead Office Space into Apartments” (, Oct. 4). 

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Biden Administration Expands Low-Income Housing Financing and Provides More Flexibility to Affordable Housing Developers

Housing construction

The Biden administration on Oct. 7 announced several new federal agency actions aimed at closing the housing supply shortfall as part of its Housing Supply Action Plan, launched in May. (White House statement, Oct. 7 | Multi-Housing News, Oct. 10 | Roundtable Weekly, May 20)

LIHTC Reform

The White House’s announcement focused on efforts to reduce barriers to affordable housing construction and preservation by:

  • Finalizing Treasury rules that reform the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) income guidelines. The new rules provide greater flexibility to develop mixed-income housing, housing for very low-income tenants, and housing in sparsely populated rural areas. Specifically, the final regulations create an alternative means of complying with the rent restriction requirements of the LIHTC. The new rules allow owners to measure and average their tenants’ income based on a broader range of qualifying incomes (20 to 80 percent of the area median). 

  • Extending LIHTC deadlines to ensure that affordable housing projects delayed by public health, economic, and supply-chain issues can be built as expeditiously as possible and still qualify for the credit. (IRS Notice 2022-52)

  • The Real Estate Roundtable has long supported well-designed, targeted tax incentives like the LIHTC that are aimed at boosting the construction and rehabilitation of badly needed affordable and workforce housing. (Roundtable 2022 Policy Agenda Tax Section)

Other Federal Actions Announced by the White House

Construction of affordable housing

  • Reforming and streamlining Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Forward Commitment programs, which allow developers to secure financing to pay off a construction loan when construction has been completed and the housing project has been approved for occupancy. Each GSE will be able to provide $3 billion in Forward Commitments per year—above and beyond the multifamily purchase cap.

  • Enabling more affordable housing development and preservation with State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) under the American Rescue Plan. Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly published a “How-To” Guide to further encourage state and local governments to make use of these funds with other sources of federal funding.

  • Promoting more housing options near transit and other modes of transportation, coordination of transportation and housing planning, and rewarding jurisdictions that have removed barriers to housing development.

  • Increasing transportation investments that can connect and expand affordable housing supply. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has begun awarding grants for recipients where local governments are improving their transportation infrastructure and promoting a range of transportation, environmental, urban planning, and housing policy goals.

  • DOT also announced “TIFIA 49,” which authorizes borrowing from the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program up to 49 percent of eligible costs for projects that meet eligibility requirements, an increase from 33 percent of eligible project costs.

Real Estate Views

Willy Walker on SquawkBox
  • The National Multifamily Housing Council and National Apartment Association applauded the Biden administration’s plan. Their joint statement noted the U.S. needs to produce 4.3 million more apartments by 2035 to keep up with demand.
  • Roundtable Member Willy Walker, above left, chairman and CEO of Walker and Dunlop, joined CNBC’s Squawk on the Street on Oct. 12 to discuss supply and demand challenges in the housing market, rent increases associated with inflation, and the consequence of banks pulling back loans from commercial real estate. (Watch video

The Real Estate Roundtable’s Research Committee and Real Estate Capital Policy Advisory Committee (RECPAC) has formed an Affordable Housing Working Group, which is working on a report to address expansion of the nation’s housing infrastructure.  

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FASB Approves Two-Year Extension for Transitioning LIBOR Contracts to Alternative Benchmark

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) recently voted to extend accounting relief to companies working to transition financial contracts from the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) benchmark to an alternative benchmark such as the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR). (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 5) 

Transition Timing 

  • LIBOR was the dominant reference rate used in recent decades for financial contracts—including commercial real estate debt, mortgages, student loans and derivatives—worth an estimated $223 trillion. (Roundtable Weekly, Dec. 10, 2021.

  • The FASB relief allows companies until the end of 2024 to update or renegotiate Libor-backed loans. Companies that change the reference rate—as opposed to a more substantive alteration such as extending the loan’s maturity—will not be required to record a new loan. (UHY, Oct. 6)

  • The two-year, optional extension from Dec. 31, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2024 aims to help banks and borrowers transition LIBOR-based loans—including legacy “tough legacy” contracts.

  • Banks can continue using LIBOR in U.S. dollars and other currencies on existing loan contracts through June 2023. U.S. banks stopped issuing new financial contracts using LIBOR at the end of last year. (Wall Street Journal, June 7)


Libor transition to SOFR image

  • The Federal Reserve and other regulators prefer banks and borrowers use the alternative benchmark SOFR. Companies are considering using two versions: overnight SOFR, administered by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York—and term SOFR, which benefits companies that borrow or lend in one-, three- or six-month periods. (NYS Society of CPAs, Oct. 6)

  • The Wall Street Journal reported that federal regulators prefer a version of SOFR because of its stability, as opposed to credit-sensitive alternatives such as the Bloomberg Short Term Bank Yield Index.

Legislative Support

  • Separately, Congress passed the Adjustable Interest Rate (LIBOR) Act (H.R. 4616) in March to provide for an orderly transition of debt contracts away from LIBOR, as part of an “omnibus” bill to fund the government. (Roundtable Weekly, March 11)

  • The Real Estate Roundtable and 17 national trade groups submitted letters in 2021 on April 14 and July 27 to policymakers in support of measures to address “tough legacy” LIBOR-based contract issues. (Roundtable Weekly, Dec. 10, 2021) 

The LIBOR transition will be among the issues for discussion during The Roundtable’s Real Estate Capital Policy Advisory Committee’s (RECPAC) next meeting on Nov. 2 in New York City. 

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