National Equity Fund, SVB Team Up On $110 Million OZ Initiative

Silicon Valley Bank and National Equity Fund announced an initiative to invest $110 million in low-income housing tax credit deals by December 31. The initiative will leverage the tax advantages available from the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program (LIHTC) and the Opportunity Zone program.

The LIHTC program was created by the Tax Reform Act of 1986, and allows state and local governments the ability to issue tax credits for the purchase, construction, or renovation of rental housing that targets lower-income families. An average of more than 100,000 units have been placed into service annually via the LIHTC program over the last several decades.

The Opportunity Zone program, created in 2017, allows investors to defer, reduce, and eliminate portions of their capital gains tax liabilities via investments in census tracts that have been dedicated as Opportunity Zones.

The $110 million fund will focus on developing housing in Los Angeles and San Francisco, two of the nation’s most expensive housing markets. Los Angeles county is home to 194 Opportunity Zones, while San Francisco county has 11 OZs. Oakland county is home to another 30 Opportunity Zones, while Santa Clara county has 13 designated OZs.

Other OZ funds are tackling the Bay Area housing crisis as well. Urban Catalyst is developing several projects in San Jose, while Riaz Capital is focusing on workforce housing primarily in Oakland.