Wells Fargo & Company may still be in the midst of earning back the public’s trust, but the recent controversy does not seem to affected its ranking as the number one investor in affordable housing across the United States.
According to new research from the Cohn Reznick accounting firm, Wells Fargo is the leader in addressing the increasing demand for affordable renting options, particularly in the multifamily housing sector of the US population. They are helping to bridge that tumultuous affordability gap by putting $9 billion into Low Income Housing Tax Credits for affordable, multifamily housing in the US, over the last five years.
Mark Myers is the head of the Wells Fargo Commercial Real Estate division. He argues: “There is a significant affordable housing crisis impacting the country right now. Demand for affordable rental housing continues to be extremely high with many people paying a disproportionate percentage of their income on rent. As the largest commercial real estate lender in the country, being able to help meet the need for more affordable living options for our customers and communities is a top priority for Wells Fargo.”
In all, Wells Fargo has contributed debt and equity in order to support affordable multifamily housing, financing more than 180,000 units of such affordable housing. According to The Urban Institute, it is estimated that for every 100 “extremely low-income” renter households (these are homes with income levels at or below 30 percent of the area median), only about 29 affordable units are available on the market. This, they say, equates to a deficiency of about more than eight million units.
Of course, New York City is one example of a municipality struggling to make more provisions in the low- to moderate-income affordable housing sector.
Rafael Cestero is the president and CEO of Community Preservation Corporation. This is a non-profit, affordable housing lender in New York City. He says, “In New York, we have more people who want to live here than we have housing. This creates a supply and demand issue that’s driving rents higher and creating an exasperated need for affordable housing. Without Wells Fargo’s commitment to working with local government and investing in organizations like CPC, New York would be a different place and there would be fewer opportunities for low- and middle-income families to have affordable living options in the city.”