BAHFA Makes First Capital Commitment to Spur Housing Construction

Aerial of housing construction in the south bay.

ABAG's and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's (MTC's) Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA) affiliate last week launched its first loan program to promote the construction of affordable housing on properties nominated by local governments and developers across all nine Bay Area counties as “Priority Sites.” 

These Priority Sites will provide affordable homes in locations close to transit, essential services and green space.  BAHFA’s new $28 million loan program, to which developers can apply through an online portal, will provide low-interest loans to buy land for affordable housing; build affordable housing; complete necessary infrastructure; and/or cover predevelopment costs such as architectural and engineering services, entitlement and permitting fees, legal expenses or environmental reviews. Borrowers able to start construction within 24 months may seek loans of up to $5 million.

Eligible project sponsors include public agencies, for-profit or nonprofit firms, individuals, general or limited partnerships, or limited liability companies. BAHFA invites development teams to submit letters of interest by Jan. 15, 2024. After reviewing these letters, the authority by Feb. 15 expects to begin issuing invitations to select developers to submit full, formal applications — which likely will have a due date of March 1. The BAHFA board is scheduled to approve its first funding award at its April 24 meeting. 

BAHFA expects its capital loan fund to spur the construction of 750 to 3,000 new affordable housing units on priority sites around the Bay Area. All approved Priority Sites also will be eligible for technical assistance from the MTC-ABAG team. 

Local governments identified 211 Priority Sites as locations for the construction of homes that will be affordable to people of all incomes, backgrounds and abilities. These include 106 ‘regionally significant’ sites that can accommodate 500 or more homes; 81 ‘community anchor’ sites on which at least 100 homes and 10,000 or more square feet of public facilities may be built; and 24 ‘public site portfolios’ owned by transit agencies, school districts or other public agencies that have the capacity for at least 200 homes. All priority sites are near high-frequency transit lines and either include or are near essential services and green spaces. Together, the Priority Sites approved by MTC and ABAG can accommodate the construction of some 171,000 new units, with about 37 percent of these homes expected to be affordable housing. 

BAHFA is the first regional housing finance authority in California, established in 2019 by the California Legislature to address the Bay Area’s chronic housing challenges. It works closely with MTC and ABAG to blend housing, transportation and governance solutions for a more vibrant and sustainable Bay Area.