Apartment and Healthcare Facility Refinance

Apartment and Healthcare Facility Refinance
312 Florence Ave., Evanston, IL 60202

February 7, 2009

Revised Guidance for Underwriting of LEAN 232 Loans for Assisted Living Projects:

Given the difficult economic and fiscal environment nationally, the Department is requesting that HUD approved Mortgagees exercise caution in underwriting loans under the LEAN Section 232 programs for new construction and refinance transactions for assisted living facilities. For all Assisted Living Project LEAN mortgage insurance applications under Section 223(f), Section 232 new construction and substantial rehabilitation, and Section 241(a), HUD will require justification/mitigation if the underwritten debt service coverage ratio (“DSCR”) is less than 1.45. Moreover, as was previously discussed with various lenders in June of 2008, for all LEAN mortgage insurance applications involving new construction of Assisted Living units, HUD will require justification/mitigation if the underwritten loan to value is greater than 75%.

The Department would consider, for example, a mitigating factor to be the inclusion of less expensive independent living units in the project or the presence of facility residents that are being provided with state or federal rental assistance subsidies. The Department’s review of mitigating factors will focus on any project specific attributes that result in limiting project market risk or in reducing project financial risk. The Department will be reasonable and flexible in determining where justifiable circumstances or mitigating factors exist.

Additional Guidance on the Use of Project Capitalization Rates:

The Department would like to provide general guidance regarding the usage of capitalization rates for Assisted Living projects. HUD believes that the capitalization rate should be a true reflection of conditions in the marketplace and the specific risks associated with a project. The Department is particularly concerned with the use (in some cases) of an approximate “risk free” capitalization rate for Assisted Living projects. The Department is not mandating a minimum capitalization rate. However, HUD may require justification/mitigation on Assisted Living projects if the capitalization rate used by the appraiser appears not to fully account for specific project and market related risks. This capitalization rate issue should be fully discussed in the Lender Narrative of the LEAN Application.

The Department believes that, in most but not all economic environments, the following debt service constant formula (Debt Service Constant + FHA MIP) multiplied by 1.25 would reflect reasonable guidance for the “minimum” capitalization rate for a proposed project. HUD would expect that the market realities of each project would dictate the capitalization rate to be used, which may be higher than the minimum formula. HUD does not wish to impose requirements for determining the capitalization rate and will defer to the USPAP appraisal standards to provide the definitive guidance on this issue. The Department’s guidance on capitalization rates is not mandatory and the Department understands that this guidance may not be as helpful as a guide when market and economic conditions are either highly optimistic or overly conservative and/or when the interest rate environment reflects unusually low or high project interest rates.

Example for calculating Cap Rate: 7% fixed interest rate plus the MIP of 50 basis points. {.0746+.50bp MIP=.0796*1.25=.0995 or 9.95%}. In this example, the minimum capitalization rate “guidance” is 9.95.

The revised guidance relative to the debt service coverage ratio, loan to value, and capitalization rates for assisted living projects shall apply to any future application for mortgage insurance where an FHA Project Number is issued after February 6, 2009. Alternatively, if the FHA number has not been issued but a project appraisal is underway, FHA will accept the lower DSCR of 1.3 for refinancing and 1.35 for new construction if an appraisal engagement letter was executed prior to February 6, 2009, and if appraisals using the lower DSCRs are finalized and provided to HUD prior to April 6, 2009. On projects that do not meet this revised guidance (where the FHA Project Number was issued on or prior to February 6, 2009) the Lender should provide a notification in the Check Transmittal Letter and Lender Narrative of the mortgage insurance application that provides for the discussion of the appraisal lender modifications.

Please note that the previous guidance on loan to value and debt service coverage on Section 232/223(f)’s for Skilled Nursing and Independent Living Facilities have not been revised.

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