Business & Real Estate

County sells first wave of affordable-housing bonds

Santa Clara County last week sold the first $250 million of general obligation bonds to build affordable housing for vulnerable populations, including the homeless, disabled and foster youth, and offer loan assistance to first-time homebuyers.

Voters approved the $950 million Measure A bond in November 2016 to combat the region’s problems with homelessness and lack of affordable housing.

The initial bonds will cover the expenditures for approximately 18 months after the transaction closes this month.

“This initial bond sale is the beginning of a movement to build affordable housing like Santa Clara County has never seen,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, one of the primary architects of the affordable-housing bond measure.

The bonds were issued on a taxable basis with a final maturity date of Aug. 1, 2047. Standard & Poor’s and Fitch conducted credit reviews on the bonds and assigned ratings of AAA and AA+, respectively, both giving the bonds a “stable” outlook.

The initial $250 million will be alloted in the following increments.

• $25 million for down-payment assistance loans to eligible first-time homebuyers for housing that is affordable for moderate-income individuals and families.

• $11.9 million for a predevelopment loan program for feasibility studies, appraisal fees, architectural fees for preliminary work, legal and permit fees, etc.

• $213.1 million for site acquisition and development of multifamily rental units for vulnerable populations.

The remaining $700 million in bond funds will be issued over the next three to 10 years.

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