Construction worker using a hammer

The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) equity market is strong and appears set to remain so, according to members of an Investor Outlook panel at the Novogradac 2021 Fall New Markets Tax Credit Conference.

“I expect 2022 to look similar to this year [surpassing the original goal],” said En Jung Kim, executive director of New Markets Tax Credit for Community Development Banking at JPMorgan Chase. “Outside of the traditional national NMTC investors we are seeing regional investors showing interest. How much of that investment gets absorbed into the $5 billion allocation will largely determine where we land. We certainly have the appetite for it.”

Panelists said that investors are interested in myriad types of developments, but that health care and other job-creating properties are very popular.

“Last year, a lot of health care projects were supported, which is not surprising because of the pandemic,” said Kim. “We’re also hearing about CDEs [Community Development Entities] that are very focused on job growth. Health care is a great story, great impact and great jobs, so there’s very strong interest—especially in rural areas and underserved states.”

Over the past few years, investors increased emphasis on social impact. Panelists said that affected investments.

“At the end of last year, we implemented a special purpose credit program with a racial equity component,” said Kim. “As part of that component, in addition to supporting high-impact NMTC projects, we’re focused on doing more CDFI [Community Development Financial Institutions] investing.”

Panelists concluded their discussion by providing counsel to qualified active low-income community businesses, the recipients of NMTC financing. The main point: Maximize your options.

Brad Elphick, the panel moderator, Novogradac partner and the head of the New Markets Tax Credit working group, said more is better.

“You don’t just shop to one CDE and hope they get an allocation,” said Elphick. “The success rate last time was at about 50%, so a lot of great CDEs didn’t get allocations.”

Adapted with permission from “NMTCs Equity Market Strong Heading into 2022, Novogradac Panelists Say,” Brad Stanhope, Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits, December 2021

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