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Expanded Oklahoma Affordable Housing Tax Credit to Kick in Nov. 1

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Housing groups are applauding lawmakers and the governor for getting changes to Oklahoma’s affordable housing tax credit passed into law.

As of Nov. 1, a population cap of 150,000 will be lifted, making the credit available for projects in Tulsa, Cleveland and Oklahoma counties. Projects in the state's three most populous counties qualify for federal tax credits under current law.

"But now you can get the state tax credit on top of that, which closes the financial gap to do the construction. So, it’s a big advantage to those three counties now," said Mental Health Association Oklahoma Chief Housing Officer Greg Shinn.

Builders may still claim credits in equal portions over 10 years, but another change will cut the amount of time unused credits can be carried over from five years to two.

"But that was really not a concern of the Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing or the mental health association or other developers. What would have been a concern would be cutting the length of the tax credit," Shinn said.

A 2015 housing needs survey showed Oklahoma needs around 12,000 new units of affordable housing by 2020. A little more than 2,000 have been built so far.

"Our goal is to develop thousands of units across the state for both homeownership — truly affordable housing so people can get into the home ownership market — as well as on the multifamily rental side, where people are not cost burdened and they can pay no more than 30 percent of their monthly income," Shinn said.

The state will still cap the affordable housing tax credit at $4 million per year.