Apartments in rural America

Tax Considerations for Rural Housing Preservation

Tax Relief Rural Research Brief coverA crisis is building for many federally supported rental properties, which are an important source of affordable housing for low-income rural residents. Particularly, USDA Section 515 mortgages are nearing the ends of their terms, and property owners may wish to convert their properties to other uses (for example, market-rate housing) or sell them to others who will convert them. If owners sell to entities that will continue to use them as affordable rentals, rural tenants benefit and the existing federal investment in these properties is protected. Yet many owners are reluctant to sell their properties for preservation because they will experience adverse tax consequences at sale. This paper explores those tax consequences, indicates where they may have the greatest impact, and suggests ways they might be mitigated in order to encourage preservation.

Tax consequences arise as a result of depreciation over the lifetime of a rental property. Federal tax law allows a rental property owner to reduce their annual tax liability by claiming depreciation in the property’s value every year. When the property is sold, however, tax law requires that a portion of the taxes deferred by depreciation must be recaptured. If a property’s market value has appreciated over time, a higher sales price can cover the depreciation recapture and also provide the seller with a profit. If the value has not appreciated, however – as is the case in many rural areas – or when a purchaser needs to buy at less than market value in order to preserve affordability, the tax liability can use up most or all of the sales receipts.

The paper presents several technical, market and legislative strategies that could help mitigate the identified tax-related barriers and enhance preservation efforts.

FHFA Publishes Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve Underserved Market Plans

Updated: December 18, 2017

FHFA Publishes Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve Underserved Market Plans

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has published Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Underserved Markets Plans for 2018-2020 under the Duty to Serve program. The Plans become effective January 1, 2018.

Fannie Mae’s Underserved Markets Plan

Freddie Mac’s Underserved Markets Plan

HAC Comments on Duty to Serve Underserved Market Plans – July 10, 2017

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) appreciates the opportunity to comment on Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve Underserved Markets Plans for Rural Markets. As a strong advocate for the Duty to Serve provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, HAC appreciates the time, effort, and resources FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac have undertaken to develop these underserved market plans. The core of HAC’s work for over four decades has been rural and underserved communities. HAC understands the complexities and difficulties of working in these communities. HAC also understands the promise and possibility of Duty to Serve to affect real and measurable change in these long overlooked and largely forgotten communities and people. We appreciate that FHFA and the Enterprises have not forgotten them, and we look forward to assisting you and the Duty to Serve effort generally to achieve its mandate to improve liquidity and access to affordable housing in underserved markets.

Given its organizational focus on rural housing, HAC focused largely on the Rural Markets component of the plans. HAC presents comments on each Enterprise’s plan separately. After the Enterprise-specific comments, HAC presents general comments and suggestions to the Enterprises and FHFA on issues of rural multifamily housing and preservation.

Read HAC’s full comments.

Fannie Mae Rural Purchase Activity, 2013-2015


Freddie Mac Rural Purchase Activity, 2013-2015


The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued a final rule to implement the Duty to Serve provisions which require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to serve three specified underserved markets – manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing – by improving the distribution and availability of mortgage financing in a safe and sound manner for residential properties that serve very low-, low- and moderate-income families.

Visit for the press release, final rule, fact sheet, public listening session details, timeline and more.

HAC Will provide a summary of the Duty to Serve Rule soon.

Stakeholder Webinar

FHFA will provide a high-level overview of the final rule and answer stakeholder questions via webinar on Monday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. ET.

You may submit questions in advance by emailing with “webinar question” in the subject line. Please submit your questions by COB Thursday, Dec. 15.

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 mandates that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a ‘Duty to Serve’ three traditionally underserved markets of:

  • Rural Housing
  • Manufactured Housing
  • Affordable Housing Preservation

The GSEs are tasked with increasing liquidity and investment capital in these markets.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a Proposed Rule on Duty to Serve on December 15, 2015. Comments to the Rule were due on March 17, 2016.

Link to Proposed Rule sent to Federal Register

HAC Resources on Duty to Serve

HAC Comments on Proposed Duty to Serve Rule – March, 17 2016

HAC Comments on Proposed Duty to Serve Rule – July 22, 2010

HAC Comments on Duty to Serve Advanced Notice of Rule Making – September 18, 2009

HAC Webinar on Duty to Serve

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) convened an interactive e-learning experience to assist housing providers and policymakers better understand the Duty to Serve Rule, and what it may mean for Rural America. The session was also intended to help inform comments to the Duty to Serve Rule.

Introduction | Power Point Presentation (22 MB) |Webinar Recording

Additional Resources on Duty to Serve

Interactive Map of Proposed Duty to Serve Rural Area

screen-capture-of-mapping-rural-america map

HAC’s Rural and Small Town Typology Database – Technical Documentation

Map of HAC’s Recommended Changes to FHFA Proposed Rural Area

DutyToServeMap FHFA HAC Recommended Changes

Map of GSE Loan Activity in Rural Areas

GSE Activity 2012 2014  Map

Map of FHFA Proposed Rural High-Need Areas and Persistent Poverty Counties

High Need Persistent Poverty Map

List of Suburban Tracts in FHFA Proposed Duty to Serve ‘Rural Areas’

List of Rural and Small Town Tracts Omitted From FHFA Proposed Duty to Serve ‘Rural Areas’