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80/20 Housing Bonds

The Commission's Multifamily Housing 80/20 Bond Program provides developers with access to tax-exempt bond financing.


Multifamily Housing Bond Financing Policy (PDF)

Information for Bond Lenders

What Your Lender Will Want to Know (PDF)

Multifamily Developer Guide: Complying with Tax Laws After the Bond Issue (PDF)

List of Eligible Underwriters (PDF)


Tax-exempt bonds, also known as private activity bonds, are bonds where the interest earned by the bondholder(s) is exempt from federal taxation. These bonds are used by nonprofit and for-profit developers to borrow funds for construction and other costs of developing affordable-housing. Because the interest is tax-exempt, the debt has lower interest rates than traditional financing. In return, the developer must set aside a certain percentage of units for low-income residents. The Commission issues two types of bonds: Multifamily Bonds and 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Housing Bonds.

Multifamily bonds are subject to annual volume limits (“Bond Cap”) based on the state’s population. In 2013, the Commission allocated nearly $243 million in bonds to multifamily housing projects across the state.


Multifamily rental housing

Limited equity cooperative

Assisted living with full living facilities

Single Room Occupancy (SRO) housing that does not have complete kitchens or baths

All projects financed with Multifamily Bonds must have at least 5 units and must set aside some units as low-income units.


The state limits the maximum level of tax-exempt Multifamily Bonds the Commission can issue in a given year. Therefore, developers must apply for an allocation of bond cap before bonds can be issued. The application process can be competitive if requests are greater than supply. At this time, the state has bond cap available. Contact us.


New construction

Acquisition with rehabilitation

Rehabilitation only


Developers may use the proceeds from tax-exempt bonds to pay for project development including:

Predevelopment costs

Land Acquisition

Construction & Equipping of Units

Common Areas

On-Site Recreation Facilities

Parking Areas Included with Rents

Laundry Facilities


Internal Revenue Code requires users of tax-exempt Multifamily Bonds to reserve a percentage of the total units financed for low-income residents. The minimum requirement under the code is either 20% of the total units set aside for households with incomes at or below 50% of median income; OR 40% of the units set aside for households with incomes at or below 60% of median income.

Maximum Household Income Required to Qualify Residents


If more than 50% of a project is financed with tax-exempt Multifamily Bonds, the project may access the 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credit without competing for an allocation of LIHTCs. Projects must first submit an application and score a minimum of 30 points on the Qualified Allocation Plan. Using bonds with tax credits allows developers to combine low interest rates on long-term debt with a substantial equity contribution from an allocation of LIHTCs. While LIHTCs cannot be used with 501(c)(3) bonds, nonprofit developers can access LIHTCs by forming a partnership with a for-profit tax credit investor and applying for Multifamily Bonds.


David Clifton, Assistant Director
Multifamily Housing and Community Facilities
1000 Second Ave, Ste. 2700
Seattle, WA 98104
mailto: david.clifton@wshfc.org
Website: www.wshfc.org
Direct Line: 206.287.4407


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Washington State Housing Finance Commission  
1000 Second Avenue, Suite 2700
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206.464.7139 or 800.767.4663
Fax: 206-587-5113
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