Housing Finance

Hawkins has a well-established reputation as the leading firm in the country for experience and expertise in housing finance programs, including transactions involving single-family and multi-family mortgage loans.

Hawkins’ record as the most active Bond Counsel for housing issues and our experience in working with state housing finance agencies cannot be matched.  Hawkins acts as Bond Counsel, disclosure counsel, or underwriters’ counsel for more state housing finance agency bonds than any other firm.  Hawkins is currently retained as Bond Counsel for the following state housing finance agencies:

Bond Counsel

Arkansas Development Finance Authority (single-family issues)
State of California (Veterans general obligation single-family mortgage bonds)
California Department of Veterans Affairs (Veterans single-family revenue bonds)
California Housing Finance Agency (all new single-family issues)
Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (all issues)
Florida Housing Finance Corporation (select single-family and multifamily issues)
Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (select issues)
Illinois Housing Development Authority (select single-family and multifamily issues)
Michigan State Housing Development Authority (all multifamily conduit issues)
Nevada Housing Division (single-family issues)
State of New York Mortgage Agency (all issues)
New York State Housing Finance Agency (select multifamily issues)
regon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (all issues)
Oregon Housing and Community Services Department (single-family issues)
Pennsylvania Housing Financing Agency (select issues)
Puerto Rico Housing Finance Authority (all issues)
Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation (multifamily issues)
Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority (single-family issues)
Virginia Housing Development Authority (all issues)
West Virginia Housing Development Fund (all issues)

Hawkins also participates as counsel as set forth below:

Underwriters’ Counsel

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (all issues)
Community Development Administration of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (select issues)
Maine State Housing Authority (all issues)
Michigan State Housing Development Authority (all program issues)
Nevada Housing Division (select multifamily issues)
New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (select issues)
Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation (single-family issues)
Tennessee Housing Development Agency (all issues)

Special Tax Counsel

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (Veterans single-family mortgage bonds)

Disclosure Counsel

Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (all issues)

Hawkins was ranked as the number one bond counsel in 2015 for state housing finance agency issues and has been so ranked for every year since such ratings have been maintained, according to industry statistics compiled by Thomson Reuters.  The accumulated rankings are shown below.


1 Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP 83,293.5
2 Kutak Rock LLP 48,380.0
3 Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP 39,553.8
4 Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll   27,516.8
5 Dorsey & Whitney 14,498.7

Hawkins also has been ranked as the number one underwriters' counsel for state housing finance agency issues over the period during which such rankings have been maintained, according to Thomson Reuters, as shown below.

1 Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP 58,207.4
2 Kutak Rock LLP 39,658.2
3 Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP 26,893.3
4 Ballard, Spahr LLP 14,573.2
5 Tobin Carberry O'Malley Riley & Selinger PC 10,455.2

Hawkins has been critically involved with state housing agency financings since the inception of the first state housing finance agencies in the 1960s, and that involvement has continued to the present day. We currently participate in transactions for more state housing finance agency bonds than any other law firm, any financial advisor or any investment bank.

Hawkins brings to an engagement both the history of the industry (including knowledge of transition rules and the earliest arbitrage rules) and innovation: we participated in and helped to structure the first convertible option bonds, the first pre-Ullman refundings, the first taxable conversion bonds during sunset and the first taxable replacement refundings. The breadth of our state housing experience means we see and assist in the most innovative and complicated structures relevant to state housing agencies.

Most Experienced Legal Team
The Firm’s Housing Group is led by Howard Zucker, who is the co-author, along with Hawkins partner Joseph P. Rogers, Jr., of the leading publication in the field, ABCs of Housing Bonds, first published in 1985 and now in its 5th edition. Mr. Zucker served as Chairman of the Single Family Housing Workshops of the National Association of Bond Lawyers (“NABL”) for three years and is a past President of the 3000-member NABL. Mr. Zucker has participated in the issuance of more state housing finance agency bonds than any other lawyer in the country. In addition, Kathleen Orlandi participates currently in the issuance of more state housing finance agency bonds than any tax lawyer in the country. Ms. Orlandi has also served as Chair of the Single Family Housing Workshops of NABL. In addition, the Firm has many other bond and tax attorneys with significant state housing finance experience, which allows Hawkins to draw upon its pool of additional experienced attorneys to assure qualified and timely attention to client matters.

IRS and Treasury Experience
Our practice involves regular contact with the persons at the IRS and the Treasury Department who are involved in tax policy matters. Our Tax Department regularly monitors and participates in the amendment of the federal tax statutes and regulations. We confer, when appropriate, with staff of the Treasury Department and the IRS with respect to the development of regulations and interpretations under the Internal Revenue Code and generally prepare extensive written comments to proposed regulations when published.

"Cap Management" Experience
In 1993, when the universal cap first became operative for housing issues, Hawkins began advising its issuer clients to undertake a “universal cap management plan” which, by addressing this provision on an indenture-wide basis, enables an issuer to better control de-allocation consequences. Many of our state housing finance issuer clients have engaged us specifically, outside any bond issue, to assist in the creation of the data base that controls the universal cap calculation. We have actively worked with issuers in mitigating yield restrictions, rebate payments and yield reduction payments through structuring techniques such as paired bonds, adjusted convertible option bond remarketings, reimbursements to take advantage of the spending exceptions to rebate, and taxable economic refundings that allow full retention of all spread and investment earnings without forgoing later replacement refundings.

Housing Regulations Expertise
Hawkins’s Housing Regulations practice is nationally recognized for its expertise in the areas of housing bonds, low-income housing tax credits, federal housing subsidy, mortgage insurance and loan sale programs, public housing privatization, state and local agency housing assistance, credit enhancement, Mortgage-Backed Securities and Delegated Underwriters' Servicing programs, military housing, and Congressional and agency advocacy in the areas of housing policy and taxation. We represent lenders, developers, syndicators, federal, state and local housing agencies (including bond issuers and tax credit administrators), credit enhancers, trustees and other market participants. In the area of tenant income verification, we are able to draw on our extensive HUD experience, as described below, important due to the fact that income calculation and verification are based on HUD Section 8 regulations. We also draw on the breadth of our multi-family representation which is now in its fifth decade. We have worked with many of our state housing issuer clients since the time the earliest tenant income requirements were imposed and assisted in writing their program guides, regulatory agreements and compliance forms. Not one of our housing clients has ever had its income verification procedures challenged by the IRS or HUD. 

Disclosure Compliance
Hawkins is experienced in all areas of the federal securities laws as they relate to municipal securities, including the application of Rule 10b-5 and Rule 15c2-12 to municipal securities transactions, and is thoroughly familiar with the recent Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement actions, particularly as they apply to housing issuers. For more information on our Disclosure Compliance practice, see Securities Law Disclosure. 

Strength in Analytical Capabilities
Hawkins is one of the few law firms to maintain an in-house staff of financial analysts and has done so for over 20 years. Hawkins believes that it is extremely important to have both the tax and the quantitative financial expertise in-house to provide analytical tax services of the highest quality. Shortly after the general arbitrage regulations were introduced in 1972, the Firm added a financial analyst to its staff in the tax department to provide numerical calculations related to tax-exempt financings for its bond counsel clients. In 1981, the Firm began preparing arbitrage rebate calculations for single family bond issues. In 1986, the Firm began preparing arbitrage rebate calculations for all types of tax-exempt bonds.

Hawkins has prepared or verified hundreds of arbitrage rebate and yield restriction calculations for various types of transactions on behalf of its issuer clients. Importantly, because of the Firm’s considerable expertise in the arbitrage rebate area, the Firm believes that it can provide the highest quality, value-added arbitrage rebate services. The Firm believes that critical components of high quality arbitrage rebate services include making this area as administratively simple as possible for issuers and providing insightful interpretation of the applicable arbitrage regulations. In addition, the Firm believes that sound tax judgment in interpreting the arbitrage regulations is a strong component of minimizing prudently the arbitrage rebate liabilities of its issuer clients.

Innovative Use of Derivatives
With respect to the prudent use of financial products, we have been at the forefront. For example, for the Connecticut Housing Finance Agency, in 1998, we structured the first single family floating-to-fixed interest rate swap that qualified to be “super-integrated” as part of yield for arbitrage purposes to produce a fixed yield bond issue. This was not easy because it is difficult to structure the swap properly in light of prepayments of loans and the 10-year rule restriction on recycling.

Primary Contact:

Howard Zucker

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