Multifamily Assistance Center & BIP Database

UNHP first noticed a significant gap between rising Bronx multifamily sales prices and flat net operating income in 2000. This growing disconnect not only prevented us from continuing to work assisting tenant groups to purchase buildings, but also rekindled memories of a time in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Freddie Mac over-financed and then foreclosed on a large number of Bronx multifamily properties. In 2003 and 2004 we proactively set out to limit the damage of speculative investment to Bronx properties and neighborhoods through the creation of the Multifamily Assistance Center and the Building Indicator Project (BIP) database.

The Building Indicator Project (BIP) is a database developed by UNHP to identify NYC multifamily properties in physical and/or financial distress. UNHP worked with financial institutions, appraisers, property managers, and research organizations over a number of years to develop a scoring system that accurately reflects current conditions and is a proven indicator of financial or physical distress in a property. The BIP database features a specially designed formula using housing and building code violations, various city liens, and other building information to create a weighted scoring system to indicate distress. Based on numerous physical inspections and feedback from BIP users, a score of 800 or more classifies a property as likely to be physically and/or financially distressed.

The BIP database has identified more than 8,000 properties in physical and/or financial distress at some point between 2008 and 2012, nearly 2,000 of which scored above 800 at the close of 2012.  Through our Multifamily Assistance Center, UNHP has been able to work successfully with lenders, public agencies, foundations and community groups to improve these distressed properties for the more than 200,000 families that live in a building that has ever scored above 800. One major lender has used the BIP scoring to prioritize inspections and follow up with services and owners to see an improvement in half of the high scoring properties. A community group was able to use the BIP to work with the lender and ultimately the landlord and HPD to gain improvements in a very high scoring building. UNHP highlighted the work of the BIP at our 2011 Affordable Housing Forum and corresponding report, New York City’s Multifamily Housing in Distress. The report was downloaded over 60,000 times in the 18 months since its release.

BIP data has been useful in numerous research projects, organizing campaigns, and has been cited directly and indirectly in the press and in a number of recent Community Reinvestment Act examinations. Financial Institutions and community groups can apply for a subscription to BIP data. Contact us to find out more.

Looking over BIP data at a Multifamily Assistance Center meeting.
Looking over BIP data at a Multifamily Assistance Center meeting.

The UNHP Multifamily Assistance Center is committed to preserving the affordability and improving the habitability of multifamily buildings in the Northwest Bronx and New York City. The Assistance Center is a collaborative effort between UNHP and major multifamily lenders, foundations, public agencies, owners, and managers to preserve affordable, quality housing in Northwest Bronx and other low income neighborhoods in NYC. Using UNHP’s own Building Indicator Project (BIP) as one of the main tools along with other data, demographics, and rent levels, these groups discuss the Bronx housing market, sales price and operating expense data and trends, and underwriting and servicing criteria. UNHP has held yearly financial roundtable meetings to discuss housing trends and share lender portfolios since 2006. These meetings have been attended by over 20 major lenders, two different HPD Commissioners, and two national housing foundations.

The Homeowner Outreach Database (HOOD) includes basic property information for nearly 580,000 one to four family homes throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan as well as data on outstanding property tax and water charges. It is designed to work as an outreach tool for homeowners at risk of foreclosure and/or lien sales and water shutoff. UNHP uses the HOOD to identify homeowners to participate in our homeowner resource fairs.

Community groups interested in offering foreclosure prevention services to targeted areas in the four boroughs covered by HOOD can request data downloads. Contact us to request information.

Coupled with organizing by the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition in the Millbank portfolio, UNHP's BIP database led to the creation of the Proactive Preservation Initiative at HPD.
Coupled with organizing by the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition in the Millbank portfolio, UNHP's BIP database led to the creation of the Proactive Preservation Initiative at HPD.

UNHP Publications

Accomplishments

  1. The BIP database tracks the levels of physical and financial distress on 62,000 NYC multifamily apartment buildings.
  2. UNHP collaborates with more than 20 banks to improve conditions in the buildings in their portfolios.
  3. BIP data is used by federal regulators, numerous lenders, and more than 20 community groups.

“UNHP's BIP inspired HPD to create our own measures of financial and physical distress. The light UNHP shines on troubled portfolios of even the strongest banks has been a critical component in the success of our Overleveraged Properties Initiative.”

— Rafael E. Cestero, Former Comissioner, NYC Department of HPD