March 15, 2016
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Total tax-exempt housing bond issuance increased substantially in 2015, an analysis recently released by The Bond Buyer (subscription required) finds. The gains in the housing bond market were widespread, with both single-family and multifamily bond volume rising last year.

According to the study, which is based on data from Thomson Reuters, 531 housing bond issuances totaling almost $16.7 billion in volume were issued in 2015, a 27 percent increase in volume over 2014. This includes more than $7.9 billion in single-family mortgage revenue bonds and $8.7 billion in multifamily bonds, representing increases of 38 percent and 18 percent, respectively, over 2014.

The increase in housing bond issuance was driven largely by new-money bonds, which increased 49 percent year-over-year. Refunding issues decreased 7 percent. This is a notable contrast from the municipal bond market as whole, which was driven largely by refundings.

The analysis finds that state agencies accounted for $13.3 billion in housing bond activity last year, up 37.5 percent from last year. Most of the other housing bonds were issued by local authorities, which issued almost $2.4 billion in housing bonds.

The Bond Buyer analysis states that total municipal bond volume in 2015 was $404 billion, 19 percent higher than in 2014 and the highest yearly issuance since 2010. It also shows that the sectors with the highest bond volume were education at $127 billion, general purpose at $93 billion, transportation at $48 billion, and utilities at $41 billion. Housing was the seventh largest sector, at $17 billion. The report does not distinguish between Private Activity Bond issuance and other municipal bond issuance.