Onboard Informatics will be releasing the Community 2009 update to our CoPilot and Neighborhood Navigator products in the coming weeks. For the CoPilot reports we will be including HUD Fair Market Rents. We have added two new reports to the Community Profile in Navigator: Smoking Ban information and HUD Fair Market Rents.
As was messaged last year, Onboard will no longer support certain debt/net worth fields. As a result the following tables will be eliminated from all CoPilot reports (both new reports and reports that were previously created and saved):
Now included in all CoPilot reports is a report on Fair Market Rents:
1. Smoking Ban data – This data will be provided at each geographic search level within Navigator. The data indicates whether an area has a smoking ban in place for the following:
A report will look like this:
2. Fair Market Rents – These estimates will also be provided at each geographic level. Navigator will show estimates for the following:
- One Bedroom
- Two Bedroom
- Three Bedroom
- Four Bedroom
This Fair Market Rents Report will look like this:
Onboard’s data team works diligently to estimate FMRs for our place, zip and county level data (not all counties are identified in HUDs base data). Please note that FMR values typically occur at a county or Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
The definition of FMR from the HUD website states:
“FMRs are gross rent estimates. They include the shelter rent plus the cost of all tenant-paid utilities, except telephones, cable or satellite television service, and internet service. HUD sets FMRs to assure that a sufficient supply of rental housing is available to program participants. To accomplish this objective, FMRs must be both high enough to permit a selection of units and neighborhoods and low enough to serve as many low-income families as possible. The level at which FMRs are set is expressed as a percentile point within the rent distribution of standard-quality rental housing units. The current definition used is the 40th percentile rent, the dollar amount below which 40 percent of the standard-quality rental housing units are rented. The 40th percentile rent is drawn from the distribution of rents of all units occupied by recent movers (renter households who moved to their present residence within the past 15 months). HUD is required to ensure that FMRs exclude non-market rental housing in their computation. Therefore, HUD excludes all units falling below a specified rent level determined from public housing rents in HUD’s program databases as likely to be either assisted housing or otherwise at a below-market rent, and units less than two years old.”
 Standard-quality rental housing units have the following attributes: Occupied rental units paying cash rent; Specified renter on 10 acres or less; With full plumbing; With full kitchen; Unit more than 2 years old, and Meals not included in rent.
 FMRs were initially set at the 45th percentile, but were reduced to the 40th percentile, beginning with the FY1995 FMRs. The vast majority of areas remain at the 40th percentile rent. However, certain areas are assigned the 50th percentile rent. Fiftieth percentile FMRs were established by a rule published on October 2, 2000, that also established the eligibility criteria used to select areas that would be assigned 50th rather than the normal 40th percentile FMRs. The objective was to give PHAs a tool to assist them in de-concentrating voucher program use patterns. The three FMR area eligibility criteria were: 1. FMR Area Size: the FMR area had to have at least 100 census tracts. 2. Concentration of Affordable Units: 70 percent or fewer of the tracts with at least 10 two-bedroom units had at least 30 percent of these units with gross rents at or below the 40th percentile two-bedroom FMR; and, 3. Concentration of Participants: 25 percent or more of the tenant-based rental program participants in the FMR area resided in the 5 percent of census tracts with the largest number of program participants. The rule also specified that areas assigned 50th percentile FMRs were to be re-evaluated after three years, and that the 50th percentile rents would be rescinded unless an area has made at least a fraction of a percent progress in reducing concentration and otherwise remains eligible. (See 24 CFR 888.113.)
Image Credit: Liz West on Flickr.com