Residential Services

VSI provides market analyses for every type of residential alternative. Because our studies are often included with state or HUD applications, it is critical that our studies meet the required guidelines. We routinely monitor and review market study guidelines and maintain constant communication with our clients to ensure that our studies meet and exceed their expectations.

VSI also offers preliminary analyses, which show preliminary support levels and can assist a developer in formulating a product. The preliminary analysis is often a first-step to help a developer decide if he should even enter a market.

Through detailed field research and extensive evaluation of age- and income-qualified households, we can provide reliable conclusions and recommendations for the feasibility of any residential project.

Tax Credit/Section 42 Apartments

Since 1986, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) IRS Section 42 Affordable Housing Program has facilitated financing for several hundred thousand affordable, high-quality rental housing units for income-qualified households, many of whom use LIHTC housing as a step up from public housing or other subsidized situations, on their way to market-rate rental housing or home ownership. This highly successful program enables both for-profit and nonprofit developers to receive up-front financing for these projects.

VSI has completed thousands of market studies for Tax Credit projects nationwide and provides market studies that are customized to meet the scoring criteria and guidelines required by each state. We have completed market studies for projects in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. VSI is also hired directly by several state finance agencies to provide site-specific market studies for their allocation process.

Because of VSI's experience evaluating Tax Credit projects in nearly every type of market imaginable, the firm understands how market conditions impact a project. VSI often provides preliminary assessments of a market to determine initial support levels to help clients determine whether they should pursue developing in that market.

HUD 221(d4)

New construction projects and existing developments may be built/renovated, refinanced and insured under a variety of programs offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). VSI consults with housing authorities nationwide concerning HUD-subsidized housing development, redevelopment and marketability. VSI works with HUD approved lenders in using the 221(d4) mortgage insurance program to assist in development of market-rate multifamily housing.

HUD requires that market studies, for multifamily projects using HUD guarantees, follow a specific format based on the Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) guide, initially published in 2000, and recently revised in 2002. The VSI MAP-formatted study adheres to the specific guidelines established by the MAP guide. We have produced and presented dozens of studies to HUD offices nationwide.

Rent Comparability Studies

A Rent Comparability Study (RCS) must be submitted with a Section 8 contract renewal. Because the RCS is submitted to HUD, it must meet specific requirements and guidelines. The Rent Comparability Studies are prepared in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and the supplemental standards of HUD Chapter 9. Market rents are defined and estimated in accordance with Section 9-7 through Section 9-13 of Chapter 9, and the reports are prepared in accordance with Section 9-14 through Section 9-16 of Chapter 9.

The purpose of the RCS is to determine market rents for each unit type in the subject property. This is achieved by selecting comparable market-rate properties and making detailed adjustments to the rents based on the differences between the subject property and the comparable properties. The RCS must be prepared by or signed off by a state certified General Appraiser licensed in the state in which the subject property is located.

VSI has completed numerous Rent Comparability Studies for projects located throughout the country. Selecting proper comparable properties is a critical aspect of a proper RCS. Characteristics that are considered when determining comparability include: similarity of bedroom type, unit size (square feet), building design, age, quality, amenities and location to the subject property. Adjustments are made to the comparable property's rent that allow for the differences; this is done by using the HUD 92273-S8 grids.

USDA Section 515 Rural Development

The USDA offers a variety of assistance programs for the development of single-family and multifamily housing. VSI has extensive knowledge of the Rural Development Section of the 515 multifamily rental program, and has completed a number of feasibility studies for project construction and renovation using this financing program. VSI conducted multi-county analyses of need for migrant workers in southwestern Missouri and northeastern Michigan, analyzing the benefits of RD 515 and other USDA programs for low-income migrant-worker families.

USDA Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing

The U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing Program provides low-interest loans and grants to public or nonprofit agencies or to individual farmers to buy, build, improve, or repair housing for farm laborers.

VSI has completed several studies documenting the demand for farm labor housing. The studies have ranged from county- and region-wide needs assessments to site-specific feasibility studies. VSI is knowledgeable of the USDA requirements for studies that are submitted with Section 514/516 applications.

VSI has conducted site-specific and multi-county housing analyses targeting migrant workers in California, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

Tribal/Native American Housing

VSI provides several different consulting services for Native American tribal housing officials. They include, but are not limited to, market feasibility studies, housing needs assessments and student housing studies. Developments on reservation lands involve different market dynamics in terms of the types of available, existing housing and the target resident. Populations tend to be far less dense than within other market areas. In some locations, very little non-subsidized housing exists. Since 2003, the staff of VSI has completed more than 60 market studies for Native Americans on several different reservations and provided dozens of tribal governments with market studies and other research tools that are necessary when financing new construction or the renovation of existing housing.

Market-rate Apartments

Developers of market-rate, multifamily projects benefit from our extensive analytical experience in rental housing markets. While VSI focuses on the performance of the most comparable properties in each market, we also provide a comprehensive view of the overall rental market. This is critical, since it is important to identify where market opportunities and problems exist. Historically, we have assisted clients in determining concepts, scale, rents, site location and other elements crucial to successful rental developments.

Student Housing

Today's college students have more disposable income than ever before; consequently, they and their parents expect well-appointed student housing. The type of student housing required is typically dictated by particular trends within the academic institution. VSI possesses specific expertise in this rapidly fluctuating market. When preparing a student housing study, we interview both on- and off-campus housing representatives. This methodology tends to yield far more accurate results than US Census data. Our analysis of supply also incorporates data provided by large-holding landlords not affiliated with the institution. An assessment of area rental housing waiting lists also contributes to the accuracy of our student housing studies, enabling us to precisely identify need, design concept and target price point for any proposed student housing project.

In 2008, staff of VSI was commissioned by Campus Partners, in association with off-campus landlords, to conduct a Sophomore Residency Study for the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University. View the summary of the report here.

Housing Authority Portfolios

VSI can examine one property or all properties in a housing authority's portfolio to determine each property's current and long-term marketability. Read More


Condominiums and patio homes have become a viable housing choice attracting a divergent cross section of buyers. Start-up households and empty nesters increasingly look to condominiums and patio homes to satisfy their housing needs. VSI's condominium feasibility studies include a complete analysis of existing product, a market overview and an in-depth evaluation of demand, from a variety of demographic profiles and income groups. A VSI condominium study can also determine the specific type of project and price point that will have the greatest potential appeal within a given market.

Single-family Housing

The market for single-family homes is as diverse as the many types of developments and locations that exist. Single-family home developments run the gamut from small urban infill projects to estate lots, within burgeoning suburban areas. VSI can provide accurate analyses and recommendations to single-family home developers, ensuring that their projects are on target and will meet the expectations of a variety of markets, from low-income urban neighborhoods to upscale suburbia. Our studies address specific features that include, but are not limited to: lot sizes, products, price point and absorption potential.