NCHMA: Its Mission and History

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The National Council of Housing Market Analysts (NCHMA) is undertaking new initiatives as it continues its rebranding campaign to expand the organization’s mission and activities.

The group, originally called the National Council of Affordable Housing Market Analysts, is a subsidiary of the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA) that was formed in 2001 following the enactment of federal legislation requiring a market study for all low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) projects.

The law, however, left it to the 56 housing credit allocating agencies, mostly state housing finance agencies, to set their own requirements for market studies for LIHTC projects. This was the impetus for the formation of the Council, as leading preparers and users of market studies for affordable rental housing projects – market analysts, developers, syndicators, housing credit agencies, and lenders – came together “to define best practices for the industry,” says Thom Amdur, Executive Director of NCHMA and NH&RA.

NCHMA’s primary membership is market analysts, many of which are also appraisers. Additional members are tax credit syndicators and investors, lenders, housing finance agencies, and due diligence providers. A peer-driven organization, NCHMA’s activities and functions are carried out or guided by seven committees (see sidebar on p. 43).

Core Documents

The three core documents that the organization has developed are:

  • Model standards for the content of market studies for multifamily housing projects (“model content standards”);
  • A checklist or index for market studies; and,
  • A glossary of common terminology used in market studies.


Council members also certify that their market study report has have been prepared in accordance with NCHMA’s model content standards. In addition, NCHMA has developed ethics standards for market analysts.

The model content standards have been revised three times so far to reflect evolving industry best practices as well as feedback from NCHMA members and affordable housing stakeholders. “The model content standards,” says Amdur, “are the industry standard and define what is appropriate and necessary for residential real estate analysis.”

He added, “While extensive, the model content standards are not burdensomely proscriptive, giving analysts thorough guidelines while also allowing them the flexibility to focus on the specific factors most relevant in the market.”

Most state housing credit agencies have adopted the NCHMA model content standards in whole or part in their LIHTC market study requirements or otherwise incentivize participation in NCHMA and its member designation program. (See pp. 44-45 for state-by-state chart.)

A new NCHMA product is an FAQ document (Frequently Asked Questions). This amplifies upon the model content standards by providing guidance regarding certain special situations. An example would be when a market analyst should discuss the neighborhood crime rate in a market study. NCHMA drafted the FAQ after weighing comments submitted by the Affordable Housing Investors Council, a nonprofit organization for companies investing in federal housing tax credits.

New White Papers

NCHMA has also issued numerous “white papers” providing further detailed guidance on various aspects of market studies, such as the appropriate scope of work and how to calculate the market rent.

NCHMA is currently developing two new white papers on:

  • Senior Housing will provide an overview of the different types of affordable and market-rate senior housing products available today (e.g., independent apartments, assisted living) and highlight the special issues that a market analysts should be aware of in developing their studies. The document will also describe how to value services provided in a senior housing setting; and,
  • Assisted Living will describe what assisted living facilities are and the state policies that govern them.


Amdur said the new white papers should be finalized later this year.

Another current initiative is an ongoing dialogue between NCHMA, FHA lenders, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) focused on aligning the market study requirements for FHA-insured multifamily mortgages contained in its Guide for Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) lenders with NCHMA’s revised model content standards. HUD has already adopted many parts of the model content standards in earlier revisions of the MAP Guide and is expected to issue the next revised version in the near future.

Rebranding Campaign

The HUD initiative and NCHMA’s two new white papers are part of the first wave of new projects being undertaken by NCHMA as part of a rebranding of the organization approved in 2013. This rebranding, which included changing the group’s name to the National Council of Housing Market Analysts, is designed to extend the organization’s focus and membership beyond affordable multifamily rental housing to market analysis for conventional multifamily housing projects.

As NCHMA continues broadening its activities and influence in the multifamily housing industry, Amdur encourages non-members to join and “take a place at the table.”

“If you’re a market study provider,” he says, “this is really the only game in town where you can stay abreast of industry best practices. It’s almost a requirement for doing business because of the adoption of the organization’s standards by various user groups. Moreover, it’s the best opportunity to improve your skill set and professionalism through the continuing education.”

In addition, says Amdur, “It’s important that the main clients of market studies –housing finance agencies, syndicators, investors, and developers – also pay close attention to the work of this organization. It is their money and capital at risk. This is one of the last lines of defense in ensuring that you have a profitable, successful project. There’s a lot of long-term benefit to getting the market right and having staff in your respective shop that understand the components and value of these documents and can use them to guide your future activity.”

NCHMA’s Standing Committees


  • Executive Committee, made up of NCHMA’s officers, provides overall guidance for the organization;
  • Standards Committee develops best practices including the white papers;
  • Membership & Education Committee focuses on developing membership and educational programming, including agendas for NCHMA’s two yearly conferences;
  • FHA Lender & Underwriting Committee is involved in the dialogue on the MAP lenders guide;
  • Ethics & Professional Responsibility Committee investigates any ethics complaints against members;
  • Peer Review Committee coordinates the process under which market analysts must have one of their market studies reviewed by their peers every few years against the model content standards, in order to maintain NCHMA membership and certification; and,
  • Advisory Committee is a panel of market study users that provides feedback to NCHMA.

(For details on NCHMA and how to join, go to

  Timeline of NCHMA Achievements/Events


2001 National Council of Affordable Housing Market Analysts is formed by 12 founding members with the goal of promoting the professional and ethical practice of real estate market research.
2003 Releases: (1) Initial version of Model Content Standards for Affordable Rental Housing Market Studies, the first standards and best practices for residential market research; (2) Market Study Index; and (3) Market Study Certification statement.
2004 Issues white paper, Calculating Market Rent.
2004 Publishes white paper, Determining Market Area.
2005 Establishes Peer Review and Member Designation Program to enhance the professionalism and credibility of NCHMA members and the field of market research.
2006 Releases white paper, Selecting Comparable Properties.
2007 Issues revised Model Content Standards, Version 2.
2008 Establishes Code of Ethics.
2008 Releases white paper, Recommended Practices for Determining Demand.
2008 Creates first Market Analyst Directory.
2008 Issues white paper, Factors to Consider in Market Analysis of a Preservation Property.
2008 Releases white paper, Recommended Practices for Analyzing Turnover.
2009 Is approached by HUD and other stakeholders to participate and provide input on the White House’s Rental Policy Work Group initiative.
2011 Issues white paper, Demand and Capture Rate Methodologies.
2012 Releases white paper, Scope of Work & Reporting Options.
2012 Name is changed to National Council of Housing Market Analysts as part of the organization’s rebranding to expand its scope and mission to focus more broadly on all types of real estate market analysis.
2012 FHA/MAP Working Group formed
2013 Model Content Standards are revised and reorganized (Version 3) to better align with organization’s expanded mission.
2014 Releases Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document for Model Content Standards.