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About the Community Investment Explorer

Community Investment Explorer | About the Data

The Community Development department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has aggregated transaction-level data from three programs that drive investment into low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities—the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) program, New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program and Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. Collectively, these initiatives are responsible for several billion dollars of investment into LMI communities each year. The investments support a range of activities, from affordable housing to commercial real estate development, consumer and business lending, and more.

The Community Investment Explorer (CIE) was built to show geographic comparisons and trends over time in a way that is easily customizable. For example, some users will view the full range of investment activity; others, only business and commercial real estate loans. Some users will be interested in LIHTC data only related to developments that are new construction; others will want to see the entire range of construction types. Data can be customized for time (only one or two particular years or all available years) and geography (e.g., county-level comparisons, MSA comparisons and state-level comparisons). Within each geography type, you may select as many or as few locations to analyze as you wish.

Please note: If a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) does not appear in the location options, no investment activity has taken place in that location for the defined period of time. Also, investment amounts are not inflation-adjusted.   

Below are details about each specific program and data source.

About LIHTC Data

The LIHTC program, created in 1986, is the federal government’s primary program for encouraging the investment of private equity in the development of affordable rental housing for LMI populations. The data provides information on over 45,000 transactions in which housing developments were placed in service between 1987 and 2016. Please note that the LIHTC amount refers to the amount of credits allocated for transactions, not to the investment amount, since the price per credit paid by the investor is not available in this data set.


The two most recent years of the LIHTC database are known to undercount the actual number of placed-in-service properties. This is a continual problem. Most states are unable to provide a complete list of properties that were placed in service in the previous one or two calendar years because some properties begin leasing up and can claim the tax credits while some of the placed-in-service requirements are still being met. Therefore, the most recent data in the LIHTC database includes about half of the properties that were placed in service; the year prior to that includes approximately two-thirds of the actual properties.

Please also note that for some of the transactions there is missing data.  This includes missing data on some LIHTC allocation amounts.  To learn more, download the raw data on HUD’s website; the link is provided below.

LIHTC Variables Defined

  • Project-Based Assistance refers to HUD’s Section 8 project-based rental assistance contract, which is available from either/both the federal and state government.
  • LIHTC Subsidy refers to public subsidy dollars, aside from a project-based assistance contract, that are included in a LIHTC transaction. Subsidies include Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, HOME Investment Partnership funds (HOME) and HOPE VI funds.
  • LIHTC Govt. Insured Loans refers to FHA and USDA loans that were utilized in the financing of LIHTC transactions.
  • Difficult to Develop Area refers to an area designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with high construction, land, and utility costs relative to its Area Median Gross Income.

The raw data can be downloaded from HUD’s website.

About NMTC Data

The NMTC program enables economically distressed communities to leverage private investment capital by providing investors with a federal tax credit. The CDFI Fund has made more than 1,000 awards, allocating a total of over $50 billion in tax credit authority to Community Development Entities (CDE) through a competitive application process. The data in the CIE includes NMTC transactions originated by CDEs, a certification provided by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The NMTC investment amount in the CIE refers to the qualified low-income community investments (QLICIs) that are made through the program. Data on investments is available from program inception through 2016.

The raw data can be downloaded from the CDFI Fund’s website.

About CDFI Data

As mission-driven lenders, CDFIs leverage funding from private and public sources to meet the financing needs of disinvested communities, including small businesses, consumers, commercial real estate and affordable housing. Each CDFI is certified by the Treasury Department.

The data in the CIE consist of over 460,000 transactions that took place between 1987 and 2017. This represents investment and lending activity only from those CDFIs that received a financial assistance or technical assistance grant from the CDFI Fund in a given year. Therefore, it does not constitute the entire universe of CDFI lending and investment activity.

Also, for some transactions there is missing data on the investment terms, though the investment amount is included for each CDFI transaction. 

The CIE consolidates the categories pertaining to investment purpose from the CDFI Fund’s original number of categories into five—Business, Consumer, Residential Real Estate, Commercial Real Estate and Other (see chart below).

CDFI Fund Label

CIE Label
















Commercial Real Estate


Residential Real Estate


Residential Real Estate


Commercial Real Estate



The raw data can be downloaded from the CDFI Fund’s website.

For More Information

If you need more information or have questions about the CIE, please contact Mike Eggleston at