The program for streamlining mortgage applications for housing tax credit multifamily properties just got a lot bigger thanks to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) who announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is expanding the housing tax credit financing program.

HUD describes the move as a “significant expansion” of a pilot program that began in 2012 and was intended to streamline mortgage insurance applications for affordable housing developments that have equity through the housing tax credit program.

FHA says that under the new expansion, it will begin to support “new construction and substantial rehabilitation” under its Section 221(d)(4) and Section 220 programs.

“Today, we take another important step to stimulate capital investment in affordable housing at a time when we need affordable housing more than ever,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “We’re also applying the lessons we’ve learned from our earlier pilot program to streamline our processing for new construction and substantial rehabilitation developments, so we can get these deals done quicker and more efficiently.”

The pilot program makes processing transactions for housing tax credit properties faster (just 30 days under the Expedited Approval Process and 60 days for the Standard Approval Process — down from 90 days) by eliminating redundant reviews.

“A shorter application review period allows borrowers to lock in better interest rates sooner, an important capability in a rising interest rate environment,” HUD stated in a release.