Multi-Family Housing Property Tax Exemption Program (MFTE)

On September 26, 2023 the Fife City Council approved adopting a multi-family housing property tax exemption (MFTE) pilot program via Ordinance No. 2105.

MFTE RTA mapResidential Target Area (RTA) outlined in bold red. Dashed red line is the boundary of the future city center.

What is MFTE?

Washington State's Multi-Family Housing Property Tax Exemption (MFTE) program was created in 1995 to incentivize residential development in designated "residential target areas" (RTAs). Under RCW 84.14, cities and counties have the authority to offer property tax exemptions on the residential improvements of multifamily projects within defined locations for a designated period of time. Depending on the length of the property tax exemption and a jurisdiction's individual program regulations, including affordable units in the project may be an option or a requirement. MFTE programs are a tool to help jurisdictions meet their local housing goals and promote economic development.

How Does MFTE Work?

Under Fife's MFTE program, property developers can apply for a 12-year property tax exemption on the value of the residential improvements of a multifamily project in the residential target area (see map). Fife's MFTE program requires that twenty percent of units are affordable to households making eighty percent of Pierce County's area median income (AMI). The complete regulations of Fife's MFTE program may be found in the Fife Municipal Code (FMC) Chapter 3.95.

Benefits of MFTE for Developers

1.    Financial Incentives: Developers benefit from significant property tax savings during the exemption period, which can enhance the financial viability of their projects.

2.    Market Competitiveness: MFTE can make your development more attractive to renters, as it offers affordable housing options in desirable locations.

3.    Community Reputation: Participation in the MFTE program demonstrates your commitment to community development and affordable housing, enhancing your reputation as a socially responsible developer.

Benefits of MFTE for the Community

1.    Increased Residential Opportunities: MFTE encourages the construction of housing units, including affordable units, within the residential target area.

2.    Diverse Communities: Affordable housing options help create diverse and inclusive communities, fostering social and economic stability.

3.    Economic Growth: Helps achieve development densities that promote economic investment, as well as stimulate the local economy by increasing the population and support for neighboring businesses.

How to Get Started

Application materials are currently being created and additional information and guidance will continue to be added to this site. 

If you are a property developer interested in participating in Fife's MFTE program, please contact our Planning Department at 253-922-9625 or via email.