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$350M for Affordable Housing | Re-Imagining Parking Regulations | Environmental Gentrification

Housing Starts | August 1st 2014

The former GM Mansfield-Ontario Metal Center OH, was sold to Brownfield Communities Development Co in 2012 (Eric Thayer/Reuters)

  1. $350 Million for New York’s Affordable Housing Effort “Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday announced a commitment of $350 million of public and private funding to pay for the renovation of 7,500 apartments, in what he called a ‘major step’ toward his 10-year goal of 200,000 new or rehabilitated homes for lower- and middle-income New Yorkers. A new revolving loan fund will focus on buildings with 20 to 100 units, Mr. de Blasio said, ‘because those are the backbone of so many neighborhoods that working people live in in this city.’” [New York Times – 07/30/14]
  2. Home Builders Venture into Urban Areas “Ten years ago, it was rare for a national home builder to venture into the condo and apartment market or to build in or near big cities, preferring to construct single-family homes for middle-class families in suburbia. But as demand increases for luxury condos in or near urban areas, national home builders are chasing those affluent buyers and their dollars. […] ‘The suburban markets aren’t seeing the same interest in spec-house development that we saw’ a decade ago during the housing boom, says Jonathan Miller, president of real-estate consultant Miller Samuel Inc.” [Wall Street Journal – 07/29/14]
  3. How Much Cleaning Up Brownfields Is Really Worth “Until now […] there’s never been a measure for the actual value of brownfield remediation nationwide. Is the government getting its money’s worth? According to a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the answer is yessir. Neighborhoods near brownfield cleanup sites, the study shows, enjoy a rise in housing values that can be dramatic. The paper, which is the work of Kevin Haninger, Lala Ma, and Christopher Timmins, advances recent research into ‘environmental gentrification’—which the authors describe as ‘a process whereby changes in the socioeconomic characteristics of a community accompany changes in environmental amenities.’” [CityLab – 07/29/14]
  4. Stabilizing Economy, Consumer Confidence Boosting Home Sales “Despite increasing prices, demand in the NYC home sales market remains strong, according to the Real Estate Board of New York’s (REBNY’s) 2014 Second Quarter NYC Residential Sales Report. The Second Quarter market report results show that NYC has a growing economy and that people still see the City as a good place for families and homeownership. As prices soar in the Manhattan residential sales market, potential buyers are expanding their geographic considerations to the other boroughs in search of more affordable homes.” [Real Estate Weekly – 07/30/14]
  5. Banks’ Slowdown on Mortgage Aid Hurts Borrowers, Audit Says “Lenders aren’t keeping pace with a mounting backlog of applications for federal mortgage aid, placing some borrowers at increasing risk of losing their homes to foreclosure, according to an auditor’s report. Servicers including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., and Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC are processing only a fraction of the applications they receive each month for the Home Affordable Modification Program, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said today. […] The number of borrowers waiting for a response to their requests for HAMP aid rose 65 percent between November and May, to 221,000, which the report called ‘an alarming trend.’” [Bloomberg – 07/30/14]
  6. Bank of America Said to Near U.S. Mortgage Accord “Bank of America Corp. is nearing a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department after raising its proposed offer to resolve probes into its sale of mortgage-backed bonds in the run-up to the financial crisis, according to people familiar with the talks. An agreement could cement Bank of America’s status as the firm punished hardest for faulty mortgage practices that spurred the housing bubble and collapse. The company, under Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan, has booked more than $55 billion in expenses tied to home loans, mostly linked to the disastrous 2008 takeover of subprime lender Countrywide Financial Corp.” [Crain’s New York Business – 07/31/14]
  7. Architects Design Fix For New York’s Retro Parking Requirements “Proponents of altering or eliminating the city’s existing mandates on parking (some of which are more than a half-century old) argue that the laws drive up construction costs and fill space that could be used to house people — or build other amenities such as parks and playgrounds. Now a design team called “9x18” (after the dimensions of a regulation-size city parking spot) has evaluated and reimagined current laws around parking tied to affordable housing.” [Architizer – 07/28/14]
  8. The Sustainable Mayor? “In his first six months as mayor, Bill de Blasio has prioritized pre-kindergarten, affordable housing and banning horse carriages, with varying degrees of success. One policy area he has yet to prioritize, according to some mainstream environmentalists, is sustainability. […] Recently, the New York League of Conservation Voters prodded the mayor to get moving on translating some of these promises into reality. The Environmental Defense Fund said de Blasio has ‘been silent’ on sustainability in housing in particular.” [Capital New York – 07/30/14]
  9. Graphing New Yorkers’ Lives Through the Open Data Portal “Ben Wellington is the man behind I Quant NY, a blog dedicated to telling the stories hidden in New York City’s Open Data Portal, a clearinghouse of more than 1,300 data sets from city agencies. Started by the city government in 2011, the open data initiative’s goal is to facilitate government transparency and increase civic engagement. The blog itself comes out of a stats course Wellington teaches at Pratt Institute’s graduate program for city and regional planning, where he uses these data sets in coursework.” [CityLab – 07/30/14]
  10. NYC’s Smallest Private Plot of Land isn’t Much Bigger Than a Pizza Slice “The story behind the 500 square inches of land is as entertaining as it is inspirational. Around 1910, New York City started buying up property in what is now the West Village in order to extend the old IRT subway line further downtown. David Hess, however, refused to sell his five-story apartment building at Christopher Street and Seventh Avenue. But citing eminent domain law, the city took it anyways, leaving Hess with just a tiny triangle of land to call his own.” [Gizmondo – 07/28/14]
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