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De Blasio Unveils Housing Plan | City Solutions to Rising Rents | Costs of the Mayor’s Plan

Housing Starts | May 6th 2014

(credit: Ozier Muhammad, The New York Times)

  1. De Blasio unveils plan to create more affordable housing for city. Mayor Bill de Blasio took to Brooklyn and the Bronx on Monday to outline an ambitious housing plan that envisions adding density to New York City by encouraging the construction of more residential buildings while ensuring that they include affordable homes for poor and middle-income residents. Mr. de Blasio said the city would commit $8.2 billion of public money to creating and maintaining affordable units and would work to secure more than $30 billion in private funds. [The New York Times – 05/05/14]
  2. Rent too high? Move to Singapore. Luxury towers are sprouting up, adding density to unlikely places, from the Brooklyn waterfront to San Francisco’s Mid-Market district. But adding inventory to the high end does nothing to help the middle - one of the many irritating peculiarities of the 21st-century boomtown housing market. Building new apartments can actually push rents higher, and amenities for the masses, like transportation and parks, may have the effect of pricing them out. Everyone wants to live in these places, so no one can afford to. What’s a global city to do? [The New York Times – 04/29/14]
  3. Costs threaten New York City Mayor’s rent plan. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push to give rent-regulated tenants a holiday from rent increases this year is running into the reality of unexpectedly high cost increases for landlords. Rising insurance bills, high fuel costs from a harsh winter and a heavier city-tax burden drove landlord operating costs 5.7% higher in the year that ended on March 31, according to a report by the staff of the city Rent Guidelines Board. Last year, the staff had forecast costs in that period would rise 2.6%. [The Wall Street Journal – 04/30/14]
  4. Overhaul bill criticized for ending affordable housing goals. There’s a fight in Washington over the future of homeownership in America. At issue is a bipartisan bill to dramatically reshape the housing finance industry - the industry that was at the heart of the financial crisis. It’s also an industry that’s at the heart of the American dream - and the bill before Congress may affect who can afford to buy a house. [NPR News – 05/05/14]
  5. Residents sue over Prospect Park Residence closure. Residents slapped Prospect Park Residence with a lawsuit Friday morning, looking to halt the senior assisted-living facility’s planned closure. The group’s suit in Brooklyn State Supreme Court says the Department of Health erred in approving the closure plan, which was announced in March along with the news that residents had 90 days to move before the facility closes. The suit, which also accuses the residence operator of already cutting back on essential services and not helping residents find new housing, aims to force the DOH to force the residence operator to keep Prospect Park Residence open, at least temporarily. [The Real Deal Magazine – 05/02/14]
  6. Millionaires living in rent-stabilized apartments. Citizens Budget Committee and DNAinfo crunched the census numbers and found that in 2010, 22,642 of the city’s 970,000 rent-stabilized apartments(approximately 2.3 percent) were occupied by households making more than $199,000. [Curbed NY – 04/30/14]
  7. Adjustable rate mortgages making a comeback in New York as local homebuyers face rising interest rates and sky-high prices. A type of loan that hit the skids following the housing meltdown is starting to look good again to New York homebuyers. Adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMS, were widely blamed for playing a big part in the financial crisis. Lured by their low initial payments, homeowners barreled in, only to watch their mortgages reset to unaffordable levels. As interest rates sunk to historic lows in recent years, the ARMs market dried up. But with mortgage rates up a full percentage point from a year ago, these once-shunned loans are becoming an increasingly attractive option, especially for high-end borrowers in New York’s pricey housing market. [New York Daily News – 05/05/14]
  8. Pilot program offers stable housing to homeless LGBT youth. Approximately 40 percent of homeless young adults in the U.S. identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to a study from The Williams Institute at UCLA Law. And although LGBT youth make up a disproportionately large percent of the homeless population, there are relatively few safe places for them to stay. A pilot program run by a Massachusetts nonprofit is now working to address that problem across the state. [WBUR News – 05/05/14]
  9. China’s mega-cities are combining into mega-regions, but they’re doing it wrong. You may never have heard of the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, but by some measures it is one of the largest and fastest-growing cities in the world, with an official population of 29 million-about the same as Saudi Arabia-and an unofficial population of 32 million or more. The city center of Chongqing boasts a mere 9 million people, but dozens of satellite districts such as Fuling (population 1 million) and Wanzhou (1.6 million) are each major cities in their own right. In total, Chongqing covers an area the size of Austria, and it’s about to become part of a mega-region that is even larger, part of a move in China to create the biggest urban municipalities on Earth. [The Atlantic Cities – 05/05/14]
  10. Fair-housing collision in Westchester. The Anti-Discrimination Center, which filed the lawsuit that led to the settlement, issued a report this month blasting not just the county and Mr. Astorino, but also the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the United States attorney for the Southern District and the court-appointed monitor overseeing the settlement, James Johnson. The report says the involved parties are not moving quickly or forcefully enough, or in some cases at all, to pressure Westchester into meeting the conditions of the agreement. [The New York Times – 05/01/14]
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