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Property Tax System Faces Challenges | More Aid for Homeless Youth | Re-thinking Real Estate

Housing Starts | March 4th 2014

(credit: Robert Walker/The New York Times)

  1. New York City’s Property-Tax System Faces a Challenge Property-Tax System Faces A Challenge While blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately represented among renters, they also make up a significant group of homeowners in Brooklyn and Queens. A study by the Furman Center at New York University found that some minority neighborhoods such as East New York and Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn had among the lowest effective tax rates-the amount of taxes paid as a percentage of the property’s value. [The Wall Street Journal – 02/26/14]
  2. Homeless children in New York City need more aid, says City Council. New York City Council members are urging Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to provide increased assistance for the city’s homeless children. A hearing was held Thursday to discuss the city’s next steps on improving shelter conditions, the New York Times reports. At the hearing, Gilbert Taylor, the new homeless services commissioner, promised to forge a new relationship with homeless advocates. ‘Thinking about ways we can improve life outcomes for children, particularly children who are in the shelter system, is at the forefront of my agenda,’ Taylor said. ‘I’ve always said you can’t help them unless you help their families.’ [The Huffington Post – 03/28/14]
  3. The ‘new old’ way we market American real estate.

  4. In Gracie Mansion’s attic, mayors and their children find a flexible space.  The spacious wooden-beamed attic of Gracie Mansion has served many purposes over the years: as a playroom, a workout room and a secret lair where a mayoral child experimented with cigarettes. But for Mitchel London, the gruff but affable restaurateur who these days runs the Fairway CafĂ© on the Upper West Side and several other Manhattan eateries, it was home. [The New York Times – 03/03/14]
  5. Where it’s hardest for the poor to make their rent. Many Americans struggle to afford a decent, safe place to live in today’s market. Over the past five years, rents have risen while the number of renters who need moderately priced housing has increased. These two pressures make finding affordable housing even tougher for the very poor households in America. For every 100 extremely low-income renter households in the country, there are only 29 affordable and available rental units. Extremely low-income households-a definition used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-earn 30 percent of area median income or less. Depending on the area of the country, for a family of four, this translates into incomes of less than $7,450 to $33,300. [The Atlantic Cities – 03/03/14]
  6. Can a house be typhoon-proof and earthquake-proof at the same time? When Typhoon Haiyan tore through Tacloban on November 8, 2013, entire neighborhoods were crushed by the weight of the storm surge, or ripped apart by the 195-mile-per-hour winds of the strongest storm ever to make landfall. The scale of the devastation was overwhelming. Ten times the number of homes were damaged in the Visayan region of the Philippines as in the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. 4.4 million people were displaced from their homes - twice that of the Indonesian tsunami. The destruction was massive, but it provided an opportunity to rebuild homes that could better survive the next disaster. [Next City – 03/03/14]
  7. Domino Sugar plans in trouble. The $1.5 billion redevelopment of the landmarked Domino Sugar factory in Williamsburg is in jeopardy again. The de Blasio administration is insisting the developer of the project Two Trees Management, led by Jed Walentas, add more affordable housing, according to The New York Times. [Crain’s New York – 02/28/14]
  8. City eyes vacant lots to raise revenue, build affordable housing. Even in highly populated areas of New York, vacant lots of land exist. Exactly how many vacant properties exist in the five boroughs and what does the city government plan on doing about these spaces? Three officials attempted to answer these questions Friday at an oversight hearing hosted by the City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings. [The Epoch Times – 03/03/14]
  9. Refugee housing by Ikea.  The house comes in a flat pack that can be put together without tools. It is equipped with solar lighting and is portable… The house weighs 100 kilos and is expected to last three years compared to an average of less than one year for the current family tent. [The Atlantic – 03/03/14]
  10. With housing recovery, mortgage-market jobs dip. JP Morgan Chase announced this past week that it’s going to lay off 8,000 people this year, most of them in the company’s residential home loan business. Home sales are slowing nationwide and are now at their lowest point in 18 months. So, does that mean we headed for another housing swoon? [NPR – 03/02/14]
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