Housing Starts: Property Tax Causing High Rents? | Astoria Cove Affordable Housing | US Starts Fall

June 20th 2014

Astoria Cove development would sit on these Queens Waterfront (Photo Credit: Curbed NY)

  1. Is the Rent Too Damn High… Because of Property Taxes? “The ideal of home ownership runs through American history like a white picket fence. And that preference is reflected in New York City’s property tax system too. Now two renters are suing the city saying the system is discriminatory.One, two, and three family homes generally get the best deal under the current property tax system, and apartment buildings tend to pay pay a higher effective tax rate. Meanwhile, New York City’s complex method for assessing taxes tends to undervalue condos and co-ops compared to rentals and that often results in rental properties shouldering a bigger share of the tax burden.” [WNYC – 06/16/14]
  2. Who Lives in Rent-Regulated Housing? “While the opponents of rent regulation love to hold up the Faye Dunaways, Bianca Jaggers and polo-playing multi-millionaires in sprawling, $1,000-a-month Upper East Side getaway nests as proof that the laws benefit a select few who scarcely need the help, the majority of New Yorkers living in rent-stabilized apartments make less than $58,950 a year, according to NYU’s Furman Center, which recently released a profile of rent-stabilized units and tenants in the city.” [New York Observer – 06/18/14]
  3. Mayor Calls for Deep Thought But Not a Rent Freeze “Mayor Bill de Blasio didn’t answer directly on Tuesday when asked whether New York City’s rent-regulated tenants deserve a break from rent increases this year, though he had called for a rent freeze on the campaign trail in 2013. Mr. de Blasio said the job of the Rent Guidelines Board, the nine-member panel slated to vote Monday on changes in rent for nearly one million tenants citywide, is to “look at a lot of information and decide what makes sense, first and foremost, based on the actual facts, the actual numbers.” [Wall Street Journal – 06/17/14]
  4. Sluggish Housing Market A Product of Millions of ‘Missing Households’ “A year ago, the housing market looked like it was finally recovering. Sales and prices were picking up. But then home sales fizzled. Currently, they are down about 7 percent from last spring.A big part of why housing remains so stunted is that there are more than 2 million “missing households” in the U.S. That’s how economists describe the fact that fewer people are striking out on their own to find places to live.” [NPR – 06/18/14]
  5. Lenders Open Vault for Hotel Deals. “J.P. Morgan Chase JPM -0.83% & Co., Deutsche Bank AG and other firms are ramping up lending for lodging acquisitions and debt refinancing to levels not seen since before the financial crisis. Lenders made $31 billion in hotel loans last year, nearly double the 2012 level, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, while all commercial-property lending rose 47%.Credit is flowing against a backdrop of rising room rates, limited new construction and a spike in leisure and business travel in big cities such as New York and Los Angeles. Net operating income increased by 10% for the average U.S. hotel in 2013, according to PKF Consulting USA, which predicts “double digit annual gains” through 2015.” [Wall Street Journal – 06/17/14]
  6. Mel Watt Faces Tough Affordable Housing Question With Fannie & Freddie. “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulator Mel Watt will soon have to dive into the politically thorny debate over affordable housing, an issue that served as one of the key breaking points in recent Senate talks over what to do with the two mortgage finance giants.The affordable housing goals for government-controlled Fannie and Freddie, last set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency in 2012, will expire at the end of the year and homeowner advocates expect a proposal from Watt, who heads the agency, to come in July at the latest in order to allow time for public comment before it goes into effect next year.” [Politico – 06/16/14]
  7. Council Members Demand NYC Deliver More Affordable Housing for Homeless “As New York City’s homeless crisis continues to reach record-setting heights, a group of council members are demanding the city triple the number of affordable housing units planned for homeless individuals. The New York Daily News reports 18 council members sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday urging his administration increase the number of allocated New York City Housing Authority apartments from 750 per year to 2,500.”  [Huffington Post – 06/18/14]
  8. Board Says Astoria Cove Needs More Affordable Housing “Astoria Cove, a tower-tastic project planned for the Queens waterfront, met more resistance from the borough’s Community Board 1 last night, which voted to deny the proposal unless the developer accepts 47 conditions, including a raise in affordable apartments from 20 percent of the project to 35 percent. The unanimously passed set of conditions now gets passed on as recommendations to the borough president in the next rung of the land use review procedure.”  [Curbed NY – 06/18/14]
  9. S.F. Mayor Lee Proposed Compromise on Affordable Housing “San Francisco voters will decide between competing affordable housing measures on the November ballot after Mayor Ed Lee on Tuesday entered the fray with a proposal to counter a measure advanced by affordable housing advocates.Lee, who says the city’s housing crunch is “a genuine crisis,” has pushed an aggressive goal to get 30,000 housing units built or rehabilitated within the next six years. But those efforts could be hampered by a November ballot proposal from Supervisor Jane Kim to hold market-rate developers to rigorous and time-consuming scrutiny when the ratio of affordable housing in the development pipeline slips below the 30 percent threshold, his administration says.” [San Francisco Gate – 06/18/14]
  10. U.S. Housing Starts Fall 6.5% in May   “A gauge of new-home construction fell in May after several months of gains, the latest sign of the housing sector’s uneven recovery. Housing starts fell 6.5% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.001 million, theCommerce Department said Tuesday. That marked the first decline in four months and was bigger than the 3.7% drop forecast by economists. The decline was broad-based across regions and type of construction. Single-family housing starts fell 5.9%, while multifamily fell 7.6%. April’s surge in home building was revised down slightly to 12.7% growth from 13.2%.” [Wall Street Journal – 06/17/14]
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