Publications

  • Housing and the Great Recession

    The story of the Great Recession cannot be told without addressing housing and, in particular, the dramatic decline in housing prices that began in late 2006. A distinctive feature of the Great Recession is its intimate connection to the housing sector; indeed many would argue that the Great Recession was triggered by the widespread failure of risky mortgage products. Whatever the sources of the Great Recession may have been, the housing sector is still deeply troubled and is a key contributor to our ongoing economic duress. This recession brief lays out the main features of the downturn in the housing sector. It was produced as part of a series on the economic and social fallout of the recession in conjunction with the Russell Sage Foundation and the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality.

  • What Can We Learn about the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program by Looking at the Tenants?

    Using tenant-level data from fifteen states that represent more than thirty percent of all Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) units, this paper examines tenant incomes, rental assistance and rent burdens to shed light on key questions about our largest federal supply-side affordable housing program. Specifically, what are the incomes of the tenants, and does this program reach those with extremely low incomes? What rent burdens are experienced, and is economic diversity within developments achieved? We find that more than forty percent of tenants have extremely low incomes, and the overwhelming majority of such tenants also receive some form of rental assistance. Rent burdens are generally higher than for HUD housing programs, but vary greatly by income level and are lowered by the sizable share of owners who charge below maximum rents. Finally, we find evidence of both economically diverse developments and those with concentrations of households with extremely low incomes.

  • Challenges Facing Housing Markets in the Next Decade: Developing a Policy-Relevant Research Agenda

    This paper proposes a research agenda that addresses the major challenges facing the U.S. housing market: the long-term effects of the housing market crisis on today’s households and on the next generation, increasing poverty coupled with persistently high income inequality and volatility, continued concentration of poor and minority households in low-quality housing and low-opportunity neighborhoods, and the growing need for sustainable and resilient buildings and communities. This analysis is a framing paper for the What Works Collaborative, a foundation-supported research partnership that conducts timely research and analysis to help inform the implementation of an evidence-based housing and urban policy agenda.

  • Distribution of the Burden of New York City’s Property Tax

    The analysis from the 2011 State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods report finds that owners of New York City’s large rental apartments are subject to a higher effective property tax rate than owners of one- to three-family homes, and bear a disproportionate share of the city’s overall property tax burden. Condominiums and cooperative apartments also are subject to much lower effective tax rates than rental properties with similar characteristics.

  • Subsidized Housing: A Cross-City Comparison

    The analysis from the 2011 State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods report compares federally-subsidized housing programs across the nation’s five most populous cities: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia. New York City has the largest share of subsidized rental housing of the five cities, due mostly to its large stock of public housing. Over five percent of the city’s housing units in 2008 (almost 180,000 units) were in public housing. In addition to subsidies, more than one million units—nearly half of the rental housing stock—are rent stabilized in New York City.

  • Household Energy Bills and Subsidized Housing

    Household energy consumption is crucial to national energy policy. This article analyzes how the rules covering utility costs in the four major federal housing assistance programs alter landlord and tenant incentives for energy efficiency investment and conservation. We conclude that, relative to market-rate housing, assistance programs provide less incentive to landlords and tenants for energy efficiency investment and conservation, and utilities are more likely to be included in the rent. Using data from the American Housing Survey, we examine the differences in utility billing arrangements between assisted and unassisted low-income renters and find that—even when controlling for observable building and tenant differences—the rent that assisted tenants pay is more likely to include utilities. Among all tenants who pay utility bills separately from rent, observable
    differences in energy expenses for assisted and unassisted tenants are driven by unit, building, and household characteristics rather than the receipt of government assistance.

  • The Importance of Using Layered Data to Analyze Housing: The Case of the Subsidized Housing Information Project

    The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy recently developed a new database through its Subsidized Housing Information Project (SHIP). The SHIP database combines more than 50 disparate data sets to catalogue every privately owned, publicly subsidized affordable rental property developed in New York City with financing and insurance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HUD projectbased rental assistance, New York City or State Mitchell-Lama financing, or the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program. The pooling and layering of data, as well as
    combining the data with other local housing and neighborhood information, in databases like the SHIP allow for a clearer understanding of the existing affordable housing stock and enable practitioners to more effectively target resources toward the preservation of affordable housing.

  • State of New York City’s Subsidized Housing: 2011

    To reduce the financial burden that low- and moderate-income families in New York City face, city, state and federal agencies have employed numerous subsidy programs to encourage private developers to own and manage affordable housing developments. With the cooperation of government housing agencies, the Furman Center created the Subsidized Housing Information Project (SHIP)—an online searchable database containing information on the nearly 235,000 units of privately-owned, subsidized affordable rental housing in New York City developed with major subsidy programs. This report is the first comprehensive analysis of properties in our SHIP database, and identifies opportunities to preserve affordable housing in the coming years.

  • Rental Housing Policy in the United States

    In this volume of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s policy development and research journal, Cityscape, guest editors Vicki Been and Ingrid Gould Ellen bring together seven innovative proposals from leading housing researchers calling for changes in government policies to benefit renters and their communities. This collection of articles propose reforms, such as the elimination of the mortgage interest deduction, which could serve as viable alternatives to traditional federal rental programs.  These perspectives offer U.S. policymakers ways to potentially adapt international housing assistance models to reform the domestic housing market.

  • The Evolving Crisis in Context: Recent Developments for Tenants in the Foreclosure Crisis

    Although the plight of renters in the foreclosure crisis has entered the consciousness of national policymakers, renters have more often than not been omitted from the narratives offered to describe the ongoing crisis. Despite the lack of attention they have received, many thousands of rent-paying tenants have also been affected by the foreclosure crisis. Fortunately, tenants have received specific protections from mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as new rights under new federal laws. But while these new protections and rights should help, tenants still face significant uncertainty as the foreclosure crisis continues to unfold and outreach and communication of these rights will be essential. This chapter, assesses the extent and scale of the challenges facing renters in the foreclosure crisis, as well federal action and GSE policy changes designed to address their rights. It is an excerpt from a report by The National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, “Forging a New Housing Policy: Opportunity in the Wake of Crisis.”