Publications

  • Collateral Damage: Refinancing Constraints and Regional Recessions

    In the current structure of the U.S. residential mortgage market, a decrease in property values may make it very difficult for homeowners to refinance their mortgages to take advantage of declining interest rates. In this paper, we show that this form of collateral constraint has greatly reduced refinancing in states with depressed property markets. We outline the interaction between regional recessions and refinancing constraints.

    • Date: September 1997
    • Research Area(s):
    • Publication Type: Articles
    • Publication: Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, 29(4), pp. 496-516
  • Coming to the Nuisance or Going to the Barrios

    The environmental justice movement asserts that low-income and minority neighborhoods are exposed to greater risks from environmental hazards than other neighborhoods because of racism and classism in the siting of locally undesirable land uses (LULUs), the promulgation of environmental and land use regulations, the enforcement of those regulations, and the effort spent on cleaning polluted areas. These claims, and the movement’s demands for a more equitable distribution of environmental “goods”, like clean air, and of environmental “bads”, like waste facilities, are increasingly central to deliberations about environmental and land use policy in the United States. President Clinton signed an Executive Order in February 1994 that requires every federal agency to “make achieving environmental justice part of its mission….” The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a national Environmental Justice Office, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, and environmental justice coordinators within each of its departments and regional offices in order to address environmental justice issues. Environmental impact statements prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 5 (NEPA) now address environmental justice concerns. At least seven states have adopted legislation regarding environmental justice, and many more are now considering such legislation.

    • Date: January 1997
    • Research Area(s):
    • Publication Type: Articles
    • Publication: Ecology Law Quarterly, 24(1), pp. 1-56
  • Comment on ‘Metropolitan Growth, Inequality, and Neighborhood Segregation by Income’

    Over the last three decades, residential segregation by income has become an increasingly important feature of the U.S. metropolitan landscape. From 1970 to 2000, income sorting grew in large cities. In the 1980s almost all American metropolitan areas experienced a rise in segregation of the rich from the poor, though these changes were slightly offset by modest declines in segregation during the 1990s. More than 85 percent of the U.S. metropolitan population lived in an area that was more segregated by income in 2000 than in 1970. The time trend in residential segregation by income hints that income inequality may play an explanatory role.

  • Comment on ‘The Effects of Affordable and Multifamily Housing on Market Values of Nearby Homes’

    Advocates of growth management and smart growth often propose policies that raise housing prices, thereby making housing less affordable to many households trying to buy or rent homes. Such policies include urban growth boundaries, zoning restrictions on multi-family housing, utility district lines, building permit caps, and even construction moratoria. Does this mean there is an inherent conflict between growth management and smart growth on the one hand, and creating more affordable housing on the other? Or can growth management and smart growth promote policies that help increase the supply of affordable housing?

  • Comment on ‘Are the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Justified?’

    In “Are the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Justified?” the authors conclude that the benefits delivered by the GSEs (as structured prior to conservatorship) are minimal and do not exceed their costs. While many of the arguments made in the article have merit and raise serious questions about the structure of the GSEs prior to 2008, the article overlooks several important benefits and costs. More significantly, no one is arguing for a return of the GSEs as they were structured prior to conservatorship. Rather than debate the merits of a model that has already been rejected by policymakers, we argue that the far more important question is what the housing finance market should look like in the future.

  • Community Benefits Agreements: A New Local Government Tool or Another Variation on the Exactions Theme?

    Community benefits agreements (CBAs) are the latest in a long line of tools neighbors have used to protect their neighborhood from the burdens of development, and to try to secure benefits from the proposed development. This Article canvasses the benefits and drawbacks various stakeholders perceive CBAs to offer or to threaten, and reviews the legal and policy questions CBAs present. It recommends that local governments avoid the use of CBAs in land use approval processes unless the CBAs are negotiated through processes designed to ensure the transparency of the negotiations, the representativeness and accountability of the negotiators, and the legality and enforceability of the CBAs’ terms.

  • Community Development Corporations and Welfare Reform: Linkages, Roles, and Impacts

    This study examined the impact of welfare reform on housing owned by community development corporations (CDCs), investigating how early implementation of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) affected the financial status of CDCs' affordable housing developments. Five types of financial impacts were considered: tenant incomes and employment; other tenant behaviors; late payments; turnover; and aggregate changes in CDC income and expenses. The study examined four CDCs in each of six cities: Atlanta, Georgia; Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; New York, New York; and San Francisco, California. Research methodology included interviews with CDC staff, tenant representatives, and leaders from other civic institutions; follow-up questionnaires of key respondents; and focus groups with tenants. Overall, among those organizations that engaged in various nonhousing activities or viewed their missions as including community development in broader terms, many were already providing job training, child care, or other social services that might be thought of as responding to welfare reform. These groups reported that such efforts had little to do with the advent of welfare reform. While many CDC staffers were concerned about the impact of welfare reform laws on impoverished communities, they reported little evidence of increased problems and found most changes in their neighborhoods to be positive.

  • Compact Units: Demand and Challenges

    This research brief explores the potential that smaller housing units offer in meeting evolving housing needs and the regulatory barriers that inhibit their construction. The brief and the accompanying white paper, Responding to Changing Households: Regulatory Challenges for Micro-Units and Accessory Dwelling Units, focuses on five U.S. urban areas (New York, Washington D.C., Austin, Denver, and Seattle), and outlines the regulatory, financial, and political barriers that impede the development of smaller, denser housing types, such as micro-units and accessory dwelling units. Read the white paper (PDF) or view the press release.

  • Continuing Isolation: Segregation in America Today

    “Segregation: The Rising Costs for America” documents how discriminatory practices in the housing markets through most of the past century, and that continue today, have produced extreme levels of residential segregation that result in significant disparities in access to good jobs, quality education, homeownership attainment and asset accumulation between minority and non-minority households.

  • Creating a Metric of Educational Opportunities for Assisted Households

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s strategic plan identifies the use of “housing as a platform for improving quality of life” as one of its five strategic goals. It further establishes a sub-goal to improve educational outcomes and early learning and development for children in HUD-assisted housing. This paper is intended to advise HUD about how to use readily available data to create a metric for school quality. This metric is the measure of success in providing “access to schools scores at or above the local average” for children in assisted households. The researchers recommend a ratio that compares the test scores of the elementary schools nearest subsidized households to the test scores of other schools in that same county or metropolitan area, with perhaps a comparison to the schools nearest other renters or low-income households. Using this local-comparison ratio can overcome differences in state methodologies for evaluating schools, differences in homeownership rates across metropolitan areas, and differences in income levels. This score will allow HUD to identify metropolitan areas to target for mobility efforts and to track progress over time.