Publications

  • Effect of QAP Incentives on the Location of LIHTC Properties

    Recent research has examined the siting patterns of Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) developments, but the reality is that the LIHTC program is not one uniform, national program. Rather, the program is administered by state allocating agencies, each of which has considerable discretion over how to allocate tax credits. In particular, each state issues a Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP), which outlines the selection criteria the state will use when awarding its nine percent tax credits. Some criteria are required by the federal government, such as setting aside at least 10 percent of credits for nonprofit developers and using the minimum amount of tax credit financing feasible. However, states are also allowed to adopt additional criteria that further the state’s housing policy and other goals, such as providing set-asides for developments with existing housing subsidies, including the HOPE VI Program, or awarding bonus points for locating developments in particular types of neighborhoods. As the competition for credits has increased, it seems likely that these criteria play a greater role in shaping where tax credit developments are built.

  • Ending Exclusionary Zoning in New York City’s Suburbs

    New York stands alone among its peer states—coastal states with high housing costs and healthy regional economies—in giving its local governments such broad authority over local land use. The result is a state with fewer homes, more expensive rents, and starker segregation than it would otherwise have. By some measures, New York has the most exclusionary zoning in the country. This paper therefore offers a guide for New York State to follow, and improve upon, its peer states and reform its broken suburban land use process.

  • Essay: Sticky Seconds—The Problems Second Liens Pose to the Resolution of Distressed Mortgages

    To better understand whether and how second liens might prevent efficient resolutions of borrower distress and to assess how second lien holders could be encouraged to cooperate with efficient resolutions without undermining the financial interests of the banks, we reviewed existing data and research, as well as debates among both academics and industry experts about the role second liens might be playing in slowing the recovery of the housing market. This article reports the results of our research and the roundtable discussion. It first explores what we know about the prevalence and delinquency rates of different types of second liens, the extent to which banks are exposed to losses on the liens, and the extent to which the banks already have accounted for those expected losses. It then reviews the various reasons that second liens have interfered with the efficient resolution of distressed mortgages, and documents advances that recently have been made in addressing those problems. Finally, the article examines the most promising proposals for reducing the transaction costs and frictions that are behind many of the current problems second liens are posing, as well as proposals to prevent similar problems from arising in the future. We focus our analysis of solutions on programs to remove barriers to greater coordination between first and second lien holders, rather than on the incentive approaches that have already been attempted.

  • Estimating the External Effects of Subsidized Housing Investment on Property Values

    Although housing investment is often promoted as a tool for neighborhood improvement, prior empirical research has failed to provide convincing evidence that subsidized housing investment generates significant external effects. This paper revisits the external effects of subsidized housing investment. With the benefit of a very rich dataset, we use a difference-in-difference specification of a hedonic regression model to estimate the spillover effects of publicly-assisted housing units produced under the New York City Ten Year Plan program.

  • Exploring Changes in Low-Income Neighborhoods in the 1990s

    While there has been much talk of the resurgence of lower-income urban neighborhoods in the United States over the past ten to fifteen years, there has been surprisingly little empirical examination of the extent and nature of the phenomenon. Our chapter aims to address these key questions. In the first half, we undertake a broad empirical investigation of income changes in low-income neighborhoods in U.S. cities during the 1990s, comparing them to the changes that occurred during the two previous decades. In the second half of the chapter, we explore some reasons why the fortunes of lower-income urban neighborhoods improved during the 1990s.

  • Fifty Years of Historic Preservation in New York City

    This white paper offers a detailed overview of the process of designation and the spread of historic districts and landmarks throughout New York City. In addition, it provides additional analyses comparing the land uses, building types, commercial uses, and population in historic districts with those attributes of nearby neighborhoods and lots. A summary of the white paper's findings is available in the accompanying policy brief of the same name

  • Foreclosed Properties in NYC: A Look at the Last 15 Years

    In 2009, New York City saw a record number of foreclosure filings, passing 20,000 for the first time since we started tracking foreclosures in early 1990s.  Yet little is known about what happens to these properties after they receive a foreclosure notice.  This report analyzes the outcomes of 1-4 family properties that entered foreclosure in New York City between 1993 and 2007, paying particular attention to trends in recent years.  The report identifies a current inventory of 1,750 bank-owned (termed Real Estate Owned or “REO” by lenders) properties citywide—up dramatically from about 290 at the end of 2006. While the overall number of REO properties in New York remains small compared to harder hit cities, the report finds that these properties are highly concentrated in Eastern Queens, Central Brooklyn, and the North Shore of Staten Island—not surprisingly, the same neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the mortgage crisis.

  • Foreclosure and Kids: Does Losing Your Home Mean Losing Your School?

    The second in a two-part series on the effects of the foreclosure crisis on children, this report addresses the relationship between foreclosure and student mobility. New York University’s Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) and Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy find that New York City public school students living in buildings entering foreclosure are more likely to switch schools than their peers, less likely to leave the school system, and that their new schools tend to be lower performing than the ones they left.

  • Gateway to Opportunity? Disparities in Neighborhood Conditions Among Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Residents

    A key goal of housing assistance programs is to help lower income households reach neighborhoods of opportunity. Studies have described the degree to which Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) developments are located in high-opportunity neighborhoods, but our focus is on how neighborhood outcomes vary across different subsets of LIHTC residents. We also examine whether LIHTC households are better able to reach certain types of neighborhood opportunities. Specifically, we use new data on LIHTC tenants in 12 states along with eight measures of neighborhood opportunity. We find that compared with other rental units, LIHTC units are located in neighborhoods with higher poverty rates, weaker labor markets, more polluted environments, and lower performing schools, but better transit access. We also find that compared with other LIHTC tenants, poor and minority tenants live in neighborhoods that are significantly more disadvantaged.

  • Gentrification and Fair Housing: Does Gentrification Further Integration?

    This paper explores the long-term trajectory of predominantly minority, low-income neighborhoods that gentrified over the 1980s and 1990s. On average, these neighborhoods experienced little racial change while they gentrified, but a significant minority became racially integrated during the decade of gentrification, and over the longer term, many of these neighborhoods remained racially stable. That said, some gentrifying neighborhoods that were predominantly minority in 1980 appeared to be on the path to becoming predominantly white. Policies, such as investments in place-based, subsidized housing, are needed in many gentrifying neighborhoods to ensure racial and economic diversity over the longer term.