Decline of Homelessness? | Chicago Loses to Fannie & Freddie | Raising Rents on Barclays’s Neighbors

August 27th 2013

Image source: The Atlantic

  1. The astonishing decline of homelessness in America. “Despite a housing crisis, a great recession, rising income inequality, and elevated poverty, there is some good news among the most vulnerable segment of American society. America’s homeless population - an estimated 633,000 people - has declined in the last decade.This seems incredible - perhaps literally, so…” [The Atlantic – 08/26/13]
  2. Chicago loses lawsuit against Fannie & Freddie. “Chicago has a lot of vacant buildings in foreclosure. As is the case in many U.S. cities, a lot of those foreclosures are backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages - a fact that just became a big problem for the Windy City. In November 2011, Chicago passed a law that requires owners of vacant buildings - or, if they’ve been foreclosed on, the mortgage backers - to register the building, pay a $500 fee and keep up with city-mandated property standards. But a judge ruled Friday that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac don’t have to follow the city’s ordinance.” [Next City – 08/26/13]
  3. Bid for big complex boosts south Brookyn’s Industry City. “A bid by a trio of high-powered investors to take control of Brooklyn’s Industry City, New York’s largest privately held manufacturing property, has raised hopes of local officials and landowners that the deal could help spawn the next Navy Yard, a waterfront haven for thriving industrial and creative companies.” [Crain’s NY Business – 08/25/13]
  4. South Carolina city takes steps to evict homeless from downtown. “With business owners sounding increasingly worried about the threat they believe the homeless pose to Columbia’s economic surge, the City Council approved a plan this month that will essentially evict them from downtown streets. The unanimous vote epitomized how Columbia’s dueling realities - a rush of self-confidence among political and business leaders and continuing poverty for others - have become driving forces of public policy.” [New York Times – 08/25/13]
  5. The various sticks and carrots for putting unused land to use. “The New York State Assembly is considering a bill that would make it possible for New York City to cut owners of vacant land a break on their property taxes. That is, if the land were made available for public benefit, such as having it turned into pocket parks or gardens. Vacant land makes up almost 6 percent of the city, or 8,900 acres. That comes out to some 22,000 parcels, about half of which are located on Staten Island.” [Next City – 08/23/13]
  6. Retailers wilting in Barclays Center’s shadow. “Talk of skyrocketing store rents in the blocks around the Barclays Center, at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues on the edge of downtown Brooklyn, has been percolating since the project’s announcement in 2008. Since then the talk has reached a crescendo as landlords within a half-mile radius have begun to jack up retail rents.” [Crain’s New York – 08/25/13]
  7. Bill Thompson on NYC gentrification: ‘People are being priced out’ “Bill Thompson lamented how gentrification has changed the ethnic makeup of Harlem as he strategized Wednesday how to maximize black voter turnout in the September mayoral primary. Thompson, a former comptroller who is seeking the Democratic nomination, praised the drop in crime and rise in property values in Harlem and Bedford Stuyvesant, but told The Huffington Post that these neighborhoods are not necessarily better off because of gentrification.” [Huffington Post – 08/22/13]
  8. Minimum parking requirements vary widely across major U.S. cities. “Architect Seth Goodman is on a mission to popularize the unglamorous topic of parking policy. To that end, he’s produced a series of infographics that explore, in detail, the varied minimum parking requirement regulations of major U.S. cities. So far, he’s tackled residential buildings, offices, restaurants, and places of worship. The project exposes just how confused American cities are about parking spaces.” [Atlantic Cities – 08/23/13]
  9. Higher rates spur demand for home loans. “Earlier this year, prospective home-buyers had a shock: home mortgage interest rates rose one full percentage point in the space of just a few days. Since then, interest rates have remained higher - around 4.5 percent - and fear that rates will rise again seems to be juicing demand for mortgages.‘A lot of my purchase clients that I had pre-qualified that were casually out there looking to buy something were now feet to the fire, in the mindset I need to buy something now before rates continue to rise,’ said Heather Miller, a mortgage loan officer at TD Bank in Brooklyn. ” [WNYC – 08/26/13]
  10. NYC storage space now costs more than your entire home. “Of all the signs of insanity in the New York City real estate market, this one may be the most jaw-dropping yet: A 200-square-foot basement storage cage in an unfinished Manhattan luxury tower just sold for $300,000. As the New York Post rightly points out, that would be more than the price of the average home in America.” [Atlantic Cities – 08/26/13]
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