Housing Starts: Affordability and Opportunity | Rents Up for Smaller Units | Mortgage Market Revival

January 16th 2015

Finding affordable housing is challenging in Manhattan neighborhoods like Chelsea (Photo Credit: Aleks Ivic/flickr).

  1. Affordable Housing More Frequently Preserved in Less Desirable Neighborhoods The distribution of subsidized rental units across New York City neighborhoods changed significantly between 2002 and 2011, according to a study—”Housing, Neighborhoods and Opportunity”—from NYU’s Furman Center, with a shrinking number of units located in neighborhoods with good access to transit and employment, low crime rates and high-performing public schools. (Another recent study from NYU’s Wagner School recently found that good access to public transit corresponded to higher incomes, which is, of course, something of a chicken/egg situation.) [New York Observer – 01/14/15]
  2. More Subsidized Rentals Found in Less Desirable Neighborhoods While the de Blasio administration is advancing on its ambitious goal of creating or preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing in a decade, subsidized housing is increasingly situated in neighborhoods with higher rates of poverty and violent crime, and poorer performing public schools, according to a new study from the Moelis Institute for Affordable Housing Policy at New York University. “City policy makers need to pay attention not only to the number or quality of subsidized units produced, but also to the characteristics of the neighborhoods where those units are built,” said Max Weselcouch, director of the institute at New York University’s Furman Center where the study was produced. [WNYC – 01/14/15]
  3. What Does 21st-Century Public Housing Look Like? NYCHA is facing a capital shortfall of nearly $18 billion. With Republican control of the N.Y. State Senate and the U.S. Congress putting public housing funding on shakier ground (more so than it already is), Olatoye is looking at alternative options for bringing in money and cutting costs. For one, she wants to improve NYCHA’s 75 percent rent collection rate. [NextCity – 01/13/15]
  4. Rents Skyrocket for Smaller Units; Up Nearly 10% in Brooklyn Surprising to no one, New York City rentals are becoming more expensive and what that effect is having on the housing stock is interesting: as apartments priced below market-rate (“affordable housing”), and apartments priced way, way above market rate (“unaffordable housing”) continue to do their thing, market analyzers are seeing that apartments priced in the mid-tier range are becoming more expensive. In December, inflated rents were mostly seen insmaller apartments—studios and one-bedrooms—which, in Manhattan, respectively rose around four-percent to a median cost of $2,427 and $3,291. [CurbedNY – 01/15/15]
  5. Cuomo Proposes $1.7B NYS Property-Tax Break Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to give middle-class homeowners and renters a collective $1.7 billion break on property taxes. The plan announced by the governor at Hofstra University on Long Island Wednesday would provide credits to more than 1 million property-owning households and another 1 million renters. The plan, which will be included in Mr. Cuomo’s proposed budget next week, builds on his effort to keep in check what he says are the nation’s highest property levies. “You have no long-term future if you are the tax capital of the nation,” Mr. Cuomo said Wednesday. [Crain’s New York Business – 01/14/15]
  6. My Mystery Landlord Do you know who owns your apartment building? Perhaps you know where to send the rent check, but what if something goes wrong? Who do you call? It’s a question even city officials can have trouble answering. The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development does require owners to register their properties, but a study from the Moelis Institute for Affordable Housing Policy at the NYU Furman Center found that only 23 percent of all properties that are required to register have done so. The registration data provided by HPD also shows that most non-compliance comes from smaller buildings. [WNYC – 01/13/15]
  7. Renters Caught a (Small, Rare) Break in 2014 Many apartment renters caught a rare, though small, break last year. The average monthly rent in Manhattan slipped 1.2% from 2013 to end the year at $3,960, while in Brooklyn the average shrank by 1.3% to $3,139, according to the latest quarterly report by the Douglas Elliman brokerage firm. In contrast, Queens rents bounded ahead by 4.9% to $3,015. Yuval Greenblatt, an executive vice president at Elliman, attributed that gain to increased demand for apartments from renters priced out of Manhattan and Brooklyn. [Crain’s New York Business – 01/15/15]
  8. U.S. Foreclosures Filings in 2014 at Lowest Level Since 2006: RealtyTrac The number of U.S. properties in the process of being foreclosed upon dropped last year to its lowest level since 2006, real estate data firm RealtyTrac said on Thursday. In total, 1,117,426 properties were at some stage of foreclosure proceedings in 2014, down 18 percent from 2013 and off 61 percent from the peak of the aftermath of the housing collapse in 2010, when 2,871,891 properties had foreclosure filings under way. [Reuters – 01/15/15]
  9. Falling Rates Spur Revival in Market for Mortgages The moribund mortgage market suddenly sprang back to life last week after a drop in interest rates to levels not seen in almost two years sent borrowers rushing to lock in cheaper loans. Mortgage applications rose a seasonally adjusted 49% in the week ended Jan. 9 from the previous week and 30% from a year ago, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Application volume touched its highest level since August 2013, with most of the increase driven by borrowers seeking to refinance. [Wall Street Journal – ]
  10. Can Immigrants Save the Housing Market? Since the recession, there’s been concern over the lack of new households formed and the decreased rate of homeownership in the U.S. And while some suggest that the share of people who choose to buy instead of rent should never ratchet up to the nearly 70 percent seen at the height of the bubble, many lament the loss of the American Dream, which promoted buying a home as a symbol of success and adulthood. But in some groups the dream, at least of homeownership, is alive and well. During the past two decades, immigrants have accounted for 27.5 percent of all household growth, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. When it comes to growth among younger generations, the foreign-born population is even more significant, accounting for nearly all the household growth for those under the age of 45. [Atlantic CityLab – 01/09/15]
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