Housing Starts: Cash to House the Homeless | Newark the New Brooklyn | Housing Going Underwater

March 24th 2015

Photo Credit: Mark Peterson/Redux

  1. Housing Plan is “About Trade-Offs”: Vicki Been “Residents have been demanding increased improvements as of late in conjunction with the mayor’s plan for 240,000 new housing units, while at the same time demanding protection from displacement and rent increases, according to Crain’s. Been told attendees at an Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development conference in Midtown that while community outreach continues to be important, it cannot impede the forward motion of the city’s plan. ‘We have to move,’ she said, ‘and we have to move quickly.’” [The Real Deal – 03/23/15]
  2. Is New York The Safest Real Estate Market In The World? “‘Given the high level of protection for investors, New York City is definitely one of the safest real estate markets in the world,’ says Aurora Azar, one of the few Arabic-speaking real estate brokers in Manhattan. The legal framework for an apartment purchase is highly regulated and in favor of the buyer - New York City is big on consumer protection. Property is generally sold as freehold. And an international investor enjoys the same legal protection as a local buyer.” [Marketwatch – 03/23/15]
  3. De Blasio Offers Cash to NYC Landlords in Robocalls Urging them to Take in Homeless “Mayor de Blasio, desperate to reduce the city’s skyrocketing homeless problem, is making robocalls to Big Apple landlords asking them to house families from the shelter system. Landlords aren’t expected to be bleeding hearts — those who take up the mayor’s offer will receive a $1,000 signing bonus in addition to the city funds that will pay the family’s rent, the mayor says in the 45-second taped call. ‘Hi, this is Mayor Bill de Blasio,’ the robocall begins. ‘As a landlord, you have an opportunity to fill vacancies in your building and receive a $1,000 bonus from the City of New York.’” [NY Daily News – 03/20/15]
  4. Mortgage Amounts Rising More Quickly Than Home Prices “Mortgage amounts are rising more quickly than home prices, an unusual phenomenon that seems to confirm continued weakness at the lower end of the housing market, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The trade association reports that the average size of purchase loans began to outpace the recovery in home prices in September 2011. By December 2014, according to the group’s weekly mortgage application survey, the average purchase loan amount had risen by nearly 32 percent. The average for the week ending March 6 was $294,900, a record high. In other words, the average purchase loan now exceeds levels reached before the recession when home prices soared to unsustainable heights.” [New York Times – 03/20/15]
  5. How Activists in 3 Cities Are Fighting Evictions “As the term ‘gentrification’ loses its power over time through overuse and ambiguity, housing and neighborhood advocates are pointing to the dual crises of displacement and evictions as being the most pressing consequence of real estate speculation. Here is how groups in three cities are responding to place-based housing challenges.” [Next City – 03/20/15]
  6. The Cities Where Houses are Suddenly Going Underwater “Despite an overall housing recovery, it’s suddenly becoming more common in several of the nation’s largest cities for homeowners to owe more on their home than it’s worth. The national negative equity rate, which had declined for 2 1/2 years, stalled in the fourth quarter of 2014 at 16.9 percent, according to a new report from Zillow. Negative equity refers to when a homeowner owes more a mortgage than the value of the home if sold on the market. In the fourth quarter, the rate worsened in 21 of the nation’s top 50 housing markets, including Philadelphia, Boston and Houston.” [Washington Post – 03/20/15]
  7. Is Newark the Next Brooklyn? “Newark is building again. Yes, that Newark—the city in Jersey that burned after the ’67 riots, the one that helped to define “white flight,” that struggles still with almost impenetrable unemployment and homelessness and crime. That city is building. If the story of Newark’s revitalization is all about buildings, Hall, a 60-year-old principal at a charter school here, is living inside one of its newest characters. Her eclectic, fifth-floor apartment is one of the residential units in Teachers Village, a $150 million, mixed-use project financed through a consortium of private and public investments and blessed with mammoth government tax credits. The development lives along five blocks of Halsey Street, just off of the city’s main thoroughfare and was designed to convert into residents some of the 6,000 teachers and administrators who commute to this city of 280,000 each workday.” [Politico – 03/19/15]
  8. 60-Story Towers? Yes, Please “In most parts of New York City, developers face stiff opposition to constructing taller buildings. But a Brooklyn real estate firm proposing a housing and retail complex on a plot where three diverse neighborhoods converge—Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick and Williamsburg—could have the opposite problem. There, a collection of community groups determined to foster construction of more affordable housing has long called for bigger buildings, although the organizations have sparred repeatedly over whom those apartments should be designed to serve.” [Crain’s New York Business – 03/22/15]
  9. NYC Housing Advocates and the Global Struggle “The foreclosure crisis that ran roughshod over U.S. homeowners from 2008-2012 has found its way to Europe. Blackstone Group, the international conglomerate that has purchased large portfolios of foreclosed homes and condominiums from the U.S. government and banks, is now swooping into the struggling housing market in Spain. Blackstone is currently in talks with Catalunya Caixa Bank to purchase their portfolio of mortgages. Activists and community based organizations in Spain have made comparisons to the takeover of the Countrywide portfolio by Bank of America during the U.S. crisis. Americans saw an increased number of foreclosures and evictions by Bank of America once they acquired the Countrywide debts, and the bank eventually paid millions in fines as a result of the takeover and the resulting effect on homeowners who endured foreclosures and evictions.” [City Limits – 03/20/15]
  10. Miami Renters Increase 25% in 7 Years “Miami’s rental population is growing and market watchers are divided as to why, with some saying it’s temporary and others that housing prices are prohibitive for anyone but the super-wealthy. According to NYU Furman Center’s study titled “Renting in America’s Largest Cities,” nine out of 11 cities saw double-digit growth in renters and five of those saw growth exceeding 20% in a seven-year period. Miami’s rental population grew 25% between 2006 and 2013, the report states. In 2013, of 905,639 households in Miami-Dade, 55.8% owned their residences compared with 67.6% statewide, according to the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research.” [Miami Today – 03/18/15]
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