Housing Starts:Jay Furman Dies I High-Stakes Housing Session I Obama Proposals to Bolster Housing

January 9th 2015

Photo Credit:Doug Mills/ The New York Times

  1. Jay Furman of Furman Center Fame Dies ‘Jay Furman was a visionary, engaged philanthropist who was also an intellectual,’ said Michael Schill, the founding director of the Furman Center, which was endowed by Mr. Furman, in the statement. ‘Jay saw very early how a university center in New York City dedicated to the empirical analysis of urban issues could quickly become the leading institute of its kind in the nation. He was generous with his time as well as his wealth.’ [Commercial Observer – 01/06/15]
  2. A High-Stakes Session for Housing Issues ‘This year, this legislative year, we have some of the biggest questions regarding housing,’ Wright said. ‘This is a banner year.’ Things at the Capitol tend to happen in bursts, and housing policy is no exception. Here, the expiration of rent control on June 15 will force a conversation about the tax cap and the tax credits—known by their legal sections, 421-a and J-51—which expire around the same time. Widely popular among developers, the 421-a program provides a property tax exemption for newly constructed housing, but requires that at least 20 percent of their units be set aside as affordable if they are located in Manhattan or gentrifying neighborhoods of the outer boroughs. [Capital New York – 01/07/15]
  3. Obama to Outline Proposals to Bolster a Lagging Housing Sector The job market is stirring, gas prices are plunging and stocks are near record levels, but a housing sector that dragged the nation into the worst recession since the Depression remains the black spot in an otherwise resurgent economy. President Obama, often criticized for inattention to the housing sector, will seek to address the problem Thursday, lowering insurance rates on federally issued mortgages to first-time home buyers, minorities and struggling Americans. The move is modest, producing savings of $900 a year per home buyer. [New York Times – 01/07/15]
  4. City Beats de Blasio’s Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction Goals, Starts Rebuilding 1,002 Homes After shaking up the troubled Build It Back program, de Blasio had pledged to start construction on 1,000 homes and send 1,500 checks to reimburse storm victims who paid for repairs out of their own pockets. When he took office at the beginning of 2014, construction had not begun on a single home. There are 14,000 active applicants to the program. The payments sent out so far total $36.5 million. [New York Daily News – 01/06/15]
  5. Bidding Wars Cooling Down as the New Year Begins, Real Estate Experts Say The fast-paced market of 2014 has given way to a more even-keeled 2015 as bidding wars have cooled, some real estate experts say. This doesn’t mean that huge price drops are in store, but buyers may have more breathing room — at least for the time being — when making what is arguably one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. [DNAinfo New York – 01/06/15]
  6. Bed-Stuy Tower Yields Owner a Quick 50% Return The tallest privately owned building in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant has sold for $13 million in the latest sign that the fast-gentrifying neighborhood continues to attract real estate investors eager to cash in on its rising rents and apartment prices. A company called Persam White has acquired 11 Spencer Court, a 23-unit, 13-story rental building from Gaia Real Estate. The deal equates to a hefty 50% return for Gaia, which purchased the 135-foot-tall property for $8.7 million in 2012, a year after it was built. [Crain’s New York Business – 01/05/15]
  7. Real Estate in Manhattan Set Sales Records in 2014 It was a banner year for Manhattan real estate. In 2014, buoyed by sales of ultraluxury apartments in new developments, the real estate market rebounded to surpass its previous peak, reached in 2008, when the financial crisis hit, according to Jonathan J. Miller, the president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. The average sales price reached a new high of $1,718,530 last year, surpassing the record set in 2008, when the average sales price for the year was $1,591,823, according to Mr. Miller, the author of a report for Douglas Elliman Real Estate. [New York Times – 01/06/15]
  8. Affordable Housing Lottery Odds at Bronx complex: 2000 to 1 Almost 50,000 people are vying for 25 available rent-stabilized apartments in a new Bronx building. The units in question, however, are not that much cheaper than market rate apartments in the building, according to the New York Daily News. No more than 25 apartments were available through a lottery at the Webster Avenue complex. The chance of securing one of the apartments at 2999, 2987 or 2985 Webster Avenue is one in 2,000. [The Real Deal – 01/07/15]
  9. Smaller Cities Led Way in Rent Increases in 2014 Nationwide, apartment rents rose an average of 3.6% last year, according to data from Reis Inc., a real-estate research firm. The increase pushed the average monthly lease rate to $1,124.38, the highest since Reis started tracking the market in 1980. The vacancy rate last year was 4.2%, the lowest since 2000. Rents were up in all 79 U.S. metro areas tracked by Reis. But unlike in earlier periods, when hefty rent increases mainly affected residents of the largest cities, the current ones are squeezing residents in smaller and midsize cities as well. Average rents were up 7.9% in Denver; 5.5% in Charleston, S.C.; and 4.8% in Raleigh, N.C. [Wall Street Journal – 01/05/15]
  10. Why the Poor Are Struggling in America’s Suburbs But the suburbs of Atlanta no longer hold just the promise of good schools, clean streets, and whitewashed homes with manicured lawns proudly displaying American flags. They are increasingly home to the very poor, who find themselves stranded in suburbs without the kind of transit or assistance that they might once have found in cities’ urban cores. They are stuck in places like Norcross Extended Stay, which see the same type of crime that families might have once seen in metro Atlanta (A few years back, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department had to order 20 sex offenders to leave the motel because it was located near a public pool). [Atlantic CityLab – 01/07/15]
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