Reforming Fannie & Freddie | World’s Least Affordable Housing Market | Air Rights for Port Authority

July 2nd 2013

Memphis is among the US cities where it is cheaper to buy homes than rent. (S.K Photography/

  1. Farewell, Fannie and Freddie? “Few tasks facing Congress are more necessary than housing finance reform. The Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac debacle cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars and left the mortgage market in government-controlled limbo. Yet few tasks are more thankless: Fixing the system whereby home loans get packaged into bonds and resold to investors is highly technical and heavily lobbied. There are many ways for lawmakers to get it wrong economically but not so many ways to get it right politically. ” [Washington Post – 06/30/13]
  2. Willets Point affordable housing plans reduced by over one-thousand units. “If City Hall put a wrecking ball to 2,000 units of affordable housing to make room for a shopping mall, it would be front-page news and there would be no end to the outrage. That’s essentially what’s happening at Willets Point. Unfortunately, it’s hardly causing a stir with anyone other than local affordable housing advocates. ” [New York Daily News – 06/30/13]
  3. Port Authority explores overhauling bus terminal, developing air rights. “The Port Authority Bus Terminal is joining Penn Station in the limelight, commissioning a “Midtown Master Plan” for enhancing or replacing the world’s busiest bus hub. The move comes as the City Council and community groups debate how best to upgrade Penn Station, the nation’s busiest rail center, barely 10 blocks to the south.” [DNA Info – 06/28/13]
  4. East New York elderly fight displacement. “East New York seniors experience high levels of poverty, with 39 percent at or below the poverty level, compared with 31.8 percent of seniors citywide, according to Department of Aging statistics. As Brooklyn gentrifies, low-income seniors find themselves in a bind: forced to live in deteriorating, understaffed public housing or leave their communities to move in with relatives outside the city.” [Brooklyn Bureau – 06/28/13]
  5. China: home to the world’s least affordable housing markets. “Five big Chinese cities rank among the priciest housing markets in the world, surpassing notoriously expensive cities like Tokyo, London and New York, based on calculations by the International Monetary Fund. In fact, seven out of 10 of the world’s least affordable markets—Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Chongqing—are now in China.” [The Atlantic – 07/01/13]
  6. International home buyers are fewer, more diverse. “...Two new reports out in the last week suggest that the foreign appetite for American property might be cooling slightly as home prices rise in the U.S. At the same time, one of the reports suggests that the pool of buyers is becoming more diverse, with buyers from India, Nigeria and elsewhere showing more interest in markets where only buyers from wealthier countries looked before.” [Wall Street Journal – 06/27/13]
  7. Manhattan co-op and condo market remains surprisingly flat. “Four distressed Bronx buildings will be undergoing long-overdue renovations, thanks to a financing deal the city brokered with the buildings’ new owner, Workforce Housing Advisors. The buildings, located at 2239, 2241, 2323 and 2333 Creston Ave. in the University Heights section of the Bronx, were all in the city’s Alternative Enforcement Program, which targets 200 especially distressed buildings every year.” [Crain’s New York – 07/26/13]
  8. Will Mel Watt back principal reduction for distressed homeowners? “The crucial context to President Obama’s nomination of Representative Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency is principal reduction for distressed homeowners: in other words, a policy to reduce what some people with underwater mortgages owe. FHFA controls Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which in turn holds 60 percent of the mortgages in the United States. ” [The Nation – 07/27/13]
  9. NYCHA reverses decision to close community and senior centers. “The city housing authority’s ominous threat to close down dozens of community and senior centers isn’t going to happen after all.Two weeks after creating a ruckus by vowing to shutter 69 community centers and 37 senior centers because of the federal budget sequester, NYCHA this week reversed course, saying none would close their doors.The sudden turnaround occurred because the city last week agreed to fork over $58 million to NYCHA as part of its budget.” [New York Daily News – 06/28/13]
  10. U.S. cities where it’s cheaper to buy than rent. “The housing market is showing signs of significant recovery. Home prices are on the rise, and housing permits and housing starts have climbed to their highest level since 2008. While both home and rental prices are up, home prices are up significantly more than rental prices. The question remains, is buying a home still cheaper than renting?” [MarketWatch – 07/01/13]
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