Housing News Roundup: April 10, 2015 | How Housing Matters

Housing News Roundup: April 10, 2015

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In Urban Areas, Money and Trees Tend to Go Together

Trees can be a difference-maker in urban neighborhoods. There’s the aesthetic aspect of full foliage, of course, but other positives include better health outcomes for residents and even lower utility bills. A new study finds a strong correlation between income and urban tree canopies, one of the first attempts to calculate tree density and distribution across multiple cities. The bottom line: High wealth areas have more trees.

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Source: CityLab

When High Property Taxes are Actually Worth It

With Tax Day on the horizon, an analysis of tax levies in 716 U.S. metro areas found that — no surprise — the highest property taxes tended to be in East and West Coast cities. But one expert points out that if the taxes come with quality-of-life benefits, people tend to be more forgiving. “As a homebuyer, you may be willing to take on higher property taxes to live close to the amenities that you want — and that could include a good job.”

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Source: MainStreet

Credit Scoring Models Criticized as Out of Date

A recent study by the Urban Institute showed that tight lending standards had left 4 million mortgage loans on the table from 2009-2013. In an opinion piece, a former Fannie Mae executive argues that the post-crisis pendulum has swung too far in the other direction, and minority homebuyers are bearing the brunt of it.

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Source: Forbes

‘Frothy’ Fears: Is Another Housing Bubble on the Horizon?

As housing prices around the country continue to creep upward, those familiar worries from a decade ago are coming to the fore. One early warning sign arises in a recent report by a property valuation firm. In 13 states and Washington, D.C., prices are rising much more quickly than the cost of renting or building a home.

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Source: Boston Globe

N.J. Appeals Court: Hands Off Affordable Housing Funds

An appeals court in N.J. cleared up an in-state fight between Gov. Chris Christie and affordable housing advocates over how funds earmarked for projects — but not yet spent — could be allocated. This week’s ruling by a three-judge panel means $200 million will be going to affordable housing projects. “Thousands of homes will be built and rehabilitated using these funds,” said Kevin Walsh, a lawyer for the Fair Share Housing Center.

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Source: Associated Press

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