Housing News Roundup: April 10, 2015
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.
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.”
Credit Scoring Models Criticized as Out of Date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.
‘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.
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.
Source: Associated Press