Housing News Roundup: July 10, 2015
Building for Millennials in Philly
Young people have been flocking to Philadelphia over the past few years because of cheaper rent than in neighboring New York or DC, and growth in amenities like bike sharing. Alliance Partners HSP, a developer, has noticed this trend and is designing professional spaces that will capitalize on Philadelphia’s growing millennial market. Its development in the Spring Garden neighborhood will be known as “SoNo,” which recalls its location south of the Northern Liberties neighborhood. SoNo will house media, advertising and tech companies with amenities such as bike racks and popular types of common spaces. While critics argue that the quiet neighborhood will not be attractive to young people, the city’s deputy mayor for economic development Alan Greenberger believes that “In the next five- or 10-year stretch, you are going to see a lot of redevelopment there.”
Source: Next City
Brooklyn Housing Boom Pushes Housing Prices Higher
Housing and rentals reached record levels in Brooklyn during the second quarter of 2015. As a consequence, more people are being forced to rent rather than buy their homes. The increased rental activity is thereby pushing rents up to an all-time high of $2,964 per month. Both renters and owners alike are experiencing higher housing costs, which could negatively impact the local job market. Jonathan Miller, chief executive of Miller Samuel explains, “As a general rule, this is not necessarily a good thing for a city that is creating jobs, because the people who fill them might not be able to afford to live here.” Brooklyn has been increasing its housing supply by 35% in the last year, but only after many years of declining inventory, and skyrocketing costs in neighboring Manhattan are only putting more pressure on the Brooklyn market.
Source: Crain's New York Business
Push in MA for Mobile Homes to Be Classified as Affordable Housing
A Massachusetts housing statute, Chapter 40B, does not allow mobile homes to be included in cities’ total affordable housing counts. However, state legislators have filed a bill to revise the current statute. If the bill passes it will mean that these housing units will be included in the count for affordable housing, and eligible to receive grants and other benefits that have been previously denied to them. However, mobile home owners currently pay a yearly “land assessment” fee based on income and expenses, but if the bill passes they could be responsible for much higher property taxes. Advocates of the bill say that mobile homes provide quality housing for many residents, and that the increase in local taxes would help communities. In the town of Auburn, fees total $4,896 per year while property taxes would total $580,992.
S.F. May Impose Controls on Housing Development
Last night the San Francisco Planning Commission decided to consider temporary controls on market-rate housing development in the Mission District. While the final vote will not happen until August 2015, further controls would give the city six additional months to “ analyze affordable housing needs, assess sites for affordable housing production, [and] stem the loss of income-protected units,” a process that would essentially create more hurdles for developers. Those against development in the district claim the city’s vote will not go far enough and will come too late to defeat the rise in gentrification, while those who support development there believe it will unnecessarily interrupt developers’ plans. The district’s Planning Department argues the controls would provide them with a much-needed hiatus and help them make the right decisions regarding the Mission’s housing crisis.
Source: Mission Local
How China Impacts U.S. Real Estate Investment
The Chinese markets have been in turmoil, and its effect on the United States housing market could be profound. Consultants argue that because the U.S. has a significant amount invested in China, and vice versa, both nations should be concerned. John Burns, a real estate consultant, argues that “those who are buying U.S. real estate are doing it with a very long-term view — to diversify their assets, provide a safe haven in case something happens at home,” and that the recent stock market turmoil will not affect these investments. However, others worry that significant losses of wealth in the stock market may lead to a slowing of demand for popular property investments, particularly in the US.
Source: NBC News