Housing News Roundup: July 23, 2015 | How Housing Matters

Housing News Roundup: July 23, 2015

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Housing Sales Hit 8-Year High

Hiring trends over the past 21 months and an improving economy helped push June home sales to their fastest rate in more than eight years. Housing prices steadily climbed more than 6.5% over the past year to $236,400, an all-time high since the National Association of Realtors started reporting it. Existing home sales grew 3.2% in just the last month to the highest rate seen since February 2007. However, while demand has climbed, it does not seem to be luring potential sellers to put their homes on the market. “The recent pace can’t be sustained, but it points clearly to upside potential,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. Experts attribute the surge to concerns about the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, as well as buyers’ increasing ability to find information about new listings, which decreases the time homes are on the market.

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Source: The Washington Post

Opinion: Measuring De Blasio’s Affordable Housing Progress

Has New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio lived up to his promise to build a city where people of all incomes can live, including the poor and the working class? He has followed through on the construction of 20,000 affordable housing units, just the start of his plan to create ten times that amount by 2025. Despite his efforts, the New York Times Editorial Board contends that de Blasio’s administration is competing with increasing growth at the higher end of the market, and his successes must be measured by how well affordable housing keeps up. Furthermore, the NYT Editorial Board argues that de Blasio has other housing issues to contend with, such as the broad mismanagement of the New York City Housing Authority. Especially given the battles that de Blasio already faced in Albany with his first reforms, the Editorial Board does not expect the rest of his affordable housing ambitions will be easy to realize.

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Source: The New York Times

Historic Minn. Fort to See New Life as Affordable Housing Complex

More than two-dozen historic buildings on the grounds of Minnesota’s Fort Snelling will be transformed into affordable housing, under a plan announced Wednesday. Originally built in the early 1800s as a response to the War of 1812, Fort Snelling has a long and storied history, however in recent years many of the buildings within the complex have fallen into disrepair, with a building even collapsing in 2009. Under the new proposal announced by Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 26 of the fort’s historic buildings will be converted into 190 affordable housing units, and the location will offer residence easy access to the airport, the city’s light rail system, and amenities like the Mall of America. Construction would begin in early 2017.

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Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribute

The High Cost of Helping L.A. County’s Mentally Ill Inmates

A new report from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office finds it would cost the region tens of million of dollars to send mentally inmates to treatment facilities rather than put them back on the streets, where many would become homeless. Still, something needs to be done to both help the county’s mentally ill and ease the burden on the county’s overcrowded jails. “You don’t imprison someone and say, ‘Don’t be sick anymore,” says LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey. “People get well when you give them incentives to get help and to be employable…. You give them a life and a place of their own, where they have the freedom to thrive”. The task force recommended the county spend nearly $30 million over 5 years to add hundreds of subsidized homes for the approximately 400 mentally ill homeless people with criminal records, complete with a manager to oversee the housing programs.

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Source: The Los Angeles Times

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