Housing News Roundup: June 3, 2015
S.F.’s Board of Supervisors Votes Down Market-Rate Moratorium
After an eight-hour Board of Supervisors hearing filled with frustration over San Francisco’s affordable housing shortage, a proposed moratorium on market-rate multifamily buildings in the Mission District garnered majority support but insufficient votes to pass. The moratorium may head to the ballot in November. Some of the supervisors who voted against the measure worried it would affect in-lieu fees going toward affordable housing, while others noted concerns about a lack of practical plans for increasing affordable development in the area.
Source: San Francisco Business Times
Fed's Monetary Stimulus Not to Blame for Income Inequality
It wasn’t the Federal Reserve’s monetary stimulus, but weak Congressional actions, which worsened income inequality during and after the Great Recession. According to former Fed chief Ben Bernanke, “If fiscal policymakers took more of the responsibility for promoting economic recovery and job creation, monetary policy could be less aggressive.” Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, puts it simply: “If the Fed did nothing and unemployment was still at 10%, it’s hard to argue that would have been good for income distribution.” Statistics also point to the Fed’s emergency policies boosting a battered housing market that was recovering from the bubble burst in 2008. Owners could refinance at a lower rate, and as a result more people stayed in their homes.
Source: CNN Money
Costly Housing in Cities Means Less Income to Power Local Economies
When rents skyrocket, a sizable portion of renters’ income is taken out of the local markets and instead tied up in rent payments, leases and mortgages. The latest data from the U.S. Census points to costs in San Francisco and New York increasing year after year with no sign of leveling out in the foreseeable future. The high cost of housing matters because it prevents people from building personal wealth. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) asserts that not buying a home can cost an individual over $65,000 in personal wealth per year. Renting is more expensive and creates a vicious cycle that makes people less likely to be able to afford the downpayment on a house, causing the renter to lose money over time. Cities need to adopt policies that make homeownership more appealing, affordable and practical.
San Diego Homeless Housing Program Saves City Millions
San Diego has saved more than $3.5 million in potential costs since 2010 because of a program providing permanent housing for the homeless. Project 25 set out to find homes for 25 high-cost homeless people. The chronically homeless cost the city millions in ambulance rides and emergency room visits. “This is a case when it really does cost more to do nothing,” said Shaina Gross, senior vice president and chief impact office of United Way of San Diego County.
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune