Housing News Roundup: March 5, 2015
‘Micro-Housing’ a Positive for Many in Seattle, But Loophole Closes for New Developers
Micro-housing units — such as a 200-square-foot unit, with utilities and Wi-Fi for $1,000 per month — have proven to be a attractive housing solution for Seattle residents looking to live alone without going broke. The city has 780 units and plans on adding another 1,598. However, changes in city zoning regulations mean developers may have to charge more for new units. Common kitchen and bathrooms are no longer allowed.
Source: Seattle Times
Aging Boomers Looking for More in Affordable Retirement Housing
The solution of multi-bed, shared living spaces for assisted living and nursing homes won’t meet the demands of an aging Baby Boomer population, according to attendees at the recent UCLA Anderson conference “Preparing for the Senior Tsunami: The Future of Affordable Housing and Long-Term Care.” Boomers, who are living longer and staying healthier than previous generations, are more independent minded and demanding in regards to what they look for in a home, yet they also don’t have the same level of savings as previous generations. The conference attendees agreed than new solutions will be needed.
Report: Underwater Housing Could Face Further Strain
More than half of the 3.3 million homes at risk of seeing their Home Equity Lines of Credit monthly payments climb between now and 2018 are already underwater, potentially further straining the financial situations of people who may already be struggling, according to a new report. “Homes purchased or refinanced near the peak of the housing bubble between 2005 and 2008 are much more likely to still be underwater despite the strong recovery in home prices over the last three years,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
Source: Housing Wire
Lower Cost Neighborhoods Not Benefiting from Loosening of Mortgage Credit
Government and industry efforts to loosen mortgage credits aren’t helping lower-income populations in search of affordable homes nearly as much as they are wealthier people. Reasons for the disparity include weaker appreciation of low-end properties and higher lender costs due to new regulations. In addition, there is the logical concern over whether people with lower incomes would be able to pay off the loans. “When you get down to the lower-balance loan, these people are struggling to make qualifications,” said Brian Koss, executive vice president at nonbank lender Mortgage Network. “You’re at risk of putting somebody out of the house. It’s really not about the profit.”
Source: Origination News
S.F. Developer Hopes a Pledge of More Affordable Housing Units Will Turn Community Opinion
One San Francisco developer has landed on a novel solution to combat claims of gentrification: Just add more affordable housing units. The planned development of 330 apartments in the Mission District originally set aside 12 percent of the units as affordable rentals — the legal minimum — but the latest plans now pledges 24 percent.
Source: San Francisco Business Times