Housing News Roundup: May 13, 2015
Could Baltimore’s 16K Vacant Homes Be Used by the Homeless?
If a group of advocates is right, Baltimore’s solution to homelessness may already be in place: 16,000 vacant homes spread throughout the city. “I look at all of these vacant houses, and I’m like, ‘I could be living in one of these houses,’” said Mark Council, a former cook and mechanic who now finds himself homeless at the age of 55. “I think, ‘We all, all the homeless, could be living in one of those houses.’” Council is a member of Housing Our Neighbors, which pushes for innovative solutions to create and support affordable housing. Experts from Johns Hopkins and the ACLU, however, disagree. The city’s vacant properties are uninhabitable, and rehabilitating them will not address the root causes of homelessness and widespread vacancy.
Source: Washington Post
L.A. County Officials Lend Support to a State Affordable Housing Effort
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is backing a state proposal that would raise funds for affordable housing and homeownership plans. The legislation would add a $75 fee on all real estate transaction documents. The issue is especially important for Los Angeles County, which has about one million households that earn less than 50% of the area’s median income. “This trajectory is unsustainable,” according to the board’s motion.
S.F.’s Economic Growth is Pinching the Middle Class
Job growth without a complementary growth in housing supply has been bad for the middle class in San Francisco. Powered by the addition of white collar jobs, the city’s population grew from 776,000 in 2000 to 805,000 in 2010, but “the flip side is that we have not seen the kind of new supply that would help absorb the population growth,” said Carol Galante, professor of affordable housing and urban policy at Berkeley. The result has been skyrocketing rents. The average rent for a one-bedroom in 2002 was $1,524, but today is $3,040. San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland — all in the Bay Area — are among the 10 most-expensive rental markets in the country.
Source: The Street
Millennials May Be Renting, but They Still Want to Buy
While more Millennials are renting today than just five years ago, the majority still hope to one day be homeowners, according to a new study released today by the Urban Land Institute. The findings of ULI’s survey of Americans ages 19 to 36 are just the most recent in a flurry of assessments to determine what the market wants and how the housing industry should respond. “The millennials are telling us they want to own a home eventually, no different from the aspirations of their parents or grandparents,” said Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae. “But they’re not in a hurry. They still need some income rebuilding.
Source: Wall Street Journal
The Connection Between Housing Costs and Parking Options
The more complex the parking options at a residential complex, the more expensive the housing, as developers pass the costs along to renters and buyers, according to a study by Portland, Ore.’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. The study found that a low-end rental unit in a building with no parking is $800 a month, with surface parking is $1,200 and with underground parking is $1,300 — a 62.5% increase overall. The findings emphasize the importance of programs that encourage alternative forms of transportation.