Housing News Roundup: May 15, 2015
Report: Airbnb Increased Vacant Housing in San Francisco
A study released this week by San Francisco’s Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that Airbnb — a platform for posting privately-owned housing for rent for short term stays — has led owners to leave units vacant in San Francisco, opting to rent them on a short-term basis only. The share of vacancy units attributed to Airbnb in the city is 15%. Previously the units might have added to the city’s supply of standard rentals, but shorter-term stays are often much more profitable. A proposal would limit Airbnb rentals to just 90 days per unit per year.
NYC Advocacy Groups Protest Proposed Mixed-Income Developments in the City
Affordable housing groups were among the protesters this week against a proposed mixed income development in the Bronx, arguing that more strictly low-income developments are needed in the area. The groups are also concerned that gentrification will raise rents in the area and displace low-income tenants who already call the area home.
Source: New York Times
In the Twin Cities, Minorities Have Longer Commute Times from Home to Work
A new study finds that in Minneapolis and St. Paul, African-American, Latino and Asian commuters were at least three times more likely to take public transit to work than whites, and to take longer to get to work. Compared to making the same trip in a private vehicle, African- and Asian-Americans lost up to 3.5 weeks per year in public transit commuting time; Latinos lost 4.5 weeks. “There is a transportation achievement gap,” said Congressman Frank Hornstein (Minn-D), commenting on the study. “We cannot achieve a quality of life for too many people in our community because of this transit disparity…”
Source: Next City
Disparities in How Foreclosures are Maintained and Marketed
Twenty organizations, including the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), have filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that alleges that Fannie Mae has been neglecting foreclosures in minority neighborhoods in 34 metropolitan areas, a violation of the Fair Housing Act. The complaint says that foreclosed properties are maintained and marketed more effectively in white neighborhoods than in in middle- and working-class African-American and Latino neighborhoods.
Source: Housing Wire
Thirteen Percent of Boston Homeowners Spend More than Half Their Income on Housing
In Boston’s suburbs, 13 percent of homeowners spend more than half of their income on housing costs such as mortgage, utilities, insurance and property taxes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey. That percentage rises to almost 16 percent in Boston proper and swells above 20 percent in 7 of the Boston area communities studied. “In some of the more urban communities — like Lawrence, Brockton, and Chelsea — families are stretching to stay in their own communities, whereas in higher-income communities, you have folks stretching to be in a more desirable place,” Reardon said. That rate of spending on housing reduces money available for other necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which pegs no more than thirty percent as the spending point for housing-related expenses to make sure households are not “cost burdened.”
Source: Boston Globe