Housing News Roundup: May 19, 2015
Unaffordable Housing Costs U.S. $1.6 Trillion Each Year in Lost Wages & Productivity
The lack of affordable housing in major cities costs the U.S. economy an estimated $1.6 trillion annually in lost wages and productivity, according to a new report. Researchers set out to determine how the economy would be different if workers were free to move to areas with the strongest economies where they could further add to the growth. The study, “Why Cities Matter: Local Growth and Aggregate Growth,” is based on an analysis of economic activity in 220 metro areas from 1964 to 2009. According to the authors, “the main effect of the fast productivity growth in New York, San Francisco, and San Jose was an increase in local housing prices and local wages, not in employment.”
NYC Mayor to Announce 10-Year Public Housing Authority Plan
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected today to announce the details of a 10-year public housing plan that will include constructing mixed-use developments and more than 10,000 units of affordable housing on underused land. Approximately 250,000 households are on the waiting list for public housing developments maintained by the New York City Housing Authority, which as the country’s largest housing authority provides homes for more than 400,000 people. “There is no other housing authority with nearly the number of units that New York City has,” said Holly Leicht, regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “The problems are obviously longer-term and more comprehensive in New York.”
Source: Wall Street Journal
Boston to Add or Preserve Nearly 1,200 Affordable Housing Units
As part of his pledge to add more than 20,000 moderate-income units and 8,000 affordable units by 2030, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is putting $39 million toward the creation and preservation of 1,194 affordable units in 22 developments across the city. “We can talk about this all we want, but we have to invest in building more affordable housing,” said Walsh. “A lot of people have been priced out of Boston in recent decades, and this will give more people an opportunity to stay in our city.”
Source: Boston Globe
Strongest Housing Starts in 7.5 Years
April saw a major jump in permits and the strongest housing starts since November 2007, according to the latest economic data. Groundbreaking reached a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.14 million units — up 20.2% — and March’s starts were revised from 926,000 to 944,000. Starts for single-family homes were their highest since January 2008. Analysts hope these figures point to a recovering economy that has so far been slow in 2015.
Fair Housing Knowledge Falls Short in Utah
Utah residents got an average of 52 percent of the questions right on a recent true-false survey about fair housing laws. While 71 percent of respondents knew that the fair housing law intends to prevent discrimination, 16 percent believed that a home seller could sell to whites only. “Those types of comments are very discouraging to me,” said David Parker of the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division. The Fair Housing Snap Shot Research Project has 1,081 survey respondents from 22 out of Utah’s 29 counties. Other questions covered the legality of different housing treatment based on other protected classes including religion, country of origin, presence of children, and disability.