Housing News Roundup: November 8, 2018
California Voters Appear Undecided on How to Tackle the Housing Crisis
On Tuesday, California voters had mixed reactions to the many proposals on state and local ballots to address the housing crisis. On one side, counties rejected a measure to expand rent control, Santa Cruz voters rejected making rent control permanent, and a San Jose measure to pay for affordable housing construction failed. On the other side, the state approved a measure to raise $4 billion a year for affordable housing, Bay Area voters agreed to tax businesses to pay for homeless services, and Oakland will now tax the owners of vacant properties $6,000 a year to fund homeless services and address illegal dumping.
Source: The Mercury News
Georgia Offers Little to Tenants Living in Unhealthy Conditions
Madrika Gray lives in an apartment with broken pipes, damaged walls, dripping water, and moldy vents. She and her children have experienced severe headaches, and she went to the emergency room for a throat and lung affection—all of which she attributes to the mold. But in Georgia, local and state government agencies have no legal authority or funding to test air for mold in tenant units. Georgia law does not encourage landlords to cleani up unhealthy living conditions, and tenants may not withhold rent under any circumstances. “It takes away your value, your self-value, living in an area like this,” said Gray.
Source: Atlanta-Journal Constitution
How Will Opportunity Zones Affect Economic Inequality?
The US Department of the Treasury has approved Opportunity Zones, a tax incentive program designed to bring economic development and jobs to low-income communities across the country, primarily in urban areas and Puerto Rico. Though some areas selected in New York City (e.g., the South Bronx and Brownsville) have seen little investment, others (e.g., Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City) are already gentrifying. The program is considered a big win for developers and investors, but some researchers and economists express caution about its effect on inequality. “How that capital flows into the zones will make the core difference between actually addressing economic inequality and being a washing machine for people’s capital gains,” said Aaron Seybert, social investment officer at The Kresge Foundation.
New Data Show Stark Neighborhood Health Disparities in Oregon
New health data show that the life expectancy in Trainsong, one of Eugene, Oregon’s lowest-income neighborhoods, is roughly 70 years old, while the life expectancy in Fairmont, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods, is 88 years old. This 18-year gap between neighborhoods that are only 15 minutes apart highlights how much where someone lives determines how long they can live. “It kind of puts into stark reality that not everybody in the United States does have equal opportunity and is living a long and healthy life,” said Katrina Hedberg, Oregon’s public health officer. She added that the life expectancy in some of the state’s poorest neighborhoods are similar to those found in developing countries.
New Data Show Families Move to Cheaper Housing Markets When They Have Children
A new Zillow analysis found that the typical woman who moved with a newborn in the past year moved to a housing market where homes were $11,500 lower than where they moved from. This trend was true regardless of whether women moved with a partner or family members. The largest decline was among women in Los Angeles, who settled in places where median home values were $165,800 lower than where they came from. Analysts attribute it in large part to the cost of child care. “Our analysis shows that whatever the motivation, many families are making parenthood financially easier by moving to more affordable markets,” said Skylar Olsen, Zillow’s director of economic research and outreach.