Housing News Roundup: October 19, 2017 | How Housing Matters

Housing News Roundup: October 19, 2017

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How Would a Larger Standard Deduction Affect Housing Markets?

The Republican tax plan would nearly double the standard deduction for the mortgage interest deduction, which could reduce its value. Currently, 30 percent of homes are valuable enough to make the deduction worthwhile. Zillow estimates this share would drop to 5 percent. This weakening of the deduction could lead to home buyers spending less when they do purchase—driving down home values at least in the short term. Realtors and economists are considering what it would mean for nation’s housing markets.

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Source: Wall Street Journal

Where Will Displaced Wildfire Victims Go?

About 100,000 people have been evacuated from fire zones in Northern California, and 5,700 houses and buildings have been destroyed. Displaced people are unsure where to go and fear for their future. “We are desperately looking for a house we can rent, but there’s just nothing available because there are so many people displaced,” said Nathalie Intercola, whose home in Santa Rosa burned to the ground. Napa and Sonoma Counties already were behind in producing housing units, building fewer than half the units needed in recent years.

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Source: New York Times

Why Low-Income People Aren’t Moving to Better Jobs

High-skilled workers who have salaries high enough to afford exorbitant housing costs still find major cities appealing, but astronomical housing prices make it difficult for low-income people to move for new job opportunities. Peter Ganong, an economist at the University of Chicago, points to increased development restrictions as a major reason for this trend in recent decades.“It used to be when a lot of people move to places, we build more houses,” Ganong said. “Now, we don’t build more houses, and instead, poor people move out.”

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Source: The Atlantic

East Austin Residents Want Their School District to Create Affordable Housing

Housing, rather than academics, was the focus of public comments at an Austin Independent School District meeting last month. More than a year ago, the district announced it would sell 10 properties, including Allan Elementary School on the East Side. Schools are closing when enrollment drops as families move to areas with more affordable housing. “Without affordable housing, we’re just going to continue to see schools close,” said Vincent Tovar, a parent who, like others, believes the land should be used for affordable housing for families who want to send their children to district schools.

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Source: NPR

California Changes Backyard Building Laws to Alleviate Housing Crisis

California lawmakers are loosening restrictions on backyard structures known as accessory dwelling units to curb the state’s affordable housing crisis. “There’s a lot of free land in the city, and it’s in people’s backyards,” said Dana Cuff, director of the University of California, Los Angeles’s cityLAB. Cuff said that the change in regulations can boost the affordable housing stock without costing cities or the state money. “There couldn’t be a better time to get into this,” said Alexis Rivas, CEO of a company that designs, builds, and installs backyard dwellings. He says a one-bedroom backyard home ranges from $100,000 to $400,000.

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Source: Marketplace

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