In the News

Wanted: A Comprehensive Housing Strategy

Source: The Hill/Former Rep. Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.)

As recently reported by the National Association of Realtors, the share of first-time homebuyers is approaching a 30-year low. But the striking absence of these buyers in the market today is not the result of shifting aspirations. Surveys consistently show that young adults, those who typically make up the bulk of first-time home purchasers, do in fact aspire to own a home. What's happening is that stagnating wages, high student loan debt, an insufficient supply of lower-cost “starter” homes, and excessively tight mortgage credit conditions have all conspired to make it more difficult than ever to purchase a home, particularly for those just starting out in the home-buying market. These forces, in turn, are pushing more and more families into rental housing. With this intensified demand, rents are skyrocketing in many communities, outpacing any corresponding gains in income.  More...


Seattle Law Requires Developers to Pay for Affordable Housing

Source: Reuters

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed an ordinance into law on Tuesday he says will add 6,000 living units for low-income residents over the next decade to be paid for by fees on private developers. The measure aims to address an overheated real estate market fueled partly by the growth of Seattle-based Internet retailer and other companies, which is pricing out low- and middle-income residents. The new ordinance, part a set of proposals that could add 20,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years, will provide 6,000 units paid for by private residential and commercial developers, the mayor said. The law imposes a special fee on commercial developments ranging from $5 to $17 per square foot, based on a building's size and location. More...


US Housing Recovery Divided on Age, Race and Place

Source:  ABC News/Josh Boak 

It's the most profitable time to sell a house since the Great Recession started in late 2007. But first-time buyers are increasingly scarce. More Americans are qualifying for mortgages, yet minorities still get disproportionately rejected. Three new industry analyses released Thursday show that the recovering economy has produced a divided U.S. housing market. Where people live, their age and the color of their skin have largely influenced who has benefited as real estate continues to heal from the bursting of a mortgage bubble that triggered the worst economic downturn in nearly 80 years." More...


Interactive Map: The Uneven Housing Recovery

Source: Center for American Progress

Seven years after the housing bubble burst and the financial markets collapsed, about 7.5 million American homeowners are still underwater—meaning that the owners’ homes are worth less than what they owe on them. Even though home values have continued to rise and the national percentage of homeowners with negative equity has dropped from 30 percent in the second quarter of 2011 to 15 percent in the first quarter of 2015, much work remains to be done in order for the market to fully recover.  More...


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