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Newsroom

  • Yes: In Berlin, a Model for Creative and Affordable Housing

    Berlin-Affordable-Housing.gifSan Francisco used to be famous for its tolerant and creative culture. These days, it’s more famous for its astronomical cost of living; the average rent as of February for a one-bedroom apartment was $3,368. Cities with vibrant arts, music, and social scenes are being hit hard by gentrification. The pattern repeats itself in cities everywhere—artists, nonprofit leaders, young people, DIY culture, urban farmers, and small-scale entrepreneurs begin revitalizing a city. Then real estate speculators arrive, and before long the people who created the scene and many long-time residents find themselves priced out, leaving only the super wealthy—and the homeless.

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  • Press Democrat: Close to Home: Investment in affordable housing will create safer communities

    Providing affordable homes for Californians has many benefits. It generates jobs, supports business expansion, reduces crime, improves air quality and improves public health. Sounds like a no-brainer. But the state needs to do more to help local governments tackle the state’s devastating housing crisis. California has seen a 69 percent overall decline in state and federal investment in production and preservation of affordable housing since the Great Recession in 2008. Yet Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2017-18 budget plan makes no new investment in affordable home construction. We urgently need action from the state.

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  • Construction Dive: Number of new homes priced under $250K continues to decline

    Elevated home values triggered by tight inventory conditions across all housing categories is one contributor to the relative growth in bigger-ticket sales. Meanwhile, factors such as student debt, slow wage growth and high rents are making it difficult for younger buyers, who typically purchase lower-priced homes, to save up for a down payment. Entry-level inventory continues to contract. Supply fell 8.7% during the first quarter of 2017 from a year earlier while the median list price was up 8.3% for the period, according to Trulia. With existing homeowners slow to trade up to larger homes and leave their properties for purchase by younger, first-time buyers, some homebuilders are stepping in to create the necessary inventory to fill the gap. Among them, Meritage Homes, D.R. Horton and Toll Brothers, along with a few regional builders, now offer entry-level home plans with smaller footprints and fewer amenities to help reduce the cost of building at such a low price-point.

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  • SacBee: Rising home prices in California concern economists, prompt action by lenders

    Housing affordability – or more precisely, the increasing lack of it – in California has prompted growing concern among economists and segments of the residential real estate industry. Sung Won Sohn, a professor of economics at California State University, Channel Islands, said last week that “the average person, especially in the Bay Area and Southern California, is essentially priced out of the market. The only way they can buy a home is with a high-paying job or their parents helping them out.” The former chief economist for Wells Fargo added that “the importance of housing in California is greater … than it is elsewhere. California is very real estate-dependent and it’s a very important part of the economy. Home ownership is tied to economic growth. Just think of the spending related to owning a house – on shrubs, glass, tile, carpet, appliances, furniture and more. A lot of spending is dependent on housing.”

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  • Construction Dive: Most fully affordable housing built in areas with few resources

    Growth in multifamily construction, particularly rental apartments, is tapering after a few strong years of activity following the recession. Nearing overbuilding in many markets, the category is expected to reach a cycle-high in 2017, and lenders are already pulling back from big projects, suggesting that the rapid development in cities like New York and Chicago could slow. Most of the growth has been concentrated at the upper end of the market, however, leaving the low- and middle-income tiers with less inventory than there is demand for. Municipalities are considering upzoning as one solution to create mixed-income projects that combine margin-friendly, high-end multifamily housing with affordable units as well as retail and office space, parking and access to transit.

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  • Lost Coast Outpost: As State and Federal Funding Dwindles, Local Governments Struggle to Provide Affordable Housing

    If someone told you that it’s more expensive to live in Humboldt County than in San Francisco, you’d probably be skeptical — and rightly so: San Francisco has the highest rents in the state by a pretty wide margin. But if you add in the cost of transportation and then measure costs as a percentage of total income, things start to look a lot different.

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  • Next City: Nonprofits Join Up to Increase Affordable Housing Heft

    As  New York City experienced rampant arson and neighborhoods saw continued disinvestment in the 1970s, many residents stayed and stuck it out — even as landlords abandoned them. They organized and began working with the city to take over foreclosed and neglected properties, transferring them to nonprofit community development corporations to stabilize neighborhoods and preserve affordable housing. Many of those same groups today face tough competition in a pricey New York City real estate market, and a new nonprofit, JOE NYC, has several of them joining together to get an edge.

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  • Monterey Herald: Monetary Meeting to Address City’s Plans for Affordable Housing

    The spotlight will be on the city of Monterey’s housing policy during a special meeting Wednesday designed to provide council members and the public a snapshot of the activities and strategy relating to the city’s housing crisis. The presentation comes as the housing office prepares its yearly budget and Community Development Block Grant action plan, which relies on federal money that it and other cities receive on an annual basis to put toward disadvantaged and low income portions of the population. The overall goals of the city’s housing plan includes improving housing opportunities for low and moderate-income households and providing a suitable living environment for all residents and income levels.

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  • SF Gate: Three California Cities Require the Highest Salaries in the US to Afford a Home

    Los Angeles: $503,40030-year fixed mortgage rate: 3.97%Monthly payment: $2,294.02Salary needed: $98,315.22 Photo: GettyWe all know San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live, but what about the rest of California? A recent study shows three California cities (including SF, of course) are more expensive than all other U.S. cities — including New York — when it comes to median home prices and how much you need to make to afford a home. Unsurprisingly, San Francisco has the highest median home price in the country at $837,500. The salary needed to purchase an SF home is $160,589.84, and the 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 4.10%. But No. 2 didn’t go to New York. San Diego and Los Angeles had the next highest median home prices, at $593,000 and $503,400 respectively.

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  • The Economist: Millennials May Move Less because Fewer of Them Own Homes

    MILLENNIALS—the generation which roughly includes those born between 1980 and 1996—have a reputation for being footloose. But analysis by the Pew Research Centre released in February suggests American millennials are moving less than previous generations did when they were younger. In 2016 20% of those aged 25-35 changed addresses, compared with 26% of the generation above in 2000 and 27% of late baby-boomers in 1990.

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