Changing demographics and shifting consumer demands have deeply impacted the real estate market, causing developers to put a greater emphasis than ever before on the creation of smart growth neighborhoods within easy distance to jobs, shops and schools. From millenials to baby-boomers, Americans are moving away from large-lot suburban housing and looking to take up … Continued
The U.S. housing market has begun to recover, and homes with amenities within walking distance will be those most in demand in coming years, according to a new report from the Demand Institute, a division of the U.S. Conference Board.
The Shifting Nature of U.S. Housing Demand, released May 15, examines the state of the U.S. housing market and the new trends emerging as real estate prices begin to recover from the recession.
Notably, the report predicts that areas with homes within walking distance of amenities and public transportation will recover more quickly and more strongly than those without these features. The report authors refer to these communities as “Resilient Walkables”:
About 15 percent of the population lives in this segment, which comprises populous urban or semi-urban communities well served by local amenities. House prices here fell by less than the national average between 2006 and 2011, in some cases by much less. The same is true of local employment…These localities will be the first to recover. We expect house prices here to rise by an average of 3 percent in 2013, and by up to 5 percent a year between 2014 and 2017.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), in partnership with the Metropolitan Planning Council and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, has released a new report, Homes for a Changing Region, highlighting the work of five communities in West Cook County. These communities received Community Challenge grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The report will provide housing supply and workforce data that will help the communities plan and acquire property for future affordable housing and mixed-use developments.
Where does change come from? Who comes up with the ideas and proposals needed to reinvigorate neighborhoods?
Ask New York City Councilmember Brad Lander and he’ll tell you.
To Lander, who has represented the 39th district of Brooklyn on the New York City Council since 2009, community involvement and outreach aren’t just buzzwords. They’re a source of the best inspiration and help shed light on the real reasons to move forward with any project; those that live in a community tend to know what’s best for that community.
In the 39th district – which encompasses the neighborhoods of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park and Kensington – Lander hears the concerns of a racially and economically diverse constituency. From young urban-dwellers with higher education degrees to working-class immigrants, Brooklyn – like the rest of New York – has it all. For Lander to do his job successfully he must find ways to integrate planned improvements and Council agenda items with the personal goals of the people who elected him.
The following op-ed was crossposted from Roll Call.
President Barack Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke seem enamored with renting foreclosed properties to blunt price decreases and to stir economic recovery, but that’s a bandage for symptoms as opposed to a real cure.
Instead, we need to learn from the problems that landed us in this mess in the first place, working to bring government policies in line with good business sense and to incentivize market-driven development.
Or, in the words of investor Warren Buffett, “Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”
The Urban Land Institute’s Terwillinger Center for Workforce Housing held its annual awards gala in September to recognize communities, real estate developers and policymakers in promoting workforce housing affordability. The Jonathan Rose Companies, led by LOCUS steering committee member Jonathan Rose, received the Jack Kemp Workforce Housing Model of Excellence award for their Tapestry development in East Harlem, New York. The award is given in honor of former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp in recognition of four developers who have used innovative financing and design strategies to build developments and offers units at both market rate and below-market rate for residents.
LOCUS Steering Committee member Eric Larson also attended the event to present the Robert C. Larson Workforce Housing Public Policy Award, which recognizes the commitment of a state or local government that is dedicated to the production, rehabilitation and preservation of workforce housing. New this year, the award is named in memory of Larson’s father, Bob Larson, a leading real estate developer and investor chair of the Resolution Trust Corporation and former ULI chairman. This year’s award recipient is the city of San Jose.
“My father believed that a keen sense of community would emerge when dedicated, smart people do the right thing. And public policy, with strong leadership, is key to the lasting quality of a community,” Larson said. “We are thrilled that San Jose is the first recipient of this award bearing my father’s name.”
Originally written by David Alpert and posted on Greater Greater Washington
August 3, 2011
The classic rule of thumb, “drive ’till you qualify,” holds that the farther you go from a city center, the cheaper the cost of living. But a new report shows how in the DC area, housing near the core and near transit stations can be cheaper when transportation costs are factored in.
The Office of Planning worked with the Center for Neighborhood Technology to customize their “H+T” housing and transportation index for our region, and to incorporate more recent American Community Survey data as well as Census data.
Washington DC- Today Smart Growth America applauded New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing an innovative new policy into law. The Land Bank Act will give localities across New York State new tools for redeveloping vacant and abandoned properties. The “land banks” will be created and run by local authorities with the purpose of reducing the high number of vacant properties in many upstate towns and cities and returning those abandoned parcels to a more productive use.
Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, said: “I am thrilled that Governor Cuomo has signed this important bill into law. As the Governor noted in his urban agenda, blighted properties bring despair to communities and land banks are an innovative way to restore struggling neighborhoods. Also, I want to congratulate former Representative Hoyt, Senator Valesky, the Center for Community Progress, CenterState CEO and Empire State Future for their vision and commitment to getting this bill passed and signed into law.”
Originally published Friday, July 22, 2011 in the Albany Times Union
New York cities face a daunting vacancy crisis. Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, Schenectady, Syracuse, Troy and Utica all have vacancy rates over 10 percent, according to recent census data. Vacant properties pose a serious threat to New York communities by lowering surrounding property values, attracting crime, cutting into local tax revenues and perpetuating cycles of disinvestment.
Across New York, leaders have coalesced around the Land Bank Act as an antidote to fight the plague of vacancies. The state Legislature passed the measure; now it is time for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign it into law.
Cross posted from Streetsblog.
The Wall Street Journal yesterday posed the question of whether smart growth policies
and land use restrictions were to blame for the housing boom and bust. The hypothesis comes from Wendell Cox, a long-time critic of smart growth, who, in a recent paper, recycled a specious argument that land use regulations caused housing prices to increase unsustainably, creating the real estate bubble and, eventually, the collapse of the housing market. Cox claims to show that differences in how metro areas regulated development explain the recent housing crisis.
Cox’s argument is full of holes. He examines a few cherry-picked cities while ignoring what happened nationally.
The irrationally exuberant housing market affected real estate prices in most of the country in the decade before 2006, with a pronounced increase after 2003. The only national variable that correlates clearly with this overwhelmingly national trend was the loosening of mortgage lending rules and Wall Street’s invention of new ways to profit from bad loans — not land use restrictions.
In contrast to Cox’s hypothesis, rates of foreclosure correlate most strongly with the year a home was built. All other things being equal, newer neighborhoods – built during the boom and financed with non-traditional loans – have more bank-owned homes now. In other words, areas that pulled out all the stops on new development suffered more than those that took a more measured approach. Rather than impacting neighborhoods that built according to smart growth strategies, the foreclosure crisis is now a much bigger problem for peripheral suburbs that sacrificed quality and access to jobs in exchange for more taxable properties.
As Chris Leinberger, fellow at Brookings and president of Smart Growth America’s LOCUS project, told the WSJ, the price decline on the “drivable fringe” was generally twice as bad during the crash, “and it was that part of the market that is the least regulated.” Walkable, compact neighborhoods essentially “held their value, thank you very much,” he said.
Communities that developed more along the lines of sprawl than smart growth are struggling to recover from the housing crisis. Recent census data show suburban growth is slowing for the first time in decades, and it’s not just the housing crisis that’s to blame. Neighborhoods without transportation choices and located far from employment centers are less attractive to home buyers and are suffering more in the downturn. Desperate developers in the far-flung exurbs are including free cars with home purchases in empty neighborhoods, but it’s getting harder to persuade potential homeowners to commute 60 miles each way to work. Consumers increasingly understand that buying a home with a long, car-dependent commute — especially when gas prices are hitting record highs — can lock a household into an ongoing expense that can blow up their budget.
Smart growth neighborhoods, by contrast, offer insurance against foreclosure and can reduce the combined cost of housing and transportation. Due to consistent demand for walkable neighborhoods with a mix of uses and good access to jobs and public transportation, homes in these neighborhoods are much easier to sell and tend to hold their value. Places that invest in smart growth principles not only survived the housing crisis better, they protect their residents against spiking fuel prices as well. That is good for the homeowners in these communities as well as their local economies, and that’s news we think the Wall Street Journal should be pretty excited about.