April 12, 2017

Community Developments: Public Housing Funds, Immigrants + Housing Markets

A daily roundup of news impacting housing and communities. Not receiving the Community Developments daily email yet? Sign up here. 

  • In light of potential cuts to HUD’s budget, some public housing authorities (PHAs) are undertaking preemptive cost-cutting measures, resulting in fewer available housing vouchers. These measures include drawing down on the voucher payment ceiling, providing vouchers for smaller apartment units and rejecting certain accommodations for tenants that were once deemed reasonable. In addition, housing advocates fear that substantial actual cuts to PHA budgets would lead to more drastic decisions, such as terminating approved housing vouchers. (CityLab, April 11)
  • A new report by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Terwilliger Center for Housing shows that housing and neighborhood location choices of immigrants will have a significant impact on the U.S. housing market for decades to come. The report finds that without the growth of immigrant households, strong housing markets, such as San Francisco, would not have recovered as quickly following the Great Recession, and weaker housing markets, such as Buffalo, would have experienced even slower growth. In addition, the report suggests that immigrants will be a key driver for owner-occupied housing, as they generally have strong aspirations for single-family homeownership, especially in the suburbs. (ULI Terwilliger Center, April 11)
  • On Tuesday, House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) unveiled several revisions he plans to make to his Dodd-Frank repeal and replacement bill, the Financial CHOICE Act. The new draft of the bill would reduce the supervisory powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, revamp bank stress-testing rules and loosen securities regulations. Chairman Hensarling plans to introduce the new draft by the end of this month. (Politico Pro, April 11) President Trump expressed his support for revamping Dodd-Frank in a meeting with chief executives yesterday. (Reuters, April 12)
  • A new analysis performed by Trulia examines homeownership opportunities for restaurant workers, teachers, first responders (police officers and firefighters) and doctors in 93 U.S. metropolitan areas. Restaurant workers face the greatest challenges, as they can afford less than 10 percent of available homes in just 56 of the analyzed metros. Teachers and first responders also have difficulty buying a home, particularly in high-cost metros, but have greater opportunities in the Rust Belt. Doctors have significantly higher wages than the other groups examined and can afford at least 50 percent of available housing in each market, with the exception of San Francisco, where the median home price is $1.3 million. (Trulia, April 12)
  • Saving for a down payment was a barrier to homeownership for more than two-thirds of renters surveyed in a new Zillow study, topping other hurdles like qualifying for a mortgage and job security. However, 63 percent of renters said they are confident they will be able to afford a home someday, and 66 percent believe that owning a home is necessary to live “The American Dream.” (Zillow, April 12)

  • A survey by Freddie Mac shows that more renters are optimistic about their financial situations, like where they’re living and view renting favorably compared to last year. The survey finds a preference among renters for living in urban areas, even if it means moving into a smaller unit or paying more in rent. Contrary to Zillow’s findings in the previous article, this survey shows a declining number of renters who are working toward homeownership or expect to own a home over the next few years. (Freddie Mac, April 10) The differences in Zillow’s and Freddie Mac’s findings regarding homeownership aspirations may be explained by who was surveyed and how the questions were posed to respondents.

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