March 30, 2018

Community Developments: Infrastructure Proposals and Affordable Housing, Analysis on Housing Affordability and Wages

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  • A blog post by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) explores how the proposed federal infrastructure plans would impact affordable housing. The blog points out that while the Trump Administration’s infrastructure proposal does not address affordable housing challenges, it would still impact the supply of affordable housing by calling for an increase in the usage of Private Activity Bonds (PABs) – which are used to fund affordable housing developments and to generate the 4 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. The post also notes that the Senate Democrats’ infrastructure proposal would provide $62 billion for neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing and lead remediation, although the proposal does not indicate how these funds would be divided among affordable housing and community development programs. (BPC, March 29) Enterprise urges Congress to include housing in any infrastructure package, given the connections between access to affordable housing, job growth and economic mobility.
  • A new analysis of 466 counties by ATTOM Data Solutions shows that median home prices in the first quarter of 2018 were not affordable for average wage earners in 68 percent of the analyzed markets. It also shows that 73 percent of the analyzed markets are less affordable than they were a year ago and 41 percent are less affordable than their historic affordability averages. The analysis notes that home price growth has been far outpacing wage growth: while median home prices nationwide rose 64 percent between 2012 and 2018, average weekly wages only increased 4 percent over the same period. (MHN, March 29)  
  • The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding is calling on housing advocates to join the Our Homes, Our Voices National Housing Week of Action between May 1 - 8. This event aims to bring more attention to the severe shortage of affordable homes and urge increased investments in solutions. The event’s website includes guides for planning different types of activities and sample materials, including talking points, tweets, op-eds, press releases, social media images and posters. Last year, advocates hosted more than 60 rallies, press conferences, letter writing campaigns, and other events across the country.
  • Yesterday the Massachusetts State Senate passed a housing bond bill that would authorize $1.8 billion for affordable housing programs. The bill is expected to fund at least 17,000 new affordable housing units. The House passed its own version of the bill earlier this year, and a conference committee will be scheduled to reconcile the two bills. (Boston Business Journal, March 30) 
  • A King County Superior Court has overturned Seattle’s “first-in-time” law, which requires a landlord to accept the first qualified applicant to live in a rental property, noting that the measure is an “unreasonable means of pursuing anti-discrimination because of its sweeping overbreadth.” The law was passed in 2016 with the goal of combating implicit landlord bias resulting in housing discrimination, but the court ruled that it violates a property-rights provision of the state constitution. (Curbed Seattle, March 29) 

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