Harvard: New multifamily home construction not enough to help all rental demand

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Even though new multifamily construction is helping meet the demand for rental properties across the United States, more work needs to be done to help disadvantaged households find affordable housing, says a recent blog post from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

In the article “New Multifamily Construction is Out of Reach for Most Renters,” Joint Center Research Analyst Elizabeth La Jeunesse notes that the 2010s is on track to be the strongest decade for renter growth in history even though the incomes of renters haven’t kept up with rent costs.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the American Community Survey, the Harvard researcher states that the difference between “affordable rent levels” and “median asking rents” was greatest in the Northeast and West, while Midwest and South were the lowest. In the Midwest, the “median asking rent” for newly constructed multifamily rental units was $1,120, while the “affordable rent level” was $730. (Affordable housing is defined as no more than 30 percent of gross household income.)

Find out more.

Morning Minute: Is Illinois a dog state or cat state?

Turns out The Prairie State is pretty evenly split between dog people and cat people. Realtor.com looked at American Veterinary Medical Association data to determine regional pet preferences and found that cats top the list in many northern states while dogs are more popular in the south. Illinois is among 22 states where dog and cat populations are more evenly split. See the infographic and read more from realtor.com.


In other headlines:

Editorial: Illinois housing sales offer lots to celebrate, but also inspire – Moline Dispatch

U.S. jobless aid applications rise to still-low 267,000 – Chicago Tribune

Morning Minute: Neighborhood walkability is important to many younger and first-time buyers

How walkable is your neighborhood? If you are looking to buy or sell a property, the walkability — or close proximity to restaurants, shops and other amenities that are within easy walking distance — of the property can be a big draw to today’s younger buyers, according to a poll by the National Association of REALTORS® and the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University. Read more.

In other headlines:

Share of Seriously Underwater Foreclosure Properties Drops to New Low in Q2 2015 – RealtyTrac

Fannie Mae: Mortgage lenders unnecessarily restrict credit – HousingWire

Pending Home Sales Dip in June – National Association of REALTORS®


HUD action aims to improve integration and reduce segregation

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A new regulation passed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development is designed to help communities better meet fair housing and equal opportunity obligations, according to a story by Inman.com.

The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule was designed to address obstacles that some communities face in offering fair housing choices, such as racial, ethnic and economic segregation. The rule enhances the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Recipients of HUD grants will now be required to develop plans to combat local segregation problems and improve integration, based on HUD’s data analysis. Their first deadline is 270 calendar days prior to the start of the program year beginning Jan. 1, 2018. Program participants must submit updated plans once every five years.

The action comes on the heels of a June 25 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs liable for unintended discrimination through a concept called “disparate impact.” The ruling set a precedent for the Fair Housing Act to protect minorities from acts that unintentionally have a negative effect on their lives. Find out more.

Morning Minute: U.S. home prices climbed in May, S&P/Case-Shiller reports

Another housing index, this time the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, reports rising U.S. home prices this season. Home prices rose 4.9 percent in May compared to the same time last year, according to the index released today. The 20-city composite index tracks prices in metropolitan areas including Chicago. Read the news release.

David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P, said first-time homebuyers — who may be concerned about coming up with a down payment — are a weak spot in the housing market. When first-time buyers hold off on purchasing a home, it impacts the overall housing market activity because their demand drives existing homeowners to consider selling their home, boosting inventory.

In other headlines:

US Home Prices Rose 4.9 Pct. in May, Lifted by Strong Sales – ABC News

Booming Rental Market Sets New Records – NAR Daily Real Estate News