September 23, 2015
- Green Cities? Urbanization, Trade and the Environment, Rainald Borck & Michael Pflüger, IZA Discussion Paper No. 9104.
- The Impact of Foreclosure Delay on U.S. Employment, Kyle F. Herkenhoff & Lee E. Ohanian, NBER Working Paper No. w21532.
- Are Bigger Companies Better for Low-Income Borrowers?: Evidence from Payday and Title Loan Advertisements, Jim Hawkins, Journal of Law, Economics and Policy, Forthcoming.
- Price Expectations and the U.S. Housing Boom, Pascal Towbin & Sebastian Weber, IMF Working Paper No. 15/182.
September 22, 2015
Enterprise Community Partners and the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University have issued a report, Projecting Trends in Severely Cost-Burdened Renters: 2015-2025. The report opens,
At last measure in 2013, over one in four renters, or 11.2 million renter households, were severely burdened by rents that took up over half their incomes. This total represented a slight reduction from the record level of 11.3 million set in 2011, but remains dramatically higher than the start of the last decade, having risen by more than 3 million since 2000. With substantial growth in renter households expected over the next decade and little sign of a turnaround in the income and rent trends that produced these record levels of cost burdens, there is little prospect for substantial improvement in these conditions over the coming decade. (4)
And it concludes,
Overall, our analysis projects a fairly bleak picture of severe renter burdens across the U.S. for the coming decade. Under nearly all of the scenarios performed, we found that the renter affordability crisis will continue to worsen without intervention. According to our projections, annual income growth would need to exceed annual rent growth by 1 percent in order to reduce the number of severely burdened renters in 10 years. Importantly, that decline would have a net impact on fewer than 200,000 households, only because continued increases in burdens among minorities would be offset by declines among whites. Under the more likely scenario that rents will continue to outpace incomes, the number of severely rent-burdened households would increase by a range of 1.7 – 3 million, depending on the magnitude.
Given these findings, it is critical for policymakers at all levels of government to prioritize the preservation and development of affordable rental housing. Even if the economy continues its slow recovery and income growth improves, there are simply not enough quality, affordable rental units to house the millions of households paying over half their income in rental costs. (16)
It is unsurprising that the policy takeaway of these two housing organizations is to prioritize the preservation and development of affordable housing. But given the pervasive nature of the problem, I wonder if it is better to just say that this is an income inequality problem and address the root cause — low-income families just don’t have enough money to make ends meet.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has finalized changes to Mortgage Rules as applied to small lenders that operate primarily in underserved and rural areas. This change eliminates some of the prohibitions under the Ability- to-Repay Rule thereby allowing income to debt ratios as high and 43% and balloon payments, as long as the creditor holds the loan in their own portfolio. The Rule also allows more creditors to be considered small lenders because it increases the number of mortgages a small lender can hold from 500 to 2000. It would also expand the number of geographic locations which can be considered rural.
September 21, 2015
Real Affordability for All has released a report, Real Affordable Communities: Mayor Bill De Blasio and the Future of New York City. The report opens,
Across the five boroughs, the affordability crisis is growing every day. Today, low- and moderate-income New Yorkers continue to be priced out of their neighborhoods. The incomes of countless New Yorkers are not increasing while rents keep rising. The growing gap between lower incomes and higher rents is making New York City increasingly unaffordable.
Indeed, a recent study released by StreetEasy, The High Burden of Low Wages: How Renting Affordably in NYC is Impossible on Minimum Wage, found that a New Yorker earning $15 an hour could afford just one neighborhood: Throgs Neck in the Bronx.
“The extent to which rent growth has outpaced income growth in New York City means low-wage workers face three options: find several roommates to lower their personal rent burden, take on more than one job, or move out of New York City,” the study finds.
According to a close analysis of the most recent Census data, Bloomberg’s housing efforts generated a shortage of more than 400,000 affordable units for low-income New Yorkers. Low-income here is defined as a household earning less than 50% of Area Median Income (AMI). For a household of four, that means an approximate annual income of less than $42,000. (In 2012 New York City area median income was $83,600 for a family of four; the 2015 New York City area median income for a family of four is $86,300).
Overall, utilizing the 2012 census data, more than 700,000 low-income New Yorkers were left behind by Bloomberg’s housing plan. To tackle the affordability crisis, Mayor de Blasio has proposed preserving or creating 200,000 units of affordable housing. He wants to achieve that goal through mandatory inclusionary zoning and dense new residential development in various neighborhoods.
To succeed, de Blasio will need to avoid repeating the mistakes of Bloomberg’s housing agenda, and ensure that real affordable housing is created for the huge number of low-income New Yorkers who were not served by the previous administration and still struggle to survive. (1-2)
The Real Affordability for All advocates that “Low-income neighborhoods like East New York and the South Bronx will be empowered to offer a ‘density bonus’ to developers in exchange for real affordable housing below 50 % of AMI and for career-oriented union construction jobs for local residents at new development sites.” (7)
The report provides an example pro forma for one building to demonstrate that this plan is do-able. The report does not, however, indicate where the De Blasio Administration would find the $15 million in additional subsidies it would take for this one building to be built according to the Real Affordability for All guidelines.
At this point, the plan is more of a wish list than a serious proposal, but it does make clear that there is a deep need for deep housing subsidies among low- and moderate-income households.
- NY bankruptcy judge dismissed suit against DLA Piper for misappropriation of over $36 million in payments to cover mortgage-backed securities. The judge cited NY law that “prevents wrongdoers and their successors from pursuing claims that arise out of their own misconduct.”
- NY federal judge denied “Act of God” defense made by National Electronic Transit Corporation for damage caused to machines stored in warehouse during Hurricane Sandy, instead finding that the company was under-prepared for the storm.
- RBS Securities has settled to pay $129.6 million for claims made by the National Credit Union Administration for the sale of mortgage-backed securities, which may have led to the failure of two credit unions.
- NY federal court denied Citibank’s bid to relate FDIC’s suit over failure as trustee for mortgage-backed securities to a suit accusing the bank of mishandling mortgage-backed securities in pooled loans.