Housing Roundup: Oct. 14-20

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In Shift, States Step in on Affordable Housing

Associated Press

As an affordable housing crisis continues to escalate in big cities and small towns alike, states are scrambling to find ways to combat it. This year, there’s been a flurry of state legislation to tackle the problem — with radically different approaches that reflect the highly partisan national divide. Although local zoning rules typically play out in city council and suburban board meetings, states from South Carolina to Hawaii are getting involved. Sometimes this means removing zoning barriers to building affordable housing. And sometimes state lawmakers take the opposite approach, seeking to prevent cities from requiring that builders include affordable housing units in their developments. https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2018/10/15/in-shift-states-step-in-on-affordable-housing

Home ownership has become a luxury in California – but could the tides be shifting?

KPCC

With mortgage rates spiking and housing costs remaining stubbornly high, it’s no wonder that only a quarter of California residents can afford to buy homes. This week brought the latest numbers on mortgage rates in the U.S. and it’s not looking promising for buyers. Rates have risen to nearly 5%, and though the Wall Street Journal indicates that mortgage rates of 5-7% are historically normal, nearly a generation of buyers have become used to paying below 4% and may hesitate to commit to a purchase with more financial strings attached. In addition to the creeping mortgages, housing prices continue to climb, and California remains one of the least affordable states for home ownership. We speak with analysts and experts across the housing industry to dissect the numbers and see how the trends may influence SoCal residents.

https://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2018/10/12/63786/home-ownership-has-become-a-luxury-in-california-b/

SF to cover Housing Authority deficit so poor families won’t lose homes

San Francisco Chronicle

An audit of the San Francisco Housing Authority has uncovered a deficit that could reach as high as $30 million, a shortfall city officials say they are scrambling to cover by December to protect thousands of low-income families who would face displacement if the funding gap is not filled. The deficit was discovered last week during an audit conducted by the accounting firm BDO and a “quality assurance team” from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, said Kate Hartley, director of the Mayor’s Office Of Housing and Community Development. https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/SF-has-to-cover-Housing-Authority-deficit-

Oakland to pay rent for low-income residents at risk of homelessness

San Francisco Chronicle

Oakland residents at risk of homelessness could qualify for emergency rent checks and legal representation under a new program announced Monday by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and three Bay Area nonprofits. At a City Hall news conference, Schaaf and executives from the East Bay Community Law Center, Catholic Charities of the East Bay and Bay Area Community Services presented a $9 million pilot plan called Keep Oakland Housed, which is designed to provide support services for low-income city residents. https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Oakland-to-pay-rent-for-low-income-residents-at-13309308.php

Unwilling to Wait for Voters, Los Angeles County Jumps Gun on Temporary Rent Control

Fox & Hounds

Los Angeles County couldn’t wait for voters to decide this fall if local governments can enact rent-control laws. The Board of Supervisors recently enacted a “temporary” restriction on rent increases. If they think that will relieve the housing crisis, they are mistaken. The Los Angeles County ordinance sets rents at their current

levels,

and caps increases to 3 percent a year in unincorporated parts of the county. Supervisors will vote again in December, and if approved then, the ordinance will take effect 30 days later. Rents would be frozen at Sept. 11 levels for six months, and landlords would be required to show “just cause for tenant evictions.” http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2018/10/unwilling-wait-voters-los-angeles-county-jumps-gun-temporary-rent-control/

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