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Old 04-17-2014, 09:12 PM
 
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This article misses/gets wrong a lot of important points -

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/15/bu...ml?ref=us&_r=0

Part of the reason for housing bubble/GFC is that for the better part of a decade no one was building apartments. Developers were chasing sales of greenfield, suburban houses . . . to the point that by the time the bubble burst and the foreclosures were in full swing there was a 7 or 8 year oversupply of those types of houses.

Rental rates have been climbing steadily that whole time because builders just weren't paying attention to that sector of that market. As soon as the GFC hit the builders who survived tried to transition quickly to apartments because the demand was already obvious but, in addition to being 10-12 years behind the curve on apartments, demand for them rising while the financing for them was disappearing.

Add to that that it was only 3 or 4 years ago that HUD lifted the restrictions on loans for mixed use buildings.

Add to that the growing pressure of energy prices. Living closer to town (not necessarily "in the city") has become more popular because gas prices have doubled or tripled over the last 10-15 years.

So anyway, contrary to what was stated in the article, building more units will absolutely help affordability. Maybe not on the neighborhood level but definitely on the metro level. Having an oversupply of housing that is 20-30 miles from where the jobs are is mostly irrelevant these days.

In Philadelphia County rents are affordable (below 30% of median) in most neighborhoods. It's really only the poorest of neighborhoods that are close to Center City where it's a problem and in the metro area it's generally even more affordable than the city (because suburban incomes are typically higher).

But then I realize that Philly is a unique case.

Discuss . . .
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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I live in the Bay Area so housing isn't remotely affordable. I'll give you a few cases. One of my friends, a married couple with a household income of about $180k. He's and engineer. She's a teacher. That sounds great right? Well they live in Silicon Valley, a crappy house in a decent school district starts at about $800k. The condo is $600k. They want or 2-3 bedroom place as they have a 1 year old. They have moved twice in the past 12 months because their landlords have increased the rent by $500 (and refused to complete promised maintenance).

Another friend, another married couple, they can't find a home with the amenities they want. They have 1 kid and are expecting a 2nd. They've got a household income of over $300k. They don't want to pay a million dollars for a 3 bedroom home in a good school district. They have 40% to put down. So they are renting.

I was talking to a friend about moving to the city I work. But I am locked in by rent control. And moving to that town would mean paying 2x more than I pay now (and I wouldn't like it as much as my current neighborhood).

To put it in context. If you want to buy a 1500 sq ft home in a crappy (like drive bys are common) Oakland neighborhood, it costs about $300k.

A one bedroom in SF averages $3000 right now. Oakland 1 bedrooms are averaging $1800. San Jose $2000 and most of the other Silicon Valley places are averaging about $2300.

Well paid people are spending a ton on rent/housing. What about truly middle class or poor people?
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:48 AM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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Duluth, Minnesota is a very affordable place to rent or own a house, although there is a shortage of rental units.

$425 gets you a studio downtown: duluth.craigslist.org/apa/4407404098.html

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$209,900 will land you this bucolic place: Now taking Pre Applications! Summer 2014

$800k? Hah, you've joined the local rich boy club. This one features 6,364 square feet, 5 bedrooms, and 4.5 bathrooms: 2627 E 7Th St, Duluth, MN 55812 - Home For Sale and Real Estate Listing - realtor.com®

High-rolling fans of modern houses might consider spending their hard-earned dough on this one, which sits at the edge of a cliff (literally), offering a panoramic view of the city lights below: 1216 S Ridge Rd, Duluth, MN 55804 - Home For Sale and Real Estate Listing - realtor.com®
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:20 AM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes NH.
3,502 posts, read 5,162,350 times
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There are a variety of affordable home options in the Hartford, CT area. However, the biggest challenge continue to be the economy, especially job growth. Many people with middle-class jobs are doing okay but the biggest problem is being able to keep their jobs as companies are relocating and when they leave the good-paying jobs leave with them. There is also not enough opportunities for new graduates to enter the job market as well as enough opportunities for seasoned displaced workers to find new opportunities. This has resulted in continued pressure on home prices which has an overall negative effect on many other sectors. Affordable homes without jobs is a losing situation.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:27 AM
 
Location: New York City
4,036 posts, read 8,957,856 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
Part of the reason for housing bubble/GFC is that for the better part of a decade no one was building apartments.
Many cities and nearly all suburbs actively prevented developers from building apartments until recently. Most of it had to do with minimum parking requirements for new construction—even in walkable neighborhood with decent transit options.

Silicon Valley’s prices could be could be alleviated significantly but current residents want restrictive zoning laws and high prices. The problem is once you have high prices, current residents have a vested interest in keeping them that way.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,083 posts, read 102,815,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpk-nyc View Post
Many cities and nearly all suburbs actively prevented developers from building apartments until recently. Most of it had to do with minimum parking requirements for new construction—even in walkable neighborhood with decent transit options.

Silicon Valley’s prices could be could be alleviated significantly but current residents want restrictive zoning laws and high prices. The problem is once you have high prices, current residents have a vested interest in keeping them that way.
Oh, not this again! Straight out of the "Conspiracies 101" syllabus! And I know this will ignite a firestorm, but even in "walkable" neighborhood with decent transit options, people own cars. City planners know this. That's why they require parking.
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:15 AM
 
56,893 posts, read 81,238,350 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lincolnian View Post
There are a variety of affordable home options in the Hartford, CT area. However, the biggest challenge continue to be the economy, especially job growth. Many people with middle-class jobs are doing okay but the biggest problem is being able to keep their jobs as companies are relocating and when they leave the good-paying jobs leave with them. There is also not enough opportunities for new graduates to enter the job market as well as enough opportunities for seasoned displaced workers to find new opportunities. This has resulted in continued pressure on home prices which has an overall negative effect on many other sectors. Affordable homes without jobs is a losing situation.
Syracuse is kind of like this too. What is interesting is that Downtown housing has been fully occupied and there is actually demand for more due to college students, some young professionals and empty nesters.

What is also different about this area is that it is not uncommon to see decent homes in a first ring suburb for less than or around 100k and in solid school districts too. Given that the city is only 25 square miles, living in a first ring suburb still allows you to be close to things going on in the city and gives you a short commute. I'm actually in this situation and it takes me 15 minutes, give or take, on surface streets to get to work. So, if you have or can get a decent job around here, you can make it work to where living in the suburbs isn't necessarily a bad deal.

This doesn't get into another fact where some people may even opt for a walkable suburban village that may have some things to walk to, but with villages, you may have higher taxes due to the layers of government services. So, that would be something to possibly factor in, as the property tax situation can be complex and depends on the individual.

Some villages are even getting into or are planning to use former factories to build apartments or may even build them from scratch. Here are some examples of that in the area: Old Syracuse Plastics factory could get a face lift this summer - Eagle Bulletin - Local, News, Weather, Sports, Election coverage, for East Syrause, Fayetteville, Manlius, Onondaga County, Central New York, NY

New development coming to Manlius - JGB Properties, LLC in the News

Apartments for Rent - 401 First Street, Liverpool NY - JGB Properties, LLC
'Persistence pays off' - JGB Properties, LLC in the News

JGB Properties plans three new mixed-use buildings on basin block - Eagle News Online - Local, News, Weather, Sports, Election coverage, for Syracuse, Onondaga and Madison Counties, Central New York, NY

Upper Crown Mill Condominiums » MCK Building Associates, Inc.

The Logan Building » MCK Building Associates, Inc.

Lakeview House Condominiums » MCK Building Associates, Inc.

Sutton Real Estate Company, LLC

Some cities further out in the area are into the loft movement as well: Sutton Real Estate Company, LLC

Sutton Real Estate Company, LLC

Logan Park Lofts | Maintenance Free Living | Auburn, NY

Brister Mills: Restore, Revive, Rediscover

This doesn't get into other options as well.

Last edited by ckhthankgod; 04-18-2014 at 09:53 AM..
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:23 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Oh, not this again! Straight out of the "Conspiracies 101" syllabus!
Some conspiracies are true: most residents don't like their property values to go down. How is he wrong about Silicon Valley? Abolishing say, zoning limiting housing to detached homes in most areas, would allow the supply to go up, probably quickly considering the currently high housing prices.

Quote:
And I know this will ignite a firestorm, but even in "walkable" neighborhood with decent transit options, people own cars. City planners know this. That's why they require parking.
This has been debated on other threads. However, even in city neighborhoods with very limited off street parking, people still own cars. Parking is, however, more inconvenient. These parking requirements are a trade off in cost and space, and perhaps aesthetics.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,771,048 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Oh, not this again! Straight out of the "Conspiracies 101" syllabus! And I know this will ignite a firestorm, but even in "walkable" neighborhood with decent transit options, people own cars. City planners know this. That's why they require parking.
It's a question of how many cars though, depending on the target market and location, the amount of cars residents own can vary a lot.

A student oriented building was recently completely near my university, it has 58 units with 231 bedrooms, and came with 58 parking spaces, as specified by the parking requirements. They were only able to sell 36 parking spaces, which means only about 15% of students would have a car, and this is a relatively high end student building. Anyways, they've now applied for a zoning amendment to convert unused residential parking to commercial parking and convert some space in the building to retail.

In Downtown Toronto, I think 0.5 spaces per unit is about the average, if not less. Many cities, at least a couple decades ago, but many still today, require 1 space per apartment, if not more. Building parking in a dense downtown environment is expensive, since structured (especially underground) parking is expensive to build. Nonetheless, there seem to be people willing to live there despite the fact that they might not be able to afford the parking space, even though they could likely afford it in a more suburban setting.

Also, you might have some buildings where building off street parking might not be feasible, like if it's a small and/or narrow building lot. Lets say demand for parking in this neighbourhood is 0.5 space per unit. The developer of this building might build 30 units with no parking, and a developer of a lot where parking is easier to build might build 30 units with 30 parking spaces, and it could work out fine. With parking requirements, even if they are in line with demand (0.5 spaces per unit), the small/narrow lot might not get developed. And generally speaking, it's very difficult for a city to micromanage and keep track of exactly what the demand is for parking according to each neighbourhood, and target market (i.e. luxury condos would have higher demand than more affordable apartments), and how it's changing with time.

A developer would likely have a better feel for this, especially if like here, they try (or are required) to sell much of the units before the building is built, so if they find that the parking spots are selling great, they can modify the plans to build more, if not, they can modify to build less. Removing parking requirements doesn't mean no parking gets built, it just means it's up to the developer to decide how much they think they need to sell their units. If there's high demand for parking, they'll need to provide it in order to sell their units, and the city doesn't need to say so. And as a neighbourhood evolves, need for parking would too, like if the neighbourhood gets more urban and walkable, or if the building moves downmarket as it ages, demand for parking might go down, and it might be desirable to convert it to other uses.

The same goes for non-residential uses.
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:09 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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However, for most suburbs most of those space requirements aren't going to be an issue, and demand will be higher. For all but the densest suburbs, it shouldn't be hard to squeeze in parking. Multi-family is more often opposed in well-off suburbia because of property values worries (sometimes worried the new residents could poorer), or traffic worries*. Or just a general fear of making their town more crowded.

*I've heard a fear of overwhelming the existing school system once, which doesn't make that much sense
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