December 13, 2012
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Deep-pocket investors bet on rental-housing market rebound
Hedge funds and private-equity firms have put billions of dollars into foreclosed houses with the intention of renovating them and putting them back on the market as rental properties. They are counting on the value of the houses soaring as the housing market gets back on its feet.  The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (12/8)
Demand for rental housing fuels apartment development
Construction of multifamily housing is booming as developers seize on rising rents and pent-up demand for apartments. Much of the demand is from young adults who are moving out of their parents' homes, experts say.  The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (12/6)
Trends in Housing
Reports show a drop in housing affordability
Housing affordability is dropping as the market recovers, according to an index from the National Association of Realtors. "The era of increasing homeownership affordability in big cities is ending," says a recent report from real estate firm Trulia.  CNBC (12/11)
Mobility rate improves along with economy
The rate at which Americans are moving to new homes has been at record lows recently, but in 2011-12, it saw a slight increase to 12% from 11.6% the previous year, U.S. Census Bureau data show. The improving economy and programs meant to stabilize the housing market have helped promote mobility, experts say.  The Christian Science Monitor (12/11)
Other News
Policy Roundup
Mortgage law's expiration threatens housing recovery
A major factor in the U.S. housing recovery is a law passed five years ago that suspends the tax liability on lenders' debt forgiveness when underwater homeowners want to sell their properties. That law is set to expire at year-end, and no action is under way in Congress to renew it.  CNBC/Realty Check blog (12/6), (12/6), (12/6)
Conn. governor: "Transit-oriented development is here to stay"
Public-private development located near transit stops, known as transit-oriented development, can help Connecticut solve its transportation challenges, says Gov. Daniel Malloy. "Transit-oriented development is here to stay," said Malloy, who has created a working group on the issue.  The Hartford Courant (Conn.) (12/10)
Obama seeks new FHFA chief
The White House is preparing to nominate a new director for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Names of potential nominees are still being gathered, sources say.  The Wall Street Journal/Developments blog (12/10)
Location, Location, Location
Housing recovery programs in Reno, Nev., total $900M
The federal government and mortgage servicers have invested $900 million so far in efforts to help homeowners in Reno, Nev., recover from the housing crisis, officials say. That includes money from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the Hardest Hit Fund, as well as investments from servicers mandated under a national mortgage-practices settlement.  Reno Gazette-Journal (Nev.) (12/8)
Des Moines, Iowa, seeks to balance market-rate and low-income housing
City leaders in Des Moines, Iowa, are struggling to find the right mix of market-rate and income-restricted housing as development continues downtown. Some developers rely on the tax credits they can get by including income-restricted units. However, young professionals say there is no housing in their income range, and the mayor fears that an abundance of income-restricted units will drive away high-end retailers. "It seems like it works against our goal of having that mixed-assortment housing in downtown and all kinds of folks living together down here," said Mayor Frank Cownie.  The Des Moines Register (Iowa) (12/9)
Health and Housing
N.Y. public housing residents face health challenges after storm
Some residents of New York City's public housing were still without reliable electricity and other basic needs three weeks after Superstorm Sandy hit. City officials did not enforce their evacuation order, and efforts to help the residents in the storm's aftermath have been lagging, according to a New York Times investigation.  The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (12/9)
Opportunity and Housing
Kansas City redevelopment effort is at a financial crossroads
The Green Impact Zone, an effort to redevelop a 150-block swath of Kansas City's urban core, could be forced to halt its work after three years now that funding for the initiative is running out. The effort directed all of the capital-improvement money the city received from federal stimulus programs to five adjacent neighborhoods, seeking to make a bigger impact that way than by spreading it out citywide. Some say the effort paid off, while others say community development work must continue.  The Kansas City Star (Mo.) (12/7)
Housing Matters Spotlight
Call for housing research proposals
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has issued a request for housing research proposals as part of its How Housing Matters to Families and Communities program, a five-year, $25 million research initiative to deepen the literature on the effect that investments in housing have on social and economic outcomes, beyond shelter. In the 2012-2013 phase of this initiative, the foundation seeks to expand the body of empirical evidence on the difference that living in decent, stable and affordable housing makes in the lives of children, families and communities. Research abstracts are due by Jan. 11.

For More Information:
How Housing Matters to Families and Communities call for proposals
How Housing Matters to Families and Communities research initiative
MacArthur's housing grant-making
About How Housing Matters
The How Housing Matters research initiative seeks to demonstrate how having a decent, stable, affordable home leads to strong families and vibrant communities. Research is showing that stable, quality housing has value beyond the provision of shelter; it improves school performance, diminishes health problems for children and adults, and decreases psychological stress. By illuminating the ways in which housing matters and highlighting innovative practices in the field, we hope to encourage collaboration among leaders and policymakers in housing, education, health, and economic development to help families lead healthy, successful lives. How Housing Matters is an initiative of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Learn more about The MacArthur Foundation ->How Housing Matters | The MacArthur Foundation
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