[COMM-ORG] Shelterforce Roundtable: How Has the Housing Crisis Changed Affordable, Housing?

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Tue May 29 09:48:03 CDT 2012

From: Shelterforce <shelter at nhi.org>

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How has the housing crisis changed the landscape of affordable housing 
in the United

With house prices lower now than they have been in years, we don't 
really have to
worry about getting people into homes, right? Not so fast. How much a 
home costs
  is only one of many factors when determining affordability.

Eavesdrop on a fascinating Shelterforce 
as we examine the issue of affordability with leading housing 
researchers and policy
experts: Dr. Raphael Bostic, outgoing assistant secretary of Policy 
Research and
  Development at HUD; Chris Herbert of the Joint Center for Housing 
Studies at Harvard;
Alan Mallach, fellow of NHI, Center for Community Progress and the 
Brookings Institution;
Jeff Lubell of the Center for Housing Policy; and Janneke Ratcliffe of 
the Center
for Community Capital at the University of North Carolina.

Read what they have to say on questions such as: How has the housing 
crisis changed
the landscape of affordable housing in the United States? How should we 
adapt federal
policy to address the differing needs of hot markets and cold markets? 
How do we
  increase residential stability? What is the role of existing, 
unsubsidized supply
in the affordability discussion?

Full transcript now online! 

Alan Mallach and Chris Herbert on affordability:

Mallach: It's an incredibly mixed bag. The variation between markets in 
this country
is just enormous, and I suspect it's greater than before the bust. Think 
of a market
like Las Vegas now, where last spring, the housing and planning people 
from the
city said that, basically, they didn't want to see anymore tax credit 
housing because,
as far as they could tell at this point, it was the people roughly from 
35 percent
of AMI or down who who had the real affordability problems and, in fact, 
they had
a whole bunch of tax credit projects on a watch list for potential 
failure, because
they were losing ground. Essentially, they weren't effectively competing 
with private
market stuff in the same price range.

Then, at the other end, you've got markets, especially some of the major 
  markets, where it's pretty clear that private market rental housing is 
rents are rising, and the affordability issue, is as great, if not greater.

Herbert: I think that there is a question about where we need new 
supply, or whether
we need new supply. But in terms of what's happened with affordability, 
last year,
across the 100 largest markets, we looked at the share [of households] 
paying more
than 50 percent of their income for housing over the course of the last 
and it was up everywhere. There are variations in markets, and some 
markets obviously
fare much worse than others, but the direction was the same.

And a lot of it comes down to the fact that income inequality has been 
Incomes among renters fell across over the last decade. And that was not 
a story
  that was isolated to certain markets. It's true that house prices have 
fallen and
rents did soften, but rents didn't fall that much.

Jeff Lubell on what we don't know about the private market stock:

We know far too little about how most Americans access affordable 
housing. We know
far too little about how the market provides affordable housing. We 
focus almost
  most of our research energy on the HUD-subsidized stock when most of 
the Americans
who are low-income are living in private market stock. And so we know 
too little
  about the filtering mechanism that causes more expensive units to 
become less expensive.
We know too little about the reverse mechanism that upgrades units.

We don't know enough about how to help families achieve a level of 
and stability in private market housing.

Raphael Bostic on preservation of both subsidized and unsubsidized 
affordable units:

Existing stock is where most of the action is for your average American 
We need to make sure the policy's paying attention to that.

Read more... 

Shelterforce, the Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Building, 
is published
by the National Housing Institute and is the leading voice of community 
For more information please visit Shelterforce.org 
and NHI.org 

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