Failed Projects Turned Into Affordable Housing

Expensive cities like New York and Seattle are trying to find ways to change failed luxury projects into affordable housing for families with moderate incomes.

Seattle has a measure on the ballot in the next election that would create a fund to buy market-rate real estate developments. New York is studying a plan to subsidize unsold or half-built apartments to make them affordable for families earning between $55,000 and $158,000,

Cities need affordable housing for teachers, police, and firefighters, says Alan Berube, research director of the Brookings Institution’s metropolitan policy program.

Source: USA Today, Martha T. Moore (07/01/2009)

These Cities Are In Line for a Rebound

Have we reached bottom? In many cities, knowledgeable observers say yes.

In October 2005 at the peak of the boom, the median sales price for a U.S. home reached 7.3 times per capita income. By this May it was 5.7 times, just about the historical norm. Home inventories have flattened. The decline in sales has ended – and in some places sales have expedited.

“The indicators are starting to look better,” says Adam York, an economic analyst with Wachovia.

Here are seven markets that SmartMoney magazine says are in line for a rebound:

  • Seattle
  • Raleigh
  • Des Moines
  • Philadelphia
  • Denver
  • Birmingham, Ala.
  • Salt Lake City

Source: SmartMoney (11/01/08)

Small Homes, Cottages Score Big With Buyers

However, home buyers these days increasingly are interested in smaller homes that consume less energy and encourage interaction among neighbors.

Developers in cities such as Seattle, Boston, and Milwaukee are building cottage developments to meet the rising demand.

Architect Ross Chapin and developer Jim Soules have erected nearly 50 Craftsman-style cottages during the last 10 years in the Seattle area. (Watch Video: Choosing Cottages Over McMansions)

The quirky homes sell for as much as $600,000, despite the fact that they range in size from just 800 square feet to 1,500 square feet.

Chapin uses clever design tricks, such as corner windows and skylights, to give the illusion of more space. He also makes the most of every inch by including crawlspace storage and built-in bookshelves and cubbies.

“These days, we drive to the house, open the garage door, go in,” Indianapolis developer Casey Land told the Wall Street Journal. “But it’s important to get to know your neighbors. I think people miss that.”

Source: Wall Street Journal, Sara Lin (07/18/08..)