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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Housing obstacles can’t hold back homebuyer demand

And what some cities are doing about affordable housing.

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across the HousingWire weekend desk with more coverage to come on bigger issues.

It’s no secret that affordable housing continues to be more difficult to find, and competition among first-time homebuyers continues to remain fierce.

Now, some cities are beginning to take action against the affordable housing crisis. Over the weekend, a 130-unit housing project in San Francisco will be the first to take advantage of a new law that allows developers to skip expensive and lengthy environmental reviews in exchange for building a certain amount of affordable apartments, according to an article by J.K. Dineen for the San Francisco Chronicle.

From the article:

Under the law by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, developers of certain projects can bypass the environmental analysis typically required. In exchange for expedited approvals the developer must commit to a certain percentage of permanently affordable units. The amount of affordable units ranges from 10 to 100 percent, depending on the community and how much housing it produces. In San Francisco, a developer looking to take advantage of SB35 must commit to making at least 50 percent of the units affordable.

Mission Economic Development Agency and the Tenderloin Neighborhood Corp. submitted an application to invoke Senate Bill 35. Developers explained this legislation could cut the process by six months to a year, and allows them to build an extra two stories.

However, some say the legislation doesn’t go far enough, claiming that the minimum requirement of 10% doesn’t go far enough for the affordable housing needs of San Francisco. What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below!

Meanwhile in New York City, politicians are busy blaming each other for the city’s public housing crisis.

An article by Karen Matthews for ABC News explained that after years of neglect, New York’s public housing system is finally getting attention from politicians. While they are promising a fix to the system, they are also busy throwing blame on each other in the midst of an election year.

From the article:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency last week at the New York City Housing Authority, saying its 400,000 tenants have had to endure gaps in basic maintenance that have left some units barely fit for habitation.

“It is disgusting,” he told a business group Thursday.

But Cuomo’s support for the housing system was also seen as an action against his fellow Democrat New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Meanwhile, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson also jumped into the mix.

He said he would require the housing authority to get prior federal approcal before expenditure out of its capital fund, saying “We don’t want to do it that way, but they forced us into doing it that way until they become more responsible.”

You would think we could all agree on something as simple as making sure living conditions are decent, but these days, apparently not.

But despite these challenges, buyer traffic continues to rise, even as real estate agents remain concerned over mortgage rates and housing inventory.

The past two weeks, interest rates decreased slightly, but they are expected to rise again soon. As you might would imagine, this sent homebuyers into a frenzy.

The problem? There’s not enough housing inventory to go around.

An article by Andrea Riquier for MarketWatch shows what real estate agents are saying about the increasing homebuyers.

The threat of rising mortgage rates is also starting to be felt. That “got many buyers off the fence,” as one survey respondent in Houston said. In 36 metro areas Credit Suisse surveys, 23 said incoming rate increases were motivating buyers. Still, as one Seattle real estate agent put it, “Rate increases are causing a sense of urgency, but there is not enough inventory to sell.”

If you’re looking for the best place to relocate, after checking the cost of living for the area, home prices and job opportunities, you may want to also take a look at the level of air pollution in the area.

BreatheLife, a climate and clean air coalition initiative led by the World Health Organization and UN Environment, analyzed many of the world’s largest cities to see how many fall under the WHO safe level.

Fortunately, my city, Dallas, falls under the safe level, but not all cities in the U.S. can say the same. There are a total of 38,043 deaths in the U.S. each year from air pollution-related diseases. The leading killer is Ischemic heart disease.

Want to see where your city falls? Click here to see how polluted your air is.

Finally, tech continues to be a major topic in housing as the mortgage industry struggles to catch up to this century, or get left behind.

Follow HousingWire’s Online Editor Caroline Basile this week as she brings us the latest updates from the Lendit Fintech conference in San Francisco.

Source: Housing Wire

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