Throughout the week, the BPC Housing Commission highlights news items that address critical developments in housing policy. Any views expressed in the content posted on this forum do not necessarily represent the views of the Commission, its co-chairs or the Bipartisan Policy Center.
The Washington Post
"The cost of renting in the United States reached an all-time high compared with that of buying a home at the end of last year, indicating that it is a good time for investors to buy, according to Deutsche Bank analysts." Read more here.
By Nate Berg
"According to the real estate services firm CBRE, the nationwide vacancy rate for apartment buildings dropped from 7.4 percent in 2009 to 5.2 percent in 2011." Read more here.
By Bill Briggs
"In 10 of the largest metro markets, there were at least 100 homes listed at $10,000 or below, including Atlanta (234), Baltimore (207) and Chicago (165)..." Read more here.
By Barbara Grady
Next American City
"Childhood asthma is a major health problem in Oakland, and 40 percent of childhood asthma cases are attributed to residential exposures, according to the proposal’s research." Read more here.
By Mary Shanklin
"Even though apartments are being built at a time when Central Florida's shadow inventory of foreclosed houses has added to the rental inventory, the increased competition for tenants has not driven down rents, studies show." Read more here.
By Andrew Scoggin
"Asked about the top three economic priorities for the next presidential administration, 15% of respondents said those should include efforts to improve mortgage availability and the housing market, according to a study from Absolute Strategy Research." Read more here.
By Suzy Khimm
The Washington Post
"After declining in 2011, foreclosures in many states are likely to spike this year, just as President Obama is facing reelection. Since the beginning of 2012, foreclosures have already risen in 21 states." Read more here.
By Nin-Hai Tseng
"But if BofA's "Mortgage to Lease" program is going to take off, the bank might have to work harder to attract financially strapped borrowers. In 2009, mortgage giant Fannie Mae rolled out a similar program. It hasn't been widely used, and from that, we can say that it hasn't been very successful. A spokesman for Fannie says it's hard to say why, but some analysts have said banks simply didn't market the program enough." Read more here.
By Roma Luciw
The Globe and Mail
"A surge of interest in the 10-year mortgage has dramatically altered the home-owner mortgage debate, which has traditionally been a choice between two five-year products – the fixed and variable..." Read more here.
By Justin T. Hilley
"Median home equity held by Hispanics dropped to $49,145 in 2009 from nearly $100,000 four years prior. Pew said it was caused by the share of Hispanics making up populations in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona — the states hardest hit by the downturn." Read more here.
By Gretchen Morgenson
The New York Times
"While some of the same people who helped get us into this housing mess call for Mr. DeMarco’s head, it’s instructive to see what Fannie and Freddie have done to help troubled homeowners — and to compare, where you can, the companies’ efforts with those of banks." Read more here.
By Kerri Panchuk
"The Fed Bank economist said it would take $3.7 trillion, much more than the $25 billion mortgage servicing settlement and other federal housing initiatives, to get homeowners with mortgage debt back to preferred loan-to-value ratio levels." Read more here.