Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
July 11, 2018
President's Message I By David M. Dworkin
Dear Friend,

The nation’s severe affordable housing shortage has been the subject of much news coverage. Cities like San Francisco, New York, Washington and Boston have experienced huge increases in property values that make buying a home – especially a first home – impossible for most people. NHC’s Paycheck to Paycheck database demonstrates this very effectively. Today, a homebuyer in Washington, D.C., has to earn over $105,000 per year to afford a moderately priced home. This is significantly out of reach for nearly every teacher, legal secretary, firefighter and retail salesperson in the city. You can check housing affordability for median priced homes for purchase and for rental in your city here.

As property values have recovered in most communities, few homes today remain “under water” (where the value of the home is less than the amount owed on the mortgage). Yet many are still stuck at values too low to allow the owners to sell and have enough equity to move up to a larger home or move into a new neighborhood. Too low? How is that a bad thing? 

First, these neighborhoods have been trapped in a cycle where property values are too low to support home construction and renovation because comparable properties used in appraisals make getting a mortgage with a modest down payment impossible. This is the case in parts of Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Buffalo among other places. Second, when a home is priced below $150,000 many lenders will not make a mortgage on it because the costs of origination and servicing are too high to make it a good business decision. This is especially true of home prices under $100,000. So these homes stay cheap because the only viable market is cash sales by investors. You can read more about this at the Urban Institute’s website here. A recent article in the Detroit News discussed how this has led to a dramatic increase in the gap between white and African-American homeownership throughout the state of Michigan. This kind of disenfranchisement never ends well for anyone.

To help address this significant problem, several leaders in affordable housing including NHC have come together to create the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (NHIA), which aims to revitalize distressed neighborhoods across the nation by mobilizing private investment to build and rehabilitate homes for moderate-and middle-income homeowners. The proposal would amend current law to permit states to exchange private activity bond cap for tax incentives under a similar formula. The NHIA would break this cycle by bridging the gap between the cost of developing or rehabbing owner-occupied homes in distressed neighborhoods and the price at which they can be sold (their appraised value). The NHIA is modeled on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and the New Markets Tax Credit, which support affordable rental housing and economic development, respectively, but are not designed to build or rehabilitate single-family, owner-occupied homes. A similar bill was proposed by President George W. Bush in 2004 and had bipartisan sponsorship from 46 senators and 304 representatives.

Today at 2 p.m. EDT, NHC will host a Restoring Neighborhoods Task Force Webinar, led by Buzz Roberts of the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders. I hope you check it out this afternoon, or at your leisure on our Webinars page

David M. Dworkin
President and CEO
News from Washington I By Kaitlyn Snyder &
Grant Kirkpatrick
Register for NHC's webinar on the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act

Join NHC for our July Restoring Neighborhoods Task Force webinar on July 11 at 2 p.m. EDT. This webinar will feature a presentation from Buzz Roberts, president and CEO of the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders (NAAHL) on the Neighborhood Homes I nvestm ent Act (NHIA). NHIA would add single-family rehabilitation as an eligible use for private activity bonds to address the appraisal gap for distressed single-family properties. NHC and NAAHL are part of a coalition working to advance the proposal in Congress. Register here
"Where Will We Live" campaign launch

NHC member the National Housing Trust (NHT), in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners and People’s Action, launched its “Where Will We Live” resident storytelling campaign. Over the past year, NHT met with low-income families and community leaders, housing owners, property managers and maintenance staff, to see how affordable housing impacts jobs, economic development, health and education of all Americans. Their stories are available here and will be shared with policymakers and the general public to build understanding and support for affordable housing. 
Congressional briefing on the nation's housing shortage and affordability crisis

This Thursday, July 12, NHC member Up For Growth will host its “Briefing on the Nation’s Housing Shortage and Affordability Crisis.” Speakers include Mike Kingsella, Clyde Holland, John Tapogna, Ali Solis, Liz Osborn, Sasha Marshall and Caitlin Sugrue Walter. Additionally, the event will be joined by special guests Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.). Up for Growth promotes smart, compact and efficient growth near underdeveloped transit areas through by-right approval, impact fee recalibration, property tax abatement and value capture. This briefing will take place from noon to 1 p.m. EDT in the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2043. Register here
Listen to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan's remarks from NHC's Annual Policy Symposium

The recording of Mayor Mike Duggan’s keynote presentation on the city of Detroit’s recovery at NHC’s Annual Policy Symposium is available here. A copy of his slides and the rest of the slides from the Policy Symposium are available here
New report on youth homelessness

The True Colors Fund, in partnership with the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, recently released “ State Index on Youth Homelessness 2018.” Nationwide, an estimated 4.2 million youth and young adults under 24 experience homelessness each year. The report tracks youth homelessness in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and then ranks them on 61 metrics. The metrics measure states’ laws and policies, systems and environments that affect youth experiencing homelessness and influence state policy and program implementation. 
Senate hearing on overview of the credit bureaus and Fair Credit Reporting Act

This Thursday, July 12, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs will hold a hearing entitled “An overview of the Credit Bureaus and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.” The witnesses for the hearing will be Peggy Twohig of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and Maneesha Mithal of the Federal Trade Commission. The hearing will take place at 10 a.m. EDT in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 538, and via webcast
The National Housing Conference has been defending the American Home since 1931. Everyone in America should have equal opportunity to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community. NHC convenes and collaborates with our diverse membership and the broader housing and community development sectors to advance our policy, research and communications initiatives to effect positive change at the federal, state and local levels. Politically diverse and nonpartisan, NHC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
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