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housing

Urban Institute

African-American homeownership has fallen further in Michigan than in any other state since 2000, and a growing number of low-income renters in Metro Detroit are “being squeezed from all sides” when it comes to finding affordable housing.

Those are two just two notable conclusions from a series of reports released by the Urban Institute this week about major issues in Southeast Michigan’s housing market.

Passengers prepare to board the high-speed rail in Minneapolis
Micheal Hicks / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The counties in Southeast Michigan cannot agree on a regional transportation plan. Regional unity, as is well known, is an uphill struggle in the state.

A new report, recently completed for Michigan Future, Inc., discusses another Great Lakes state that has had major success in creating a unified regional transportation for its citizens, among other things.

The new report by journalist Rick Haglund is called Regional Collaboration Matters: How Metro Minneapolis has forged one of the wealthiest and most livable metropolitan areas in the United States.

Dan Moyle / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

This is the time of year when For Sale signs start popping up with the spring crocuses and tulips. But the home-buying season might be a challenge this year in Grand Rapids, despite high home prices.

Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America / Creative Commons

Fifty years ago, the practice of barring people from buying houses in certain neighborhoods or declining home loans because of race or ethnicity became unlawful.

But a new investigation finds it’s still happening.

In the 1930s, property assessors graded American cities on a four-point scale, with the worst neighborhoods coded red, giving birth to the term "redlining."
Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America / Creative Commons

It’s been half a century since the federal government banned discrimination in the home mortgage industry. But a new analysis of mortgage data shows people of color are still routinely denied conventional mortgage loans far more often than white people.

Three adults seated. One holding a small dog.
Lauren Talley / Michigan Radio

There are more than 4.5 million adults in the U.S. with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Most live with their families and a survey by the advocacy group the ARC, found that more than two-thirds of those families don't have a long-term plan for care.

Finding housing is a huge challenge, so some families in Saline are creating a neighborhood of their own.

A neighborhood in Detroit
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s plan to get all city rental properties up to code launches at the start of next month.

Landlords in certain parts of the city will have 90 days to register their properties, and another 90 days to comply with a city ordinance.

Detroit updated and strengthened its rental ordinance last year, after letting it largely go unenforced for years.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan home builders expect demand to drive more home construction in 2018.

The Home Builders Association of Michigan predicts a one percent increase in the number of single-family homes to be constructed in 2018.   

CEO Bob Filka says demand is actually outpacing their ability to build homes.

“We’re pretty much tapped out at about 17,000 homes in terms of the current capacity to build new homes in our state,” says Filka.

Owe taxes? That’s OK. Wayne County will still sell you foreclosed homes.

Oct 12, 2017
Sarah Alvarez / Bridge Magazine

Wayne County doesn’t always enforce a law that forbids tax delinquents from buying properties at its tax foreclosure auctions, contributing to a cycle of speculation that perpetuates blight, a Bridge Magazine investigation has found.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

It used to be property taxes skyrocketed when home values went up. Sometimes tax bills increased by double digit percentages in a single year.

Voters fixed that with the passage of Proposal A in 1994. The constitutional amendment capped how much property taxes could go up in a year at five percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

downtown detroit
flickr user Tim Wang / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The city of Detroit has been losing population for decades, but that could soon change.

Southeast Michigan is expected to gain approximately 380,000 households by 2040, according to a new report from the Urban Institute.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

 Homes sales in Michigan is becoming a seller’s market.

After languishing for years, Michigan’s real estate market is apparently turning in favor of home sellers.

Darin Blomquist is with Attom Data Solutions, which tracks the real estate market.  Blomquist says home sale prices are improving in Michigan, including in parts of the state you wouldn’t expect.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A non-profit in Grand Rapids says it’s reached an agreement to buy 177 homes to preserve affordable housing in the region.
The Inner City Christian Federation, or ICCF, plans to buy the homes from a Chicago-based investment company, known as RDG. Michigan Radio first reported in April that RDG had quietly become the single largest investor in single family homes in Grand Rapids, with more than 140 properties in the city alone.

ICCF says its purchase agreement is for 177 homes in Grand Rapids, Wyoming and Eaton Rapids, near Lansing. 

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Comerica Bank plans to invest up to $5 million in a Detroit program for home mortgages that seeks to address issues with property appraisals.

The money will go toward the Detroit Home Mortgage program, which was introduced last year. The bank notes that housing in Detroit typically appraises below the price to buy and renovate, making it more difficult for some to buy homes in the city.

two construction workers
Elvert Barnes / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

Michigan and other states are having an increasingly hard time finding qualified people to work in construction. The perception that construction careers are dirty, hard, and dangerous plays a big part in the labor shortage.

Brindley Byrd, executive director of the Michigan Construction Foundation, wants to help people find careers in construction by marketing the Michigan Construction "brand" and connecting people to resources like educational training programs.

Land contracts have been around for a long time.

 

If you can’t get a mortgage, they can look like a good alternative to becoming a homeowner. You put some money down, and pay the owner of the house in installments over time.

I am switching roles a bit at Michigan Radio. The change requires me to sell my lovely house in Grand Rapids to work out of Ann Arbor.

Lindsey Smith

City commissioners in Grand Rapids are expected to vote next week on a budget that includes more money for affordable housing.

A preliminary plan released by the city in April included slightly more than $866,000 for the 2018 budget to launch an Affordable Housing Community Fund. The plan proposes about $1 million per year for future years. 

Grand Rapids is in the middle of a housing crisis, with relatively few homes or apartments available in the city, and prices skyrocketing.

Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Michigan was hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. But now, almost nine years after the crash, the state's housing market is showing promising signs of life.

That's especially true in Grand Rapids, which has one of the hottest real estate markets in the nation. 

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has not spoken about why Lansing's former city attorney Janene McIntyre resigned, nor why she was given $160,000 in salary and accrued benefits upon doing so.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has taken an unusual step – he’s declared a housing emergency in the Capitol city.

The declaration comes after a south side Lansing hotel informed dozens and dozens of residents they’ll be evicted in just the next few weeks.

Update: 11:37 a.m., August 15

Michigan State Housing Development Authority Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer issued the following press release over the weekend related to broken elevators at Towne Centre Place in Ypsilanti: 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s home vacancy rate is more than four times the national rate, according to a new report.

Realty Trac says nationally 1.6% of homes are vacant. In Michigan, it’s 3.4%. In Flint, 7.2% are vacant.

Daren Blomquist is with Realty Trac.  He says Flint’s high vacancy rate is “defining the housing market”.

“When you get to a certain threshold, and I would say Flint is far above that threshold, it becomes a driving piece of the market.” Says Blomquist. 

"Price Reduced" sign in front of home.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a sharp uptick in banks repossessing homes in Michigan.

In 2015, 31,000 Michigan homes were in the foreclosure process.  That’s similar to the numbers before the Great Recession.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan home builders are expecting a 25% increase in housing starts next year. But that will still be far below what they were building a decade ago.

Michigan home builders have been slowly climbing out of the hole created by the Great Recession.   Housing starts fell to only six thousand in 2009.   That number is expected to rise to nearly 17,000 in 2016.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s home foreclosure rate is speeding up and slowing down.

Realty Trac reports banks are repossessing more homes – up 27% in November from a year ago – but the number of new homes entering the foreclosure process is way down. 

Daren Blomquist is with Realty Trac. He says banks are clearing out the last of the homes that fell into foreclosure during the Great Recession.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Fewer Michigan homeowners are ‘seriously’ underwater on their mortgages.

The Great Recession sent home prices falling. But for the last few years, home values have been rising across the nation and in Michigan.

Realty Trac recently released its 3rd quarter mortgage report.

Realty Trac reports about one in five Michigan homeowners owe 25% more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan counties rank near the top and the bottom of a new national report on home buying.

Realty Trac looked at affordability and accessibility for home buyers putting up a low down payment.

The report finds 90% of 370 counties nationwide were more affordable than they have been historically. 

A 140 square foot "tiny house."
Gregory Johnson / The Environment Report

A member of the Ann Arbor City Council says he will introduce a resolution directing city staff to draft a plan for establishing a small village of tiny houses on city-owned property across from the YMCA.

Ryan Stanton of the Ann Arbor News reports that council member Stephen Kunselman announced Tuesday his plans to bring forward the resolution at the next council meeting on June 15.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan house flippers were busy in first three months of 2015.

In house flipping, homes are bought to be immediately turned around and sold again.  

About 5% of the single-family homes sold in Michigan from January through March were flipped.  Nationally, only 4% of single family homes sold in the first quarter were flipped.  

Charles & Adrienne Esseltine / Flickr / Flickr

Some 5,000 would-be Detroit homeowners are expected to turn out tomorrow for a mortgage workshop, according to the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America.

Attendance is the required first step for taking part in a new Detroit mortgage program boasting no down payments, closing costs, or credit checks.

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