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housing

Detroit houses
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. 

Detroit houses
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.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Financially struggling Michigan homeowners may face a new problem.

98,000 Michigan homeowners have Home Equity Lines of Credit that are scheduled to reset at a higher interest rate during the next four years.

Nationally, more than half the three million homeowners with these lines of credit are seriously underwater on their mortgage.

slemboskilaw.com/

In the future, Michiganders behind in their rent payments may get an email eviction notice.

Currently, initial eviction notices are sent by first class mail. But a bill before the state House Judiciary committee would allow landlords use electronic mail instead.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

First-time home buyers in Michigan may have a harder time than people in other states finding down payment assistance.

A study finds nationally 87% of homes on the market would qualify for a down payment program available in the county where they are located.

But the report says there are fewer programs in Michigan than in most other states. 

House in Detroit.
Jason Irla / Flickr

DETROIT - Mayor Mike Duggan has released a plan to allow Detroit municipal workers, retirees and their families to pay half the price of their winning auction bids for city-owned houses.

Duggan told reporters Monday that the program will help strengthen neighborhoods and return more residents to home ownership.

He says the plan could be in place by mid-February if approved by City Council.

The city owns thousands of empty houses. It is tearing down those that can't be rehabilitated while attempting to sell others to buyers willing to fix them up and move in. Detroit began auctioning vacant houses last year through its land bank.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Fewer and fewer Michigan homeowners are seriously underwater on their mortgages. 

Realty Trac reports 10% of Michigan homeowners owe at least 25% more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.   

The percentage of Michigan homeowners seriously underwater on their mortgages has been declining steadily since the Great Recession. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is starting an effort to help people in a low-income housing complex connect with the rest of the city.

The Atherton East apartment complex is literally on the other side of the tracks.  It’s closer to strip joints than grocery stores. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

2015 may be another slow growth year for Michigan’s housing industry.

A few years ago, as home sales slowly started to recover from the depths of the Great Recession, analysts were predicting a return to strong housing sales by 2015

Now that 2015 is a week away, those expectations are not quite as high

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report says a quarter of Michigan homeowners are underwater on their mortgages – and that’s a big improvement.

Back in 2012, roughly half of Michigan homeowners owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth.

Daren Bloomquist of Realty Trac says Michigan, like the rest of the nation, has seen steady improvement in home values since the end of the recession.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING – Michigan is helping provide lower interest rates to first-time homebuyers in eight cities.

About 300 individual or families in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Pontiac, Saginaw, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, and Jackson can take advantage of a program announced Friday.

First-time homebuyers who meet eligibility requirements can get a 3.125% mortgage interest rate without down payment assistance. If they need help with their down payment, the interest rate is 3.625%.

Gov. Rick Snyder says he wants to increase home sales in five cities hit hard by blight and three other cities needing a boost.

Michigan State Housing Development Authority Executive Director Scott Woosley says most of Michigan's real estate market has bounced back, but some areas are still experiencing significant sales declines.

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