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In The News

AUGUST 15, 2013

How Housing Nonprofits Are Saving Neighborhoods

Nonprofit housing organizations are doing great work to preserve homes and neighborhoods, reduce blight, protect historic features of homes, and create healthy environments. This article explores programs from around the country that are successfully revitalizing homes and neighborhoods through historic preservation, green building, increased energy efficiency, focused rehabilitation for existing homeowners, development of in-house real estate programs, and management of homes that have title or lien problems. Highlighted organizations are:

SOURCE: MSN Real Estate


AUGUST 3, 2013

More Americans Deciding to Rent

The homeownership rate in the U.S. dropped to 65.1 percent during the second quarter of 2013, the lowest it’s been since 1995. This decline is due to continued obstacles related to high unemployment rates and strict lending rules, which makes renting more available and affordable and therefore more appealing.  It’s hard to buy a home and unemployment is still an issue, but the housing market is becoming more stable overall. This article explores rental and ownership trends and explains why renting seems to make more sense to Americans right now.

SOURCE: Reuters


JULY 19, 2013

What to Expect with Rising Mortgage Rates

A recent spike in mortgage rates is making housing professionals wonder about the impact it will have on housing recovery.  Based on history, Mark Palim (Vice President of Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research Group) says that mortgage rate increases should not negatively impact housing recovery.  This article provides detail on recent mortgage rate increases and the impact that similar increases have had in the past.



JULY 11, 2013

Neighborhood Art Fair: Connecting Neighborhoods, Neighbors and Artists

A new community event in Milwaukee is designed to not only showcase local artwork, but local neighborhoods as well.  The first annual Neighborhood Art Fair took place earlier this month, connecting artists with neighbors and fellow artists, and providing them with an opportunity to promote their works to potential buyers.  


JULY 2, 2013

Los Angeles Wins $10M Lawsuit

Two years ago, Los Angeles sued Deutsche Bank AG for neglecting its foreclosed properties in the city of Los Angeles. The servicers were responsible for maintaining foreclosed properties but they neglected to do so and the homes quickly fell into disrepair, creating problems for the city.

SOURCE: Bloomberg Businessweek


JUNE 28, 2013

Creating Bikabilty: What’s Holding Cities Back?

Bike lanes, bike paths and parking options are what make a community bikable, but certain obstacles impact urban bikability.   Of course funding for infrastructure and parking can be difficult to find, but other charges suggest a more serious problem – that the bicycling community symbolizes “gentrification, wealth, whiteness and oppressive elitism;“ claims that are causing some city officials and potential candidates to shy away from support for bikabilty campaigns. 

SOURCE: The Atlantic Cities - Place Matters


JUNE 19, 2013

'ParkScore' Shows Cities with Best Green Spaces

Parks and green spaces are important to urban areas, and truly add quality to resident life.  Every year the Trust for Public Land puts out a report that ranks US cities based on their number of and access to parks, and this years’ list ranks the top 50 metro areas in the US.  Parks are ranked based on access, size, investment and services provided.

SOURCE: The Atlantic Cities - Place Matters


JUNE 14, 2013

Crime or “Tactical Urbanism?”

A man was recently arrested for painting a crosswalk at an intersection that he considered dangerous in Vallejo, California. The man reportedly asked city officials to address the unsafe intersection but took matters into his own hands when his requests were ignored, painting the crosswalk himself. Some local residents were thankful for his action and gave him a “hero’s welcome” when he returned home after spending one night in jail. The man’s $15,000 bail was posted by an anonymous donor.

SOURCE: The Atlantic Cities - Place Matters


JUNE 7, 2013

Foreclosure Help On the Way

Forty-five communities will benefit from an agreement involving funds from Wells Fargo Bank to address housing needs in minority neighborhoods struggling with foreclosure. This agreement -- between Wells Fargo Bank, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the National Fair Housing Alliance and 13 private fair housing organizations -- will include $39 million from Wells Fargo to support home ownership, neighborhood stabilization, rehabilitation and housing development activities.

SOURCE: Safeguard Properties


MAY 30, 2013

Law Helps City Seize Empty Houses

Code issues are a common problem when it comes to vacant properties, so the city of Utica is working to utilize a section of New York State law that will allow it to take over a property more quickly than waiting for the foreclosure process to take place. Title 19-A allows cities to gain title to a property faster, which will minimize the amount of time the property sits vacant and help ease the issues that accompany empty homes. Several cities across the country have looked into similar laws to address the issue of homes in foreclosure that sit vacant and cause problems in the community.



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