An article in The Wall Street Journal details the difficulties that were faced by home owners caught in the Goldman Sachs/John Paulson finance scheme ("The Busted Homes Behind a Big Bet"). The article calls the situation a "dizzyingly complex transaction, involving 90 bonds and a 65-page deal sheet. But it all boiled down to whether people ... read more »
For the past six years, Hugh Pavletich of Performance Urban Planning (Christchurch, New Zealand) and I have authored the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey. The Survey assesses structural housing affordability by the use of the Median Multiple (median house price divided by the median household income). This measure is in wide use and has been recommended by the United Nations and the World Bank. read more »
Queensland might be thought of as the Florida of Australia. Like Florida, Queensland is the "Sunshine state." For years, Queensland has been the fastest growing state in the nation, just as Florida has been the fastest growing large state in the United States. The Gold Coast in Southeast Queensland might be characterized as Miami Beach on steroids. read more »
President Obama has announced a special program of assistance for home owners in the five states that have been hit hardest by the housing crisis. The proposed program is targeted at California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Michigan, where house price declines are more than 20% from the peak of the bubble. read more »
Darwin, capital of Australia’s Northern Territory is located next to the sea, across from the Indonesian archipelago. Darwin is also located next to a sea of developable land in one of the world’s least developed nations. Only 0.3% of Australia’s land is developed, approximately 1/10th the rate of the United States or Canada (in the agricultural belt) and even less compared to European nations. read more »
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernacke called for stronger regulation to avoid future asset bubbles, such as the housing bubble that precipitated the international financial crisis (the Great Recession) in an Atlanta speech. read more »
There is considerable discussion about tasking the Federal Reserve Board with monitoring and even taking actions to prevent asset bubbles. Before they move too far, the Fed needs to understand what happened in the housing bubble to which they responded after the world economy was decimated. read more »
In the 1990s, just about the only site amenity that most suburban developments offered was a fancy entrance monument. Usually, there were no other additions beyond ordinance minimums and even those weren’t generally elaborate. Some of these monuments did cost millions, but once past the gilded gates, the seduction ended, and residents were greeted by familiar monotonous cookie cutter subdivisions. read more »
It has been a bad media week for New Urbanism.
“The day that New Urbanism Died?” was the headline of the St. Louis Urban Workshop blog that detailed the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Whittaker Builders, developer of the “New Town at St. Charles,” a premier New Urbanist community located in the St. Louis exurbs (beyond the suburbs). read more »
Soon after President Obama took office, a proposed plan to “develop federal policies to induce states and local communities to embrace ‘smart growth’ land use strategies” was announced.
This “Livable Communities Program” is intended to save land and clean up the environment. It is seen as encouraging denser housing arrangements to deter automobile use and accommodate the transit industry, according to goals set by the Secretaries of HUD, EPA and Transportation. read more »