Housing

RBC Report Highlights Increasing Housing Affordability Challenges in Canada

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Households could face even greater housing affordability challenges in the years to come, according to the September 2017 RBC Economics (RBC) Housing Trends and Affordability report.  read more »

Highest Cost Rental Markets: Even Worse for Buyers

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There is considerable concern about rising rents, especially in the most expensive US housing markets. Yet as tough as rising rents are, the high rent markets are also plagued by even higher house costs relative to the rest of the nation. As a result, progressing from renting to buying is all the more difficult in these areas.  read more »

Protecting Cities in Fire-Prone Regions

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If you live in a fire-prone area, which includes most of California, it is not a good idea to allow ivy and other plants to cover the sides of your building, as this winery and this church did near Santa Rosa. Both were lost to last week’s wildfires.  read more »

Housing Unaffordability Policies: "Paying for Dirt"

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Issi Romem, buildzoom.com's chief economist has made a valuable contribution to the growing literature on the severe unaffordability of housing in a number of US metropolitan areas.  read more »

Rising Rents Are Stressing Out Tenants And Heightening America's Housing Crisis

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The home-buying struggles of Americans, particularly millennials, have been well documented. Yet a recent study by Hunt.com found that the often-proposed “solution” of renting is not much of a panacea. Rents as a percentage of income, according to Zillow, are now at a historic high of 29.1%, compared with the 25.8% rate that prevailed from 1985 to 2000.  read more »

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How We Are Kluging the World's Growth Process

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The quirks of software and operating systems that we seem to experience on a daily basis are the result of Kluges – almost all software is written with fixes that work for a particular problem, often without knowing exactly why that fix works. As both a land planner and developer of high level precision design and engineering software, I do not allow kluged fixes – for either business.  read more »

Progressive Cities: Home of the Worst Housing Inequality

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America's most highly regulated housing markets are also reliably the most progressive in their political attitudes. Yet in terms of gaining an opportunity to own a house, the price impacts of the tough regulation mean profound inequality for the most disadvantaged large ethnicities, African-Americans and Hispanics.  read more »

Bringing Soviet Planning to New York City

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to bring the same policies that worked so well in the Soviet Union, and more recently in Venezuela, to New York City. “If I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed,” he says. “And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents.”  read more »

A Layman's Guide To Houston After Harvey: Don't Throw The Opportunity Baby Out With The Stormwater

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and the disastrous flooding, Houston has come under extreme scrutiny. Some in the global, national as well as local media assaulted the area's flood control system and its development model, criticisms that were echoed by some in the local area.

Much of the current debate starts from a firm misunderstanding of the region’s realities. This could lead to policies that ultimately undermine the keys that have propelled the region’s success. Below is a primer to inform future discussions of Houston’s future trajectory.

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Does the Tax Code Favor Homeowners?

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For many years, a common complaint has been that the provisions of the Federal Internal Revenue Code, and most state income tax codes, favor homeownership in the form of major tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes. With the exception of those who reside in government housing of some type (subsidized apartments, public college dormitories, military housing, jails and penitentiaries), the homeless, almost all U.S. residents either live in a home they, or their family, owns or is paying off the mortgage, or they rent.  read more »

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