Bedford Town news update | Bedford Real Estate

October 19, 2019Contact Us
The Town Board on October 15 held its first work session on the the Town’s 10 year Capital Plan which runs from 2020 through 2029; we also met with Planning Board Chair Deirdre Courtney-Batson to discuss the size, composition and number of subcommittees to develop a new Town Comprehensive Plan; 321 Bedford Road and 74 Main Street (Bedford Hills Community House); making headway in discussions with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection for Phase II for sewers; making headway for the possible acquisition of 56 acres which includes the Buxton Gorge for passive recreational use (trails).   
NEW POSTS
Highlights of the October 15Town Board Meeting
Work Session on 2020 Capital Plan
At this first work session on the Capital Plan, Comptroller Abraham Zambrano provided a high level view of any proposed changes in the existing Capital Plan (including any project expansion), any new projects and any projects which may be deferred.  We anticipate increasing the scope of renovations to the Bedford Hills Community House and carry out the work in 2020 rather than spreading it out over several years (neither a “gut” renovation nor additions are being considered).  
The architectural firm selected (see below) will incorporate recommendations and plans which are provided through the energy audit now under way, including the feasibility and cost effectiveness of geothermal/heat pumps. Approval of Geothermal Feasibility Study
Other project changes include carrying out in 2020 and 2021 HVAC system replacements reaching the end of their useful lives (here, too, geothermal/heat pumps are under consideration); commuter lot improvements such (lighting, landscaping, etc.); roof and gas boiler replacement for the Recreation & Parks Department maintenance building; security systems for the Town House and 425 Cherry Street; IT upgrade/replacements; improvements to the commuter lots (lighting/landscaping); rooftop solar installations; hamlet center improvements (Bedford Hills and Katonah in 2020 following the completion of the sewer system); Todd’s Pond engineering study; further funding for tree maintenance and plantings; and an increase in funding for the work of the Cemetery Advisory Committee with work on our historic Town cemeteries . Some changes would be deferral until 2022 of a municipal parking lot in Bedford Village (Bedford Presbyterian Church, owner of the land which the Town would purchase for the vacant lot is not inclined to proceed at the time with sale of the property).  We also are deferring improvements to the Crusher Road highway facility. 
The Board scheduled another work session on November 7 at which we’ll hone in further on the schedule, debt service which would result from the bond issuance. 
In this connection later in the meeting, the Board appointed Douglas Goodfriend of Orrick, as bond counsel, who would prepare bond resolutions first quarter of 2020 to implement the first two years of the Capital Plan.  Please see Comptroller Abraham Zambrano’s Summary Memo
Honoring Assistant Chief James Fayette Lawrenceof the Katonah Fire Department
Deputy Chief Dean W. Pappas was on hand to participate in paying tribute to Katonah Fire Department Assistant Chief James Fayette Lawrence. Sixty years ago, on October 6, 1959, he gave his life in the performance of his firematic duties: and today, remains the only Katonah Firefighter to have died in the line of duty.           Chief Lawrence was responding to a bush fire at the Ramsey Hunt Estate on Mount Holly Road and, while fighting the fire with other Katonah Volunteer Firefighters, became entangled in a fallen 4,600 volt high tension line. His fellow firefighters pulled him off the line with pike poles and attempted to revive him.Despite over 45 minutes of heroic effort, Chief Lawrence died at the age ofthirty nine. Chief Lawrence’s sacrifice was yet another indication of his community commitment and dedication as a lifelong resident of the Hamlet of Katonah. The Town Board presented to Deputy Chief Pappas a proclamation honoring the memory of Chief Lawrence, a man who was driven purely by his love and devotion to everyone around him and whose kindness and bravery in the face of danger always made an impact on this community and will continue to inspire others.
Work Session on Preparing a New TownComprehensive Plan The Town Board’s meeting with Planning Board Chair Deirdre Courtney-Batson started with a work session to discuss the role of each subcommittee and skill sets and experience sought for individuals to be appointed.   
We moved to an Executive Session to discuss those interested in being appointed.  I anticipate we’ll make appointments at the November 7 Town Board meeting.  
For further information on the subcommittees please see my previous discussion.
Update and Report of Cemetery Advisory Committee
Cemetery Committee chair Jenny Weisburger presented a report to the Town Board on the work of the Committee and Friends of the Bedford Burying Grounds.
Over several years the Committee and the Friends of the Burying Grounds have made significant strides in repairing gravestones and reconstructing walls. She explained another one of the Cemetery Committee project that is to explore the potential to provide new interment plots that are associated with the increasing trend of cremation.
The Cemetery Committee discussed with consultants that the focus of expansion be on cremation burials as opposed to full, traditional burials. The proposed expansion of the cemetery would be low impact on Bedford’s historic cemeteries while benefiting Bedford residents who intend that their ashes be buried here.
Congratulations on Appointments to theComplete Count Committee
The 2020 United States Census is of critical importance to the Town of Bedford; its data affects funds available for our schools, housing, seniors, low and moderate income populations, sales tax revenue, grant awards; business decisions; redistricting; emergency planning; fire departments; hospitals and much more.
 The Town Board of the Town of Bedford recognizes the critical importance of ensuring that the 2020 United States Census counts every single individual in the Town of Bedford.
We congratulate the following appointees to the Census Committee: Jodi Kimmel (Chair)(Fox Lane Middle School)Joe Ruppenstein (Veterans Committee)Joanne Marcus (Senior Committee)Noya Guerrero (Community Center of Northern Westchester)Rev. Merle McJunkin (Antioch Baptist Church; Non-Resident associate member).
Proposal of FBS for Parking ViolationsManagement Services.
The Town Board approved FBS Justice Solutions proposal to the Town Board for parking violations management services. FBS will provide the necessary handheld equipment and related software that will integrate parking enforcement and the Court’s need to manage such enforcement.
Based on the Town’s current needs, it was recommended that the Town Board approved engaging FBS to provide services that will facilitate the management of the parking enforcement. The Board authorized proceeding with FBS’ option plan under which the Town purchases equipment. 
Proposal 2
Town Board Decision Not to Proceed with proposal of Homeland Towers for a cell tower at the Town property at 425 Cherry Street.  
At its meeting on October 7, after careful consideration of a number of issues, the Planning Board determined that it must recommend against the use of the Town property at 425 Cherry Street as the location to the Town Board a proposed Homeland Towers cell tower.
In particular, the Planning Board found that, based on the visual analysis provided by the applicant, a 150’ tower at either of the two proposed locations at 425 Cherry, would have an unacceptable visual impact on the heart of the hamlet of Bedford Hills.
The Board approved the Planning Board’s recommendation not to proceed with the Homeland Tower’s proposal.
Proposed Architect for Facility Assessment ofBedford Hills Community Center
Deputy Supervisor Lee Roberts, Councilwoman MaryAnn Carr and I have been working with Recreation and Parks Superintendent Chris Soi, BuildingInspector Al Ciraco and Director of Energy and Sustainability Mark Thielking regarding improvements to the Bedford Hills Community House.
Chris Soi requested the Town Board select an architectural firm to perform an assessment and study to establish a scope of work and project budget for the proposed capital improvements to the Bedford Hills Community House. Based on the pricing provided in the proposal of architects KG&D, the Board approved $14,500.00 to perform the study which would be funded from the existing Bedford Hills Community House Capital Project account. There will be a “gut” renovation, however, the scope of work will include among other components: interior development, renovations to multiple facilities and exterior restoration.
The Board approved the implementation and completion of the study, and not at this time additional architectural services.
This study is a critical step as the Town Board is considering Bedford Hills Community House capital improvements in formulating the 2020-2029 Capital Plan. The study will be completed in early/mid November. Letter of Intent
KGD Proposal
EARLY VOTING STARTS OCTOBER 26
For the first time in history, New Yorkers have a choice:
Vote Early October 26 through November 3at Mount Kisco Town HallORVote on Election Day, November 5at your regular polling place.It’s simple:Town of Bedford voters may vote earlyOctober 26 through November 3 atMount Kisco Town Hall, 104 Main Street

Bedford Public Works Dept.
PAVING NOTICE UPDATE
Public Notice to all residents regarding Road Paving in Bedford NY for October 2019.
The Town of Bedford plans on several days of road paving. Work will begin Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 and last through Friday, Oct. 18 (inclusive.) 
We will NOT be paving Saturday, Oct. 12, Sunday, Oct. 13, or Monday, Oct. 14 (Columbus Day). 
Roads to be paved at this time include:CHURCH STREETSUNSET DRIVE (Bedford Hills off of Main St.)SEMINARY ROADDAVID’S WAYDAVIDS HILL ROAD (The paved hill)                                    Commuters could experience temporary disruptions to traffic and access as paving operations commence. Residents are asked to refrain from parking on these streets as paving proceeds. The precise scheduling of work depends upon weather conditions and the proper operation of paving equipment. Therefore your patience and understanding are appreciated.
Keep in mind that it is possible that rain events or paving equipment issues may push back the paving schedule a day or two.
Paving will be preceded.by road milling on Cherry Street and Sunset Drive as well as the milling of some key cuts to the intersections and to some driveways where key cuts are considered beneficial.
If you have any further questions regarding this matter, please feel free to contact Bedford Public Works Department at 914-666-7669.
2019 Fall Leaf Pick-Up ScheduleBegins Week of 11.4
(click for schedule)

COMMUNITY EVENTS CALENDAR WEEK OF 10.18-10.26Click here  
OTHER NEW POSTS

HELP WANTED – Part-time Interns!
The Supervisor’s office is seeking a few high school studentsto intern a few hours a week through the fall.
Community service hours will be honored while learning about local government. Take photos, get web skills, learn about your town!
This is a fun position that will give you a broad range of experiences.Please send an email to pcohen@bedfordny.gov
Attention Residents ofBedford Central School District
I first wish to thank members of the community for contacting me and meeting with me to discuss their concerns about possible school closures.  We are extremely concerned about the impacts, and will be actively engaged in the discussions. 
Part of what I intend to do is to help get the word out of forums and meetings which BCSD is holding regarding its facilities plan.  
Please try to attend and participate.  It is critical to the education of our children and our community generally.
From the BCSD flyer on community forums for long-range facilities plan:
“Bedford Central School District invites all members of the community to attend one of our open community forums about the district’s developing Long-Range Facilities Plan.”
These forums encourage Bedford citizens to share their thoughts, hopes, and ideas for the future.”

From the BCSD flyer on Budget Advisory Workshop Meetings:
“BUDGET ADVISORY WORKSHOP MEETINGSFOR ALL MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY”
“The Board of Education invites members of the community to participate in Budget Advisory Workshop Meetings.
Each meeting will focus on a specific topic, indicated below, with relevant information shared and an opportunity for attendees to engage.”For dates/times/location, click here
HOURSSat/Sun:              12 PM through 5 PMMon/Wed/Fri:      8 AM through 4 PMTue/Thu:              12 PM through 8 PM
 You also may call Town Clerk Boo Fumagalli at 914-864-3868 or e-mail her at lfumagalli@bedfordny.gov 
The 2020 Census – JOBS!
DID YOU KNOW?  There are jobs available right now for the 2020 Census.  2020 census.gov/jobs or call 1-855-JOB-2020   
The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting thousands of people across the country – especially field jobs ascertaining addresses and census takers. 
Hours are flexible and the pay rate is quite competitive at $21.00 per hour for a census taker in Westchester County
And as a resident getting paid for your work, if you are assigned to Bedford, you will be helping your town get a complete count.
REMINDER
It’s Leaf Blowing Season –Change Over in Rules Affecting Hamlet Zones
Hamlet Zones
PRIOR POSTS OFCONTINUED RELEVANCE
Cyber Security – Don’t fall victim
Update on Phase II Sewer Project
Guard Hill Radio Tower Upgrade
Subcommittee to develop New Comprehensive Plan
Final Budget Work Session
Approval of Geothermal Feasibility Study
An introduction to the – iNaturalist app
Buxton Gorge
LED Street Light Project Completed
Update on i684 Paving Project Project
Reminder! The Complete Count Committee needs you.
Tree Maintenance and Planting Program
i684/84 Corridor Study and next steps
THIS WEEK:
Saturday October 19The Annual 5th GradePancake Breakfast
7:30am-11:30am

Bedford HillsElementary School123 Babbitt Road Bedford Hills
All are welcome. Proceeds to fund the5th Grade Class Trip.
ART STROLL – OCTOBER 19 FROM 5PM -8 PM

OCTOBER 20
FREE RABIES VACCINES FOR WESTCHESTER PETS
Westchester County residents can bring their dogs, cats and ferrets in for free rabies vaccinations on Sunday, October 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Humane Society of Westchester, 70 Portman Road in New Rochelle. Walk-ins are welcome; no appointments are needed. Call 914-632-2925 for more information.
Cats and ferrets must be in carriers and dogs must be on a leash. Aggressive dogs must be muzzled. No examinations will be given and all pets must be supervised by an adult.
“Vaccinating your pet against rabies will protect your pet and your family in case your pet has contact with a rabid or potentially rabid animal,” said Westchester County Health Commissioner, Sherlita Amler, MD. 
Under New York State law, dogs and cats must receive their first rabies vaccine no later than four months after birth. A second rabies shot must be given within one year of the first vaccine, with additional booster shots given every one or three years after that, depending on the vaccine used. Owners who fail to get their pets vaccinated and keep the vaccinations up-to-date may be fined up to $2,000.
Rabies is a fatal disease that spreads through the bite or saliva of infected animals. Those animals most commonly infected are raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. However, domestic animals such as cats and dogs are also at risk because they can easily contract rabies from wild or stray animals.
BOOSTER INFO: A pet that is up-to-date with its rabies vaccinations would only need a booster dose of vaccine within five days of the pet’s exposure to a known or suspect rabid animal. Animals not up-to-date with rabies vaccinations would be quarantined or euthanized following contact with a rabid or suspect-rabid animal. SIGNS OF RABIES: A change in an animal’s behavior is often the first sign of rabies. A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame. It may lose fear of people and become docile, or become excited and irritable. Infected animals sometimes stagger, spit and froth at the mouth. Adults should encourage children to avoid touching unfamiliar animals, and to immediately tell an adult if they have been bitten or scratched by an animal.
All animal bites or contacts with animals suspected of having rabies must be reported to the Westchester County Health Department at (914) 813-5000. After hours, callers should follow instructions in the recorded message for reporting public health emergencies 24 hours a day. 
To learn more about rabies and its prevention, visit the Health Department’s website at www.westchestergov.com/health, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/wchealthdept or follow us on Twitter @wchealthdept.
SAVE THE DATES!
The Bedford Hills Neighborhood Associationinvites you to The 1st Annual
OCTOBER 26*4-8pmClick for more information”
Bedford Hills Train Station @ Depot Plaza
*Raindate 10.27

COMMUNITY NEWS
Bedford Village: Update on Proposal for a New Firehouse/ Emergency Services Department 
Bedford Village Fire Commissioner Heather Feldman has provided me the following update…
As was shared last week, we will use this space to address FAQs as they arise. Please email any questions to: NFC@bedfordfire.com and note we may edit the question for space and clarity.
Q.      Some communities (Katonah, Pound Ridge, Bedford Hills) split their emergency services into two departments – Fire and Emergency Medical. Why do we not have the same two-pronged structure in Bedford?A.       Since our founding in 1923, the Bedford Fire Department has provided both fire and emergency medical response from a single site, and a dedicated ambulance to cover medical calls since the 1950’s.
We have always believed that the community is best served from a single location so to fully leverage financial and operational efficiencies. If we were to split out our EMS agency, the Bedford Village community would then have to manage and maintain two separate properties and two buildings, engage two separate corps, identify two separate administrative bodies, and fund two separate department budgets.
Moreover, having both fire and EMS volunteers integrated into a single department allows for greater professional familiarity among the corps, resulting in a more coordinated crisis response. Simply put, the BVFD model minimizes costs and maximizes service.
Q.      I’ve heard that an exercise room for the first responders is being considered for the new building. Can you explain the rationale behind that decision? It seems very indulgent!A.       New York State requires Fire Districts to provide their first responders access to physical fitness facilities. These guidelines allow our volunteer firefighters and EMTs to attain the strength, agility, and stamina needed to handle the myriad crises that they confront each day.
The vast majority of modern firehouses have in-house fitness equipment. Having this resource on site helps keep our volunteers at the firehouse, reducing emergency response times.
Additionally, there is an economic advantage to providing this important professional development resource — currently, the BVFD spends approximately $15,000 of taxpayer funds per year to cover the costs of gym memberships of our volunteer corps. Putting an exercise room in a 75-year facility will save money over the long term.

*Each week, we will look forward to addressing a question about the revised project that has emerged.Please email your questions to: NFC@bedfordfire.com and please note we may edit the question for space and clarity.

Recreation & ParksFALL BROCHUREClick here
Recreation and Parks has aFacebook Page


Sharing the Road for Motorist & Cyclists
There is nothing better than getting out to enjoy a ride on a clear, crisp autumn morning. But there needs to be a partnership of shared responsibility of both the cyclist and motorist to keep everyone safe. 
Responsibility of the cyclist:
Wear a helmet. Be visible. Reflectors, lights, and reflective clothing help motorists see you. Follow traffic laws. Cyclists must follow the same traffic laws as motorists. Be predictable. Give motorists a sense of your direction and provide signals to show motorists your intentions to turn. Share the road. Try to stay as far to the right side of the roadway as safety allows. Do not impede traffic. Cyclists may ride a maximum of two abreast as long as normal traffic flow is not impeded.Be alert and try to anticipate potential conflicts before they occur.
Responsibility of the motorist:
Be Patient. Only pass a cyclist when there is adequate site distance to do so without impacting oncoming traffic.Share the road. When passing a cyclist, be sure to provide a minimum of three feet of buffer between you and the rider.Right hand turn awareness. Avoid cutting off a cyclist by making a right hand turn in front of them.Lookout for cyclists. When entering a roadway, don’t just check for cars, keep an eye out for cyclists too.
Working together will keep everyone safe and we can all enjoy the beautiful roads of Bedford.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR VETERANS CLICK HERE
Autism Registry formsAn Autism registry has been implemented on the Bedford Police Department website. The Bedford Central School District has been given access to the forms to distribute to students and parents. You can also download the forms here.
UPDATE for AT&T Cell Service CustomersOther Internet Service Issues?My thanks for the post on the Katonah Parents Facebook group alerting me to the AT&T cell service outage (the mention of my name on KPFG triggered an e-mail notification to me – it worked!).  And thanks as well to those who e-mailed us with the specifics.   
We were in touch with AT&T Wireless on Wednesday and Thursday who contacted their field team.  Yesterday, I was put in contact with an AT&T representative higher up in the food chain. I don’t know whether she was responsible for the service restoration or whether it was in the works anyway.
In any case I now have a person I can go to other than those lower down who we went to earlier this week when you folks alerted us to the problems. So please do let us know if you have any continuing or future service problems and we’ll do our best to get it taken care of. Thanks for your patience.      And going forward, for anyone having service issues, here are some numbers: Customer Service for Verizon /Fios: 1 800 922 0204
Customer Service for Optimum/ Altice: 718 860 3513
Customer Service for AT&T (cell phone service): 800 288 2020
We’ll try to help after you’ve exhausted your options with customer service support. Please feel free to contact Phyllis Cohen at pcohen@bedfordny.gov or me and provide the following: NameAddressAccount numberPhone number(s)E-mail addressDescription of the issue (dates of intermittent or lack of service, etc.)
PRIOR POSTS OFCONTINUED RELEVANCE (cont).
The I-684$13 Million Paving Project
Front row (l to r:) Lee Roberts, Kate Galligan, Kitley Covill, Chris Burdick, Shelley Mayer, Andrea Stewart Cousins, Marie Therese Dominquez, Peter Harkham, MaryAnn Carr. Back row: Don Scott, David Buchwald, Lance MacMillan.\

On Thursday, September 12, I joined State Senator Shelley Mayer, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, State Senator Peter Harckham and Assemblyman David Buchwald in a press conference celebrating the I-684 paving project at long last coming to fruition. We were honored to be joined by New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez.  READ MORE
Agreement with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for $1 Million Grant for Sewer ProjectREAD MORE
Adoption of New Local LawRegulating Sale of Vape Products
The Town Board held a public hearing to implement a settlement of litigation against the Town which resulted in an injunction against the Town barring enforcement of our existing vape law. READ MORE
Reminder – No Knock Registry Law
We are receiving reports of unscrupulous, deceptive and fraudulent tactics of door to door salesman.  Please be reminded that the Town Board amended its solicitation law to provide a No Knock Registry. It prohibits such solicitation to the homes of residents who complete a request to be listed on a “no knock registry”. The law does not infringe upon political, educational or religious activities.  READ MORE
Town of Bedford AchievesClimate Smart Community CertificationI am pleased to report that on Thursday, September 26, Governor Cuomo announced that the Town of Bedford together with 15 other local governments were awarded certification as a Climate Smart CommunityREAD MORE
New Collective Bargaining Agreementwith our Office Workers
The negotiating teams of the Town of Bedford and the Teamsters 456 – White Collar Unit, which represents the Town’s office workers, met several times starting on January 25, 2019 to negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the period January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2022.  READ MORE
SENIOR NEWS
Become of member of your Bedford Playhouse.
Discounted membership for ages 62+
Sign up here
Living Green
Leaf Discount ProgramExtended untilJanuary 2, 2020READ MORE
ClearGov – Transparency in GovernmentClick headline to read presentationFor more information go to ClearGovBedford
LEARN MORE HEREIncentives for Electric Vehicle Purchases

PollinatorPathways
You may have heard talk of“pollinator pathways”.So what are they andwhy are they beneficial?
READ MORE


PilotFood WastePick-UpProgram
Heat Smart Offers Attractive Opportunities
Thanks to a grant from New York State Energy Research & Development, homeowners in the towns of Bedford, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge now have a unique opportunity to determine whether heat pumps might provide a more comfortable home while saving on energy bills.  Heat pumps draw from either the ambient air (air source pumps) or the earth (geothermal pumps). Geothermal provides a constant temperature of about 54 degrees allowing for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.  The program is spearheaded by Energize NY, in partnership with Sustainable Westchester, Abundant Efficiency and NYSERDA, provides homeowners in the three towns the opportunity to learn whether these new renewable energy choices are right for you.  Energize has launched an ambitious community outreach program to introduce homeowners both to the technology and reputable, certified heating and cooling and energy efficiency experts who offer the latest clean energy technologies including air source and geothermal heat pumps and energy efficiency improvements. The contractors are Bruni & Campisi (914-269-6760), Healthy Home Energy & Consulting, Inc. (9144-242-9733) and Dandelion Energy (833-436-4255) On Thursday, June 26, the Heat Smart team was on hand for the community to explain the program (together with service Tacos). Like to know more?  Please click on this link https://www.heatsmartny.com/westchester or call 914-302-7300 x1   There is no cost or obligation to learn whether Heat Smart is right for you. Our thanks to Lauren Brois, Bedford 2020, the contractors and the Heat Smart campaign team for an excellent presentation.
Recycling News
Bedford 2020:Waste and Recycling Current Projects
Beaver Dam Yard Waste and Compost Facility
The Town of Bedford Beaver Dam Compost Facility processes recyclable wood waste and leaves from the Town and provides beneficial reuse of the waste as compost and mulch. The facility provides an extremely cost effective method for this recycling as well as an environmental benefit of local recycling with minimal transportation requirements. It is open for residents to dispose of recyclable wood waste (logs and branches up to 6” diameter, brush, and leaves), as well as pick up wood mulch and leaf compost. This service is free to Town of Bedford residents between 7:30 AM and 3:00 PM Monday to Friday, excluding Town holidays.
With Spring clean-up and planting season here, you may find these services helpful. I encourage you to review the updated information by clicking on Beaver Dam Compost Facility on the Town’s website.
THE 2018 ANNUAL REPORT click here

FOR THE TOWN CALENDAR click here

TO SIGN-UP FOR NIXLE ALERTS click here

America’s redlined neighborhoods | Bedford Real Estate

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” penned poet and activist Audre Lorde. Pulled from a 1984 essay, the quote summarizes her larger argument that mainstream academic frameworks are incapable of permitting the disruption of their own status quo. “They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change,” wrote Lorde.

Andre Perry

Andre M. Perry

Fellow – Metropolitan Policy Program

@andreperryedu

David Harshbarger,

David Harshbarger

Research Analyst – Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings

DBHarshbarger

Over the last few months, several Democratic presidential hopefuls—namely Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg—have released housing proposals that utilize a curious vector to implement their respective remedies for historical discrimination: redlining maps.

Redlining was the practice of outlining areas with sizable Black populations in red ink on maps as a warning to mortgage lenders, effectively isolating Black people in areas that would suffer lower levels of investment than their white counterparts. The Democratic candidates hope that the contours of these old maps—once used by the government-sponsored Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) from 1933 to 1977—offer the blueprint for closing the racial homeownership gap and increasing prosperity among largely Black and Brown Americans who were robbed of wealth for generations under redlining’s legal discriminatory policy.

Redlining was the practice of outlining areas with sizable Black populations in red ink on maps as a warning to mortgage lenders, effectively isolating Black people in areas that would suffer lower levels of investment than their white counterparts.

In each plan, redlining maps are used to determine eligibility for beneficiaries, to differing degrees:

  • Harris’s plan would invest $100 billion in assistance for down payments and closing costs, to be made available to those who have lived in government or rental housing for 10 or more preceding years in a formerly redlined area that is low-to-moderate income today. Grantees must also earn less than a maximum annual family income.
  • Warren’s plan would offer down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers in formerly redlined areas or low-income areas that experienced other forms of legal segregation, qualifying them for a grant applicable to a home anywhere in the country. The proposal is billed as a “first step towards closing the racial wealth gap,” and would be paid for by an estate tax.
  • Mayor Buttigieg’s plan proposes the Community Homestead Act, which would purchase abandoned properties in select cities and allow residents to acquire them. Eligible grantees include residents who earned less than the area median income over the last five years and either have resided in the area for at least three years, or have resided in any historically redlined or racially segregated area for at least three years.

However, based on our analysis of who lives in these formerly redlined districts today, Lorde’s quote should be considered when it comes to these proposed remedies.

The University of Richmond’s Mapping Inequality project has digitized scans of the HOLC redlining maps held in the National Archives. Examination of the maps, numbering over 200, reveals that approximately 11 million Americans (10,852,727) live in once-redlined areas, according to the latest population data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (2017). This population is majority-minority but not majority-Black, and, contrary to conventional perceptions, Black residents also do not form a plurality in these areas overall. The Black population share is approximately 28%, ranking third among the racial groups who live in formerly redlined areas, behind white and Latino or Hispanic residents.

Figure 1

While still a tremendously large population, the approximately 3 million Black residents in redlined areas account for just 8% of all non-Latino or Hispanic Black Americans. Given the demographic shifts that have occurred since the federal government started using color-coded maps to assess mortgage risk, and the relatively small share of the Black population currently living in these areas, proposals that center on these past tools to redress discrimination probably won’t “dismantle the master’s house.”

THE PAST STILL HAUNTS US

Together with racially restrictive housing covenants that prohibited Black Americans from buying certain properties, redlining prevented generations of families from gaining equity in homeownership or making improvements to homes already owned. These unjust practices form part of a long history of discrimination, which has contributed to the disparities in homeownership and wealth still observed between the Black and white populations of the country today.

Redlined neighborhoods are generally located near the center of urban areas, where Black people were concentrated when the government generated the maps used today for the Harris, Warren, and Buttigieg proposals. But since then, transformational demographic shifts have spread different populations throughout metropolitan areas and increased the size of those areas overall. To assess the relative residual social patterns across redlined communities today, we compare the aggregate of the census block groups that fall within the redlined areas of each city to the remaining non-redlined areas in the same citiesand measure ways the two areas differ.

These localized comparisons show that in cities with a history of redlining, the redlined areas today generally remain more segregated and more economically disadvantaged, with higher Black and minority shares of population than the remainder of the city. Additionally, they have lower median household income, lower home values, older housing stock, and rents which are lower in absolute terms (but often higher as a percentage of income). Similar studies have confirmed these trends for other social characteristics, as well as a clear correlation showing more positive current-day outcomes for areas that were “greenlined.”

Table1

The selected characteristics in the group of the ten most populous redlined areas diverge less sharply than in the remaining smaller areas, suggesting that for smaller areas, the residual effects of redlining are perhaps felt more clearly.

REDLINED AREAS VARY GREATLY

The population distribution of once-redlined areas skews heavily toward a handful of large cities. About half (49.8%) of today’s redlined population resides in the 10 cities with the most populous redlined areas: New YorkChicagoLos AngelesPhiladelphiaSan FranciscoBostonSan DiegoDetroitMilwaukee, and Baltimore.

Figure 2

This top-heavy slant of the population distribution poses an issue for policymakers who wish to use HOLC maps to address the legacy of past discrimination, as it is not the case that half of the homeownership and wealth gaps can be attributed to disparities among Black and white residents of those ten cities alone. Furthermore, Black-majority suburbs are on the rise, which are heavily underrepresented in HOLC maps due to their focus on urban centers.

WHO NOW LIVES IN ONCE-REDLINED AREAS?

In some places, redlined areas track with conventional perceptions. For example, in Birmingham, Ala., the redlined portion has a much higher concentration of Black residents than the rest of the city, as well as lower incomes and property values. Formerly redlined Birmingham is majority-Black, and a large share of the Black citizens of Birmingham reside in formerly redlined areas.

The racial history of Birmingham is one of sustained aggression against the Black population. The persistence of demographic patterns in formerly redlined Birmingham is a testament to informal and formal enforcement of spatial placement by localstate and private forces. In cities throughout the South with a similar demographic makeup and history of racial violence, policies of targeted assistance in redlined areas could prove useful in closing the local racial homeownership and wealth disparities. However, at the regional and city level across the country, we find wide variations in the demographic makeup of who lives in formerly redlined areas (both in absolute numbers and relative to the cities in which they are found).

Figure 3

Some redlined areas have a lower Black share of population than the rest of the city

Theoretically, if the effects of redlining had faded completely over time, demographics and socio-economic outcomes between redlined areas and the surrounding city would be indistinguishable. Of course, this is not the case, but the degree to which the Black versus non-Black population of a given redlined area matches the area around it varies greatly across cities. Of the 174 principal cities in the comparison, 114 showed a statistically significantly higher concentration of Black population in the redlined areas than the rest of the city. In 26 more, the concentration was higher but not statistically significant.

Six of the 34 cities which inverted this trend (a redlined area with a lower Black share of the population than the rest of the city) are among those 10 large cities which are home to half the redlined population: DetroitBaltimoreMilwaukeeBostonLos Angeles, and Philadelphia. Each of the six have sizeable Black populations, and Black people form the largest racial group in Detroit, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. And despite a demographic shift, the redlined portions of these cities still exhibit negative economic outcomes.

Clearly, these areas have suffered from a legacy of divestment, and deserve attention from policymakers. But a strategy to close the racial wealth gap that focuses mainly on these now-diversified locations risks overlooking Black neighborhoods elsewhere.

Table2

Some redlined areas, especially in the West, have a small Black population relative to white or Latino or Hispanic residents

Los Angeles is home to the third-most populous formerly redlined area, encircling over 620,000 people. Today, 70% of this group is Latino or Hispanic, 12% is white, and 6% is Black.

In 1930, nine years before the HOLC map was produced, census data showed that the whole city’s population was 88% white, 8% Mexican (the closest proxy to the Latino or Hispanic population from the time), and 2% Black. Even so, language from the original HOLC map makes explicit reference to Black neighborhoods. An excerpt from a map encompassing today’s central Los Angeles neighborhood of Jefferson Park derisively writes:

This is the “melting pot” area of Los Angeles, and has long been thoroughly blighted. The Negro concentration is largely in the eastern two thirds of the area. Original construction was evidently of fair quality but lack of proper maintenance is notable. Population is uniformly of poor quality and many improvements are in a state of dilapidation. This area is a fit location for a slum clearance project. The area is accorded a “low red” grade.

While redlined areas in Los Angeles largely did and still do encompass far more Latino or Hispanic residents than Black residents, property appraisals and neighborhood assessments were constantly undertaken from a distinctly anti-Black point of view. However, the demographic reality of redlined Los Angeles today means that policies implemented here to close the Black homeownership gap would miss the target population. Of course, the country experiences a Latino or Hispanic homeownership gap as well, which merits intentional consideration from policymakers. But Latino or Hispanic Americans should not be merely an incidental benefactor of policy directed at addressing historic discrimination against Black people.

Other cities which display this pattern include DenverSalt Lake CityPittsburgh, and San Jose, Calif.

Some redlined areas are too small to be a useful target for policy

Dallas is a city with a long history of intense discrimination. Today, Dallas remains segregated along lines of race and income, but the HOLC map is surprisingly small. In the 80 years since the map was drawn, the city has grown five-fold. Today, the city of Dallas hosts over 1.3 million residents (including roughly 300,000 Black residents) but has a redlined population of just over 28,000. Policies to address redlining specifically would have little effect on racial homeownership and wealth disparities in Dallas.

Other cities which display this pattern: Sacramento, Calif.El Paso, TexasGrand Rapids, Mich., and Phoenix, Ariz.

For many cities, there are no available HOLC maps

Washington, D.C. is noticeably absent from discussions of redlining. The reason is simple, and reveals one of the most intractable problems with using these maps to guide policy implementation: We simply do not have any record of a redlining map drawn for 1930s Washington. While it is difficult to imagine the District—long known as “Chocolate City”—being spared from a nationwide effort targeting Black residents, it is not hard to find examples of place-based discrimination that happened in the nation’s capital in the 20th century and continue today. Discriminatory lending at the local level does not require a federally commissioned map, but it helps.

If the 2020 presidential candidates and other federal policymakers wish to close the homeownership and wealth gaps, efforts cannot be considered complete without including the city of Washington. Without a map to guide them, a new system must be devised for implementing policy there. And if that can be accomplished for Washington, then it can be accomplished nationwide.

Other places which display this pattern: all but some 200 cities nationwide, including nearly every suburb and rural area.

ONCE-REDLINED AREAS ARE NO LONGER A PROXY FOR BLACK AMERICA

Redlining was a federally created—but locally implemented—form of discrimination. As such, redlined areas, and the cities in which they are located, vary widely in size, demographics, and location. Moreover, the racial makeup of the population in redlined areas has grown and evolved dramatically over the last eight decades, and the effects of the practice have spread beyond the confines of the original maps.

The practice of redlining was explicit in its targeting of Black Americans. While Latino or Hispanic residents, low-income white residents, noncitizens, communists, and other populations the federal government deemed “risky” were often included in redlining, they were not targeted in the same manner as Black residents. Today, neighborhoods that fall within once-redlined areas are more likely to have a higher concentration of Black residents, as well as lower incomes, lower home values, and other negative economic characteristics relative to the rest of their cities.

However, proposals that base their remedies primarily on formerly redlined areas paradoxically do not redress the main racial group that was explicitly targeted, exclude important Black neighborhoods and communities, and would skew impact toward a handful of large cities. Place-based discrimination—the practice of divesting in neighborhoods wholesale on the basis of race—has had adverse effects on both people and place. Policymakers should be intentional in ensuring that their proposed solutions can address both.

Consequently, redlining—the master’s tool—will prove to be insufficient in dismantling the legacy of racial inequities in homeownership and wealth in the United States.


METHODS

We define formerly redlined areas as those geographies marked “Hazardous” or “Fourth Grade” and thus outlined in red via the University of Richmond’s Mapping Inequality project. We define cities as census “Places” and choose principal cities as our unit of comparison, rather than metropolitan areas, to better account for the general centrality of redlined areas around urban cores. Principal cities are defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Population totals and characteristics are tabulated by aggregating all census block groups whose population-weighted centroids fall within any redlined area (including those areas outside of contemporary principal city limits), estimating aggregated medians and margins of error by linear interpolation. Block groups are the smallest geography for which the American Community Survey provides estimates for the latest dissemination period (2017). However, not all socio-economic characteristics which are available in the ACS at the census tract level are available for block groups. Block groups offer a finer approximation of the irregular geographies of redlined areas, at the expense of accessing fewer ACS estimates. As this analysis is based largely on demographic totals, which are available at the block group level, we choose to make the best possible geographic approximation instead of a broader socio-economic snapshot. Because we examine whether the complicated boundaries of these geographies should be followed closely today, we therefore deem it necessary to estimate the most accurate interpretation of those boundaries possible. At time of writing, 2010 population totals for census blocks are available (and would provide a finer resolution of irregular redlining geographies than block groups), but these figures are nine years old and do not include any socio-economic characteristics. After the 2020 census, block level population data will allow for finer demographic analysis of redlined areas using up-to-date figures. All margins of error and significance tests are calculated at a 90% confidence interval.

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California home sales fall again | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Last month, the California Association of Realtors predicted a slow down for the state’s housing market in 2020. 

According to a recent report by CoreLogic, cooling home sales are already here. In fact, August marked the fewest home sales for that month in four years.

“California home sales edged moderately lower in August, marking the twelfth month out of the last 13 in which sales were lower than a year earlier as some would-be buyers remained priced out and others stayed on the sideline, hesitant to buy near a potential price peak,” the report stated. 

CoreLogic estimated that during August about 42,440 new and existing houses and condos sold in California. That number is down 0.2% from the previous month and down 2.8% from August 2018. While the number of sales declined, so did the median home price in comparison to its June 2019 peak of $509,000.

According to CoreLogic, the median price paid for all new and existing houses and condos sold statewide this August was $499,000. While this price is down 0.2% from $500,000 in July 2019, it is up 1% from the previous August, when median prices sat at $494,000. 

The report stated that home sale activity normally edges higher between July and August. As stated earlier, this August was the twelfth month out of the last 13 in which sales were lower than a year earlier. The only annual gain was seen in July this year, and CoreLogic is attributing that gain to lower mortgage rates.

“The significant drop in mortgage rates in recent months has helped stoke sales by enabling many buyers to purchase homes with at least modestly lower payments than they would have faced last year,” the report stated. “While California’s median sale price was up 1% year over year this August, the state’s ‘typical mortgage payment’ – the monthly principal and interest payment on the median-priced home – fell almost 11% because of a roughly 1 percentage point decline in mortgage rates over that 12-month period.”

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Single-Family Starts Growth Slows | Bedford Corners Real Estate

According to NAHB analysis of the Survey of Construction (SOC), nationally, there were 881,076 new single-family units started in 2018, 4% higher than the units started in 2017. It was the double of the units started in 2011, and still 49% less than the peak of 2007 (1,731,171 units).

Among all the nine Census divisions, new single-family units started in the South Atlantic, West South Central and Mountain Divisions exceeded 100k in 2018. These three divisions represent 21 states, while the number of new single-family housing starts in these three divisions accounted for about 62% of the total new single-family housing starts in 2018.

In addition, there were 98,760 new single-family units started in the Pacific Division and 78,858 units started in the East North Central Division in 2018. The Pacific Division accounted for 11% of the total new single-family housing starts, while the East North Central Division accounted for 9%. The other four divisions, including East South Central, West North Central, Middle Atlantic and New England, accounted for the remaining 18% of the total new single-family housing starts.

The scatter plot below compares the nine Census divisions’ annual growth rates of new single-family housing starts in 2017 and 2018. The red line represents the national level in 2018. The X-axis presents the annual growth rates in 2017; the Y-axis presents the annual growth rates in 2018. Each division grew at the different pace, while, nationally, new single-family housing starts rose by 4%. Four out of the nine divisions grew faster than the national level. The New England Division and the Mountain Division led the way with a 13% increase each, followed by the West South Central Division with an 8% increase, and the South Atlantic Division with a 4% increase. Meanwhile, the growth rates of the other five divisions were below the national level.

As shown in Figure 2, compared to last year, the New England Division and the Mountain Division had an acceleration in growth in 2018. Noticeably, the New England Division grew by 13% in 2018, after a 5% growth rate in 2017. Meanwhile, six out of the nine divisions, including South Atlantic, East North Central, Pacific, Middle Atlantic, East South Central and West North Central, experienced a deceleration in growth in 2018. Among them, the West North Central Division experienced the largest deceleration with a decline of 14% in 2018. Moreover, the West South Central Division grew by 8% in 2018, unchanged from 2017.



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Millennials move more often | Chappaqua Real Estate

Millennials are moving more often and living in their homes for a shorter period than previous generations. The share of young adults who have lived in their current home for less than two years is nearly 12 percentage points higher than in 1960, according to a new Zillow® analysis.

While 33.8% of people between 25- and 34-years-old had lived in their home for less than two years in 1960, that share rose to 45.3% by 2017.

moving storage truck has a lot of copy space for text or images right on the side of the truck.
Adobe Stock/Michael Ballardmoving storage truck has a lot of copy space for text or images right on the side of the truck.

Millennials are marrying and having children later in life than their predecessors, which likely plays a role in their shorter housing tenure as these major life milestones are often catalysts for settling into a more stable housing situation, Zillow said.

The majority (53.5%) of young adults who move do so within the same metro area, perhaps to be closer to work or into a larger place as their family grows. An increasing share are moving to a different metro within the same state. Young adults today are more likely than previous generations to live in urban cores, so these could be job-related moves from college towns or rural areas into nearby cities where job growth has been concentrated in recent years.

“Shifting demographic headwinds and evolving workplace norms have significantly altered the housing decisions of young adults today. Untethered from family and enticed by new job opportunities, young adults are more mobile today than they have been over the past nearly 60 years,” said Sarah Mikhitarian, senior economist at Zillow. “Instead of getting married or starting a family in their early to mid-twenties as was the norm in past decades, many are waiting until they are established in their careers. And the typical career trajectory has fundamentally changed since the 1960s as well – rather than climbing a corporate ladder, many are choosing to hop from one role or function to the next, often requiring a move to a new location.”

Among the 35 largest metros in the U.S., the greatest increases in the share of young adults that had recently moved were in Boston (up 22 percentage points since 1960), Pittsburgh (up 20.9), Detroit (up 17.7) and Philadelphia (up 17.4). This share of recently moved young adults has fallen since 1960 in four metros –Las Vegas (down 6.7 percentage points), Riverside (down 6.3), San Diego (down 3.8) and Orlando (down 1.3).

Metro Area
1960 – Share of Young Adults Who Had Lived in Home Less Than Two Years
2017 – Share of Young Adults Who Had Lived in Home Less Than Two Years
Difference (Percentage Points)
United States
33.8%
45.3%
11.6%
New York, NY
26.6%
39.9%
13.3%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
43.2%
43.9%
0.8%
Chicago, IL
32.2%
46.6%
14.5%
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
41.5%
52.2%
10.7%
Philadelphia, PA
25.9%
43.3%
17.4%
Houston, TX
36.9%
49.6%
12.7%
Washington, DC
39.5%
50.8%
11.3%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL
44.3%
47.9%
3.7%
Atlanta, GA
35.7%
47.7%
12.0%
Boston, MA
26.8%
48.7%
22.0%
San Francisco, CA
41.7%
46.1%
4.4%
Detroit, MI
28.0%
45.7%
17.7%
Riverside, CA
47.3%
41.0%
-6.3%
Phoenix, AZ
47.8%
49.1%
1.3%
Seattle, WA
41.2%
53.3%
12.1%
Minneapolis-St Paul, MN
N/A
47.7%
N/A
San Diego, CA
54.4%
50.6%
-3.8%
St. Louis, MO
32.9%
44.7%
11.8%
Tampa, FL
41.5%
51.3%
9.8%
Baltimore, MD
28.7%
45.2%
16.5%
Denver, CO
43.9%
53.7%
9.7%
Pittsburgh, PA
24.2%
45.1%
20.9%
Portland, OR
39.3%
51.8%
12.6%
Charlotte, NC
35.9%
47.5%
11.7%
Sacramento, CA
47.2%
47.7%
0.5%
San Antonio, TX
40.2%
49.9%
9.6%
Orlando, FL
52.2%
50.9%
-1.3%
Cincinnati, OH
36.4%
45.6%
9.3%
Cleveland, OH
32.0%
44.1%
12.1%
Kansas City, MO
35.1%
46.9%
11.8%
Las Vegas, NV
57.9%
51.3%
-6.7%
Columbus, OH
40.3%
47.4%
7.2%
Indianapolis, IN
37.0%
49.3%
12.3%
San Jose, CA
44.5%
52.2%
7.7%
Austin, TX
48.0%
51.9%
3.9%

About Zillow

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Mortgage rates average 3.65% | Armonk NY Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.65 percent, a slight increase from last week.

“While mortgage rates generally held steady this week, overall mortgage demand remained very strong, rising over fifty percent from a year ago thanks to increases in both refinance and purchase mortgage applications,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “As economic growth decelerates, it is clear that low mortgage rates will continue to support the mortgage market and we expect that to persist for the remainder of the year.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.65 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending September 26, 2019, slightly up from last week when it averaged 3.64 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.71 percent. 
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.14 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.16 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.15 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.38 percent with an average 0.4 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 4.01 percent.

NYC sales and prices drop after new taxes | North Salem Real Estate

The Manhattan real estate market stumbled in the third quarter of 2019, new reports show, as prices plunged and fewer buyers were willing to purchase higher-priced properties in the wake of two recent tax increases.

The median sales price for properties fell 17 percent from the same quarter last year, to $999,950, according to new data from CORE. The average sales price dropped 12 percent, to $1.64 million.

Condo sales fell 8 percent, logging 946 transactions. Co-op sales, on the other hand, were up a modest 2 percent year over year.

“The third quarter of 2019 was undoubtedly the most challenging quarter in recent memory, especially for condo sales,” Garrett Derderian, managing director of market analysis at CORE, said in a statement. “Market prices have gone from what was once described as the kindest, gentlest correction to a near free fall. The last time conditions were described in such a way was in the height of the recession.”

Only 9.7 percent of sales were above $3 million, down 14.8 percent from last year. The last time sales above $3 million were that low was in 2012.

Consequently, nearly 30 percent of inventory on the market was priced above $3 million.

It’s worth noting that many buyers rushed to purchase properties before an increase in the city’s mansion tax and transfer tax took effect in July.

“Third quarter data reflects a more accurate snapshot of the current market – continued price correction,” Diane M. Ramirez, Chairman & CEO of Halstead, said in a statement.

Halstead’s own report released on Wednesday showed Manhattan apartment sales fell 16 percent in the third quarter – with sales above $5 million dropping nearly 50 percent.

Properties, meanwhile, spent an average of 192 days on the market – the highest quarterly total since the final quarter of 2012.

In July, New York City increased its mansion tax – a progressive tax that applies to home sales of more than $1 million – to a maximum of 3.9 percent, up from a flat-rate of 1 percent. The tax rates vary from 1.25 percent for $2 million sales, to 3.9 percent for sales of $25 million and higher. The city also increased a one-time charge on properties worth more than $2 million – known as the transfer tax. That fee, typically paid by a seller, varies from 0.4 percent for transactions under $3 million, to 0.65 percent for anything above $3 million.

As previously reported by FOX Business, more than 25 percent of new condos that have been built in New York City since 2013 remain unsold. In terms of units – of the 16,242 condos built since 2013, about 12,133 have sold. That means more than 4,100 have not.

Experts have said the trend could be indicative of a potential future recession.

Falling real estate prices come as concerns mount over the new tax law’s impact on high-tax states – particularly a $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. Some people have begun fleeing states like New York and New Jersey, headed for lower-tax areas like Florida and Texas.

New York was one of a handful of states dealt a blow in its bid to challenge the SALT cap this week, after a judge dismissed its lawsuit.

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https://www.foxbusiness.com/real-estate/nyc-housing-prices-near-free-fall-recession-era-tax-hikes

Case Shiller home price index up 2% year over year | Mt Kisco Real Estate

July 2019 saw an annual increase of 3.2% for home prices nationwide, matching the previous month’s pace, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index from S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic.

The 10-City and 20-City composites reported a 1.6% and 2% year-over-year increase, respectively. During the month, 15 of 20 cities reported increases both before and after seasonal adjustment.  

“Year-over-year home prices continued to gain, but at ever more modest rates,” says Philip Murphy, managing director and global head of index governance at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Charlotte surpassed Tampa to join the top three cities, and Seattle may be turning around from its recent negative streak of YOY price changes, improving from -1.3% in June to -0.06% in July.”

According to the index, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Charlotte reported the highest year-over-year gains among all of the 20 cities.

In July, Phoenix led with a 5.8% year-over-year price increase, followed by Las Vegas with a 4.7% increase and Charlotte with a 4.6% increase. Seven of the 20 cities reported larger price increases in the year ending July 2019 versus the year ending June 2019.

“Overall, leadership remains in the southwest (Phoenix and Las Vegas) and southeast (Charlotte and Tampa),” Murphy said. “Other pockets of relative strength include Minneapolis, which increased its YOY gain to 4.2%, and Detroit, which is closely behind at 4.1% YOY.”

“The 10-City and 20-City Composites both experienced lower YOY price gains than last month, declining to 1.6% and 2.0% respectively. However, the U.S. National Home Price NSA Index remained steady with a YOY price gain of 3.2%, the same as prior month,” Murphy said. “Home price gains remained positive in low single digits in most cities, and other fundamentals indicate renewed housing demand.”

 The graph below highlights the average home prices within the 10-City and 20-City Composites:

Case-Shiller - July

Reducing California homelessness | Waccabuc Real Estate

Ben Carson leaves Union Rescue Mission on skid row

President Trump’s big idea for fixing California’s homelessness crisis should look familiar to many prominent Democrats: Eliminate layers of regulation to make it easier and cheaper to build more housing.

On the eve of a two-day swing through the state this week, Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers released a report blaming “decades of misguided and faulty policies” for putting too many restrictions on development and causing home prices to rise to unaffordable levels. It’s a continuation of a strategy that the president began in June, when he signed an executive order to establish a White House council to “confront the regulatory barriers to affordable housing development.”

“Harmful local government policies in select cities, along with ineffective federal government policies of prior administrations, have exaggerated the homelessness problem,” Tom Philipson, acting chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers,told reporters Monday.

But while the administration’s argument broadly mirrors what some Democratic lawmakers have been trying to do in California, easing rules on development, allowing fourplexes on land currently zoned for single-family homes or cutting some state environmental rules that restrict building, it’s too simple to link Trump’s approach with that of his liberal antagonists, several state lawmakers said.

Instead, they said, the president’s positions on homelessness are more about trolling California than attempting to find actual solutions. Some also argue that the administration’s report takes a common Republican tactic — deregulation — that often benefits the party’s deep-pocketed donors and slaps it on yet another subject — homelessness.

Democratic state Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, who represents skid row and other neighborhoods in downtown Los Angeles,is the author of recently passed legislation that would make it harder to use state environmental laws to block homeless housing and shelters in Los Angeles.

He said it was hard to take Trump’s ideas seriously when the president has also proposed cutting federal housing dollars and clawing back Obama-era rules that aimed to desegregate neighborhoods. Another proposed Trump administration policy would deny federal housing aid to households that include anyone living in the country illegally, even when other members are eligible for such aid as lawful residents or U.S. citizens.

“I think it’s politics at its worst where he is going to pick on a vulnerable community — no different than when he picked on immigrants — and he’s going to target them,” Santiago said. “We’re already hearing it: ‘Here’s West Coast liberals, not able to solve the problem.’ I think it’s a little cynical for someone who has done everything in their right mind to make it worse on the working poor.”

The Trump administration’s report says that the San Francisco and Los Angeles metropolitan areas could see huge reductions in homelessness if they were to unwind restrictions on development, estimating that the population of people living on the streets and in shelters would go down by more than half and 40%, respectively.

The report doesn’t cite any specific regulations that are increasing housing costs, nor recommendations on what regulations should be eliminated.

State Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco, who has made a name for himself arguing for the reduction of local zoning rules, said he disagreed with the Trump administration’s apparent pitch to cut back on all regulations and allow for more building of all types everywhere. Instead, his recently shelved Senate Bill 50 was designed to make it easier to build housing near existing job centers and mass transit specifically for affordability and environmental reasons.

Wiener also pointed to national Democrats, such as presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey, and former President Obama, who have pushed for stripping away some development rules as part of their plans to make housing more affordable.

“I don’t agree with the president’s view that we should be like Arizona because that would lead to sprawl,” Wiener said. “But I do agree with Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Barack Obama that we should move away from restrictive housing policies because restrictive housing policies lead to more homelessness.”

In addition to deregulation, the Trump administration’s report also calls for using law enforcement to deal with homeless people and encampments, arguing that “more tolerable conditions for sleeping on the streets” increased the homeless population.

That argument has largely been panned by experts, who point to more complicated, intertwined causes of homelessness, including poverty, addiction and lack of affordable housing. Therefore, the recommendation to use police is wrongheaded as well, said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“The White House report on homelessness treats this crisis like fodder for a cable news debate,” Garcetti said in a statement. “We don’t have time for that. If the president really cares about solving this crisis, he wouldn’t be talking about criminalization over housing. He’d be making dramatic increases in funding for this country’s housing safety net.”

In the past week, Trump’s advisers have toured homeless encampments and public housing projects in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but offered few solutions.

On Wednesday morning, after meeting with LAPD Chief Michel Moore, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson visited skid row to tour the Union Rescue Mission. He didn’t offer much substance about the administration’s plans, but encouraged a greater focus on public-private partnerships.

Carson also indicated that HUD might start reserving housing grants to local governments that are willing to make changes to local zoning laws.

“We will get preference points to people who are willing to look at these things,” he said. “You know, we have so many archaic rules on the books all over the country.”

Later Wednesday, Carson rejected a request made earlier this week by Gov. Gavin Newsom and other elected officials for additional resources for homelessness, including 50,000 housing vouchers. In his written response, Carson echoed the report from Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers.

“Your letter seeks more federal dollars for California from hardworking American taxpayers, but fails to admit that your state and local policies have played a major role in creating the current crisis,” he wrote. “If California’s homeless population had held in line with overall population trends, America’s homeless rate would have decreased. Instead, the opposite has happened, as California’s unsheltered homelessness population has skyrocketed as a result of the state’s overregulated housing market, its inefficient allocation of resources and its policies that have weakened law enforcement.”

Dan O’Flaherty, a Columbia University economics professor whose work is cited more than a half-dozen times in the Trump administration’s report, said he agreed that loosening local homebuilding rules would decrease costs and lessen homelessness. But he said that the report vastly overstates the potential impact of doing so.

And even if the report is correct that deregulation would reduce Los Angeles’ current homeless population by 40%, it would still take decades for that to happen.

“You do 40% over 40 years?” O’Flaherty said. “Big whoopie.”

Overall, O’Flaherty said the report ignored well-regarded research that shows public subsidies can help homeless people find new homes, and instead asserted without evidence that simply increasing mental health and drug treatment programs without housing assistance would decrease the homeless population.

Margot Kushel, a professor of medicine at UC San Francisco who recently received a $30-million grant from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife to study solutions to homelessness, panned the Trump administration’s report as being out of line with most research on the subject.

One notable lapse, she said, was that it argued permanent supportive housing, which attempts to house people who are chronically homeless and have disabilities in buildings that also have social services, was ineffectual. Multiple studies, she said, show that 85% or more of those receiving such housing stay there.

The success of permanent supportive housing, she said, “is not controversial and it has had broad bipartisan support because the evidence is so overwhelming.”

Like others, Heidi Marston, chief program officer for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, questioned whether some in the Trump administration, including Carson, really understood the best practices being used to help homeless people.

For example, during his visit to skid row on Wednesday, Carson offered a somewhat muddled answer to a question about “housing first,” the widely accepted national model that prioritizes getting people off the streets and into permanent supportive housing, regardless of their sobriety or health status.

“When we talk about something like housing first, housing first is a good idea because it gets people off the street and it actually costs less money when you get them off the street,” he said. “But you can’t stop with housing first. You have to go with housing second, which means you diagnose the reason that they were there in the first place and housing third, which means you try to fix it.”

Marston would love to see the federal government offer more help on homelessness, and she was among those who met with Trump officials last week.

“We focused on educating them,” she said, “trying to help them understand why we practice a low-barrier approach and what housing first really means.”

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https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-18/trump-housing-homeless-ben-carson-california-deregulation

Housing starts jump | South Salem Real Estate

Total housing starts posted a 12.3 percent increase in August (1.364 million units) compared to an upwardly revised July estimate of 1.215 million units, according to the joint data release from the Census Bureau and HUD. Relative to August 2018, total starts are 6.6 percent above the annual pace of 1.279 million units.

Single-family production in August posted a monthly increase of 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 919,000. Single-family starts in July were revised up to 880,000 units. The three-month moving average for single-family in August is 888,000 units.

On a year-to-date basis, single-family starts are 2.7 percent lower as of August relative to the first eight months of 2018. Single-family permits, a useful indicator of future construction activity, rose 4.5 percent in August (866,000 units) compared to July but have registered a 4.1 percent loss thus far in 2019 compared to last year.

Regional data show, on a year-to-date basis, positive conditions for single-family construction only in the South (+1.1 percent). Single-family construction is down 6.9 percent in the West, 4.8 percent in the Midwest, and 11.9 percent in the Northeast.

Multifamily starts (2+ unit production) registered an increase of 32.8 percent in August to a 445,000 annual rate compared to July. On a year-to-date basis, multifamily 5+ unit production is slightly up 0.4 percent thus far in 2019, while multifamily 5+ unit permitting is trending higher with an increase of 4.2 percent relative to the first eight months of 2018.

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