Monday, July 8, 2013

On the Joint Center's Housing Report

If you're interested in the whole report, you can read it here.  But I've only a couple of comments, since it's pretty common knowledge that low-income tenants pay a disproportionate share of their income for housing.  First, the report notes the importance of affordable housing for lower-income households, not just because decent and affordable housing is a good thing, but because it enables households to spend more money on other things, like food.  I remember reading some time back that a Boston doctor had noted that kids who lived in public housing were less likely to be malnourished than equally low-income kids in private housing.  The report also notes that low-income households that have to travel long distances for work lose much of that benefit in transportation costs.  So communities should be required to provide housing near work centers for their low-income workers.  And this leaves aside the whole issue of carbon-spewing.

Second, it's always fun to watch rich folk fighting one another.  And in the battle between the banks (no, we're not hanging onto housing until prices improve) and the National Association of Realtors (the banks are holding onto housing we want to sell), the Joint Center has come down on the side of the NAR, noting that the number of held-off-market housing units has continued to increase, even as the number of foreclosures has fallen.  But then real estate professionals are major funders of the Joint Center.  That doesn't mean they aren't right, but it's like the ratings agencies getting paid by the people issuing the securities.  Oh, yeah.

And Happy Birthday to my brother.  He's 56.

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