Why Do So Few People Buy Affordable Properties at Auction
Despite more favorable pricing, only 25 percent of auction sales are initially sold to owner-occupants. Auction sales pose a number of barriers to would-be owner-occupants that are not easily overcome, including financing, the risk of substantial repairs being needed, removing current occupants, and the inability to see a property before the auction. This report offers an analysis of auction sales in 2019 and 2020, and it includes a set of policy options that could make distressed sales via auctions accessible to more potential homebuyers.
Colorado has a record-breaking affordable housing plan. Will state lawmakers push for growth and density, too?
Most notably, the plan for the upcoming $400 million of federal money also will favor local governments that encourage density, transit and green-building, said Rep. Dylan Roberts, chair of the housing task force. And the state has already earmarked about $38 million in federal grants for housing in cities that embrace higher-density development and other strategies. It’s a strategy with direct backing from Gov. Jared Polis.
Factors Compressing Affordable Housing Pipeline in 2021 Likely to Resolve in 2022
Demand for affordable housing, federal level commitments to the sector and the continued involvement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are all positive factors for the outlook of affordable housing. However, Gerken notes, “Financing is somewhat challenged by gaps in funding. With pricing and costs going up, there’s a gap between how much a project might support from a loan side versus how much in tax credits are allocated to that project during the last round of allocations. Some of that gap between overall costs and the funding sources is being made up as local agencies put in additional money in order to get affordable housing done.”
Builder groups oppose Denver’s ambitious affordable housing proposal, warn plan could backfire
The most ambitious element would make it mandatory for developers of any project of more than 10 apartments or condos to set aside between 8% and 15% of the project as affordable housing or pay substantial fees. The cost of not providing affordable housing in a new building would start at $250,000 per unit, according to a summary document the city released last week. The affordability requirements would remain in place for 99 years, a considerable amount of time in a place where median rents rose 77% and median home prices shot up 79% between 2010 and 2019, according to city data. In accordance with the state law, the policy includes incentives for building affordable units including cheaper permits and reductions to the number of parking spaces required on a property.
Revised housing affordability proposal now available
After receiving great feedback on the initial proposal draft released in 2021, the city published a revised policy draft that addresses many of the key themes heard from residents, industry, and community groups. In conjunction with the revised proposal, the city has also published the public review drafts for the proposal’s specific code language. All materials will be available for review through March 14, 2022. Read a two-page summary of the proposal:
Colorado could ban ‘slow-growth’ policies as GOP and liberals team up at the statehouse
“The reality is, no matter how much money this body decides to pour into affordable housing efforts, if local governments continue to enact anti-growth initiatives and unreasonable zoning policies, we are not going to construct the additional housing units we need to make Colorado affordable again,” said state Sen. Larry Liston, who co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Andres Picos. Both are Republicans from Colorado Springs. Boulder, Golden and Lakewood are among the cities that have instituted limits on growth. Voters in those cities approved growth restrictions in 1976, 1995 and 2019, respectively. In each city, the law says that the residential housing stock can grow by only 1 percent per year.
Denver’s fund created in 2010 to add income-restricted housing near RTD stops has exceeded its goals
The fund was created to help developers build income-restricted housing along Light Rail, commuter rail and high-traffic bus lines. “In 2010, Enterprise and many of our partners came together to create this low-cost, low-burden loan product,” Rodgers said. “That allows our partners to acquire, for the most part, vacant land, but also properties that can be renovated, properties that may be populated with low-income people, and gives them the freedom and the time to pull together the financing to build new affordable housing.” Money for the program came from the City of Denver, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, and the state’s Division of Housing, along with Enterprise and other partners. When the Transit Oriented Development Fund launched in 2010, Enterprise had a goal of handing out 20 loans to developers to build 2,000 homes by January 2022. The fund has exceeded its original goals with its three latest projects.
Affordable Housing in Denver Is Scarce and the Denver Housing Authority Is Stepping In
Although Denver hasn’t done well in keeping up with the growing demand for affordable housing, over $62 million of gap bonds from the city will support DHA in 1,300 available affordable housing units, in addition to funding through the organizations Delivers for Denver (D3) Initiative, an attempt to kickstart the city’s Five Year Housing Plan. The plan was announced last August and made a goal to cut the number of unhoused residents by half and increase income-restricted housing by 2026. DHA is underway to complete seven of 11 projects, including the revitalization of the Sun Valley neighborhood, its most recent project.
Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae Refocus on Workforce Housing Lending
FHFA will allow Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to purchase up to $78 billion each in loans to apartment properties in 2022. That’s an 11 percent increase from from $70 billion caps in 2021. Market players expect demand for financing from multifamily borrowers to grow by more than that in 2022, creating opportunities for other multifamily lenders. In addition, at least half of the loans bought by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae must be to communities with rents affordable to low- and moderate-income households. The lending limits also require Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to make even more loans to more deeply affordable apartments—25 percent of their loans must be to properties with rents affordable to households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income. That’s up from 20 percent in 2021.
Where Are All the Robotaxis We Were Promised? Well…
Like the task of designing self-driving hardware and software suites that can stand up to the myriad demands of taxi service, the answer is complicated. In one sense, they’re already here. You can fly to Phoenix tomorrow and hail a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica through Waymo with no safety driver on board, and GM’s Cruise subsidiary soft-launched its service in San Francisco last month. These are real advances that would’ve seemed outlandish a decade ago. But scaling an autonomous ride-hailing program is more than a programming challenge, which is hard enough on its own—it’s a logistical one, a mechanical one, and an economic one as well. Robotaxis for the masses, it seems, will have to wait until a company can nail all that at once, which in all likelihood, is still years away from happening.
Why the Concept of Induced Demand Is a Hard Sell
Induced demand has been theorized for almost 100 years, formally studied beginning in the 1960s, and quantitatively measured in the 1990s and the early 21st century. This basic concept is key to understanding congestion relief, which is arguably the central policy goal of American transportation planning. But it is not an intuitive idea. In fact, a series of new studies, the latest published this February, has shown that it is one of the least understood concepts in transportation policy.
Denver City Council Member Paul Kashmann and Kendra Black report the Schlessman YMCA, 3901 East Yale Avenue has proposed completely redeveloping their 6 acre campus into a mixed use site including a new YMCA, a separate building devoted to complimentary wellness businesses, restaurants, perhaps a boutique grocer and mid- to high-rise residential uses.
Denver City Council Member Jolon Clark reports the #ADUsInDenver project is looking at how the Denver Zoning Code regulates accessory dwelling units, which are self-contained, smaller living spaces that are an extension of an existing property. Over the course of this project, staff will host focus groups, community meetings, surveys, interviews, office hours and more for members of the public to weigh in.
The Ciivic Center Conservancy reports the Civic Center Next 100 concept plan is complete. The preferred design concepts for the Greek Theater and the Central Promenade form the basis for further detailed design in 2022 and implementation in 2024. Bannock Street and the Central Gathering Feature will move forward as funding becomes available.