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robertogreco : homeownership   9

An interactive view of the housing boom and bust
"This map was originally published in September 2013 and has been updated annually as new Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data become available. This 2017 update incorporates 2016 mortgage originations and includes information on purchase and refinance loans.

Since 2008, the tight credit environment has constrained mortgage lending and disproportionately affected black and Hispanic households. As a result, these communities found it hard to take advantage of the low home prices and low interest rates that followed the housing market crash, missing an important opportunity to build wealth through homeownership. Credit remains tight today while home prices have reached their precrisis peak, further limiting affordable housing options for minority homebuyers."
housing  us  race  racism  homeownership  2017  2008  maps  mapping  data  mortgages 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Why Tokyo is the land of rising home construction but not prices - FT.com
"The city had more housing starts in 2014 than the whole of England. Can Japan’s capital offer lessons to other world cities?

It was the rapidity of what happened to the house next door that took us by surprise. We knew it was empty. Grass was steadily taking over its mossy Japanese garden; the upstairs curtains never moved. But one day a notice went up, a hydraulic excavator tore the house down, and by the end of next year it will be a block of 16 apartments instead.

Abruptly, we are living next door to a Tokyo building site. It is not fun. They work six days a week. Were this London, Paris or San Francisco, there would be howls of resident rage — petitions, dire warnings about loss of neighbourhood character, and possibly a lawsuit or two. Local elections have been lost for less.

Yet in our neighbourhood, there was not a murmur, and a conversation with Takahiko Noguchi, head of the planning section in Minato ward, explains why. “There is no legal restraint on demolishing a building,” he says. “People have the right to use their land so basically neighbouring people have no right to stop development.”

Here is a startling fact: in 2014 there were 142,417 housing starts in the city of Tokyo (population 13.3m, no empty land), more than the 83,657 housing permits issued in the state of California (population 38.7m), or the 137,010 houses started in the entire country of England (population 54.3m).

Tokyo’s steady construction is linked to a still more startling fact. In contrast to the enormous house price booms that have distorted western cities — setting young against old, redistributing wealth to the already wealthy, and denying others the chance to move to where the good jobs are — the cost of property in Japan’s capital has hardly budged.

This is not the result of a falling population. Japan has experienced the same “return to the city” wave as other nations. In Minato ward — a desirable 20 sq km slice of central Tokyo — the population is up 66 per cent over the past 20 years, from 145,000 to 241,000, an increase of about 100,000 residents.

[Chart: Change in house prices and population]

In the 121 sq km of San Francisco, the population grew by about the same number over 20 years, from 746,000 to 865,000 — a rise of 16 per cent. Yet whereas the price of a home in San Francisco and London has increased 231 per cent and 441 per cent respectively, Minato ward has absorbed its population boom with price rises of just 45 per cent, much of which came after the Bank of Japan launched its big monetary stimulus in 2013.

In Tokyo there are no boring conversations about house prices because they have not changed much. Whether to buy or rent is not a life-changing decision. Rather, Japan delivers to its people a steadily improving standard, location and volume of house.

In many countries, urban housing is becoming one of the great social and economic issues of the age. (Would Britain have voted for Brexit if more of the population could move to London?) It is worth investigating, therefore, how Tokyo achieved this feat, the price it has paid for a steady stream of homes, and whether there are any lessons to learn.

Like most institutions in Japan, urban planning was originally based on western models. “It’s similar to the United States system,” says Junichiro Okata, professor of urban engineering at the University of Tokyo.

Cities are zoned into commercial, industrial and residential land of various types. In commercial areas you can build what you want: part of Tokyo’s trick is a blossoming of apartment towers in former industrial zones around the bay. But in low-rise residential districts, there are strict limits, and it is hard to get land rezoned.

Subject to the zoning rules, the rights of landowners are strong. In fact, Japan’s constitution declares that “the right to own or to hold property is inviolable”. A private developer cannot make you sell land; a local government cannot stop you using it. If you want to build a mock-Gothic castle faced in pink seashells, that is your business.

In the cities of coastal California, zoning rules have led to paralysis and a lack of new housing supply, as existing homeowners block new development. It was a similar story in 1980s Tokyo.

“During the 1980s Japan had a spectacular speculative house price bubble that was even worse than in London and New York during the same period, and various Japanese economists were decrying the planning and zoning systems as having been a major contributor by reducing supply,” says André Sorensen, a geography professor at the University of Toronto, who has written extensively on planning in Japan.

But, indirectly, it was the bubble that laid foundations for future housing across the centre of Tokyo, says Hiro Ichikawa, who advises developer Mori Building. When it burst, developers were left with expensively assembled office sites for which there was no longer any demand.

As bad loans to developers brought Japan’s financial system to the brink of collapse in the 1990s, the government relaxed development rules, culminating in the Urban Renaissance Law of 2002, which made it easier to rezone land. Office sites were repurposed for new housing. “To help the economy recover from the bubble, the country eased regulation on urban development,” says Ichikawa. “If it hadn’t been for the bubble, Tokyo would be in the same situation as London or San Francisco.”

Hallways and public areas were excluded from the calculated size of apartment buildings, letting them grow much higher within existing zoning, while a proposal now under debate would allow owners to rebuild bigger if they knock down blocks built to old earthquake standards.

All of this law flows from the national government, and freedom to demolish and rebuild means landowners can quickly take advantage. “The city planning law and the building law are set nationally — even small details are written in national law,” says Okata. “Local government has almost no power over development.”

“Without rebuilding we can’t protect lives [from earthquakes],” says Noguchi in Minato ward, reflecting the prevailing view in Japan that all buildings are temporary and disposable, another crucial difference between Tokyo and its western counterparts. “There are still plenty of places with old buildings where it’s possible to increase the volume.”

Constant rebuilding helps to explain why housing starts in the city are so high: the net increase in homes is lower. Like our next-door neighbours, however, a rebuild often allows an increase in density.

All of this comes at a price, not financial, but one paid in other ways. Put simply, the modern Japanese cityscape — Tokyo included — can be spectacularly ugly. There is no visual co-ordination of buildings, little open space, and “high-quality” mainly means “won’t fall down in an earthquake”.

Some of Tokyo’s older apartment buildings give industrial Siberia a dystopian run for its money. The mock-Gothic castle is no flight of fancy: visit the Emperor love hotel, which (de) faces the canal in Meguro ward. Most depressing of all are the serried, endless ranks of cheap, prefab, wooden houses in the Tokyo suburbs.

“The Japanese system is extremely laissez-faire. It really is the minimum. And it’s extremely centralised and standardised. That means it is highly flexible in responding to social and economic change,” says Okata.

“On the other hand, it’s not much good at producing outcomes suited to a particular town in a particular place. It can’t produce attractive cities like the UK or Europe.” Okata wants to hand much more power to local government.

And yet. At the level of individual buildings, if you block from your vision whatever stands next door, Tokyo fizzes with invention and beauty. It is no coincidence that the country where architects can build has produced a procession of Pritzker prize winners.

Japanese urbanism, with its “scramble” pedestrian crossings, its narrow streets, its dense population and its superb public transport is looked to as a model, certainly in Asia, and increasingly across the rest of the world as well.

Most of all, Tokyo is fair. The ugliness is shared by rich and poor alike. So is the low-cost housing. In London, or in San Francisco, all share in the beauty, but some enjoy it from the gutter; others from high above the city, in the rationed seats, closer to the stars."
japan  tokyo  sanfrancisco  london  us  uk  housing  population  property  construction  development  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  cities  california  zoning  homeownership  policy  england  economics  propertyrights  density 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Chart Book: Federal Housing Spending Is Poorly Matched to Need — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
"Chart Book: Federal Housing Spending Is Poorly Matched to Need
Tilt Toward Well-Off Homeowners Leaves Struggling Low-Income Renters Without Help"



"Part I: Federal Housing Spending Disproportionately Targets Higher-Income Households …

Part II: Federal Housing Policy Favors Owning Over Renting …

Part III: Poor Renters Have Greatest Need for Housing Assistance …

Part IV: Rental Affordability Problems Have Worsened Since 2000 …

Part V: Federal Rental Assistance Targets the Neediest Low-Income People …

Part VI: Funding Limitations Prevent Rental Assistance from Reaching Most Families in Need …"

[via: http://notes.husk.org/post/115973482479/chart-book-federal-housing-spending-is-poorly ]
housing  income  us  inequality  subsidies  homeownership  renters  2015  government  poverty  data 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Liberalism and Gentrification | Jacobin
"Gentrification isn’t a cultural phenomenon — it’s a class offensive by powerful capitalists."



"Tying up your assets, your middle-class future, in home values does something to people. It alters their interests. It sutures a professional class, of liberal and even progressive beliefs, to the rapacious capitalist expansion into the city. The people who move to gentrifying areas tend to have liberal, tolerant, cosmopolitan sympathies. But they are aligned materially with reactionary and oppressive city restructuring, pushing them into antagonism with established residents, who do nothing for property values. Behind every Jane Jacobs comes Rudy Giuliani with his nightstick."



"The liberal discourse on gentrification has absolutely nothing to say about finance or prison, the two most salient institutions in urban life. Instead, it does what liberal discourse so often does: it buries the structural forces at work and choreographs a dance about individual choice to perform on the grave. We get tiny dramas over church parking lots and bike lanes and whether 7-11 will be able to serve chicken wings. Gentrification becomes a culture war, a battle over consumer choices: gourmet cupcake shop or fried chicken joint? Can we all live side by side, eating gourmet pickles with our fried fish sandwiches? Will blacks and whites hang out in the same bars? wonders Racialicious.

The problems of gentrification always boil down to those of mutual tolerance (and so, poor black people often become “racists” intolerant of yuppies); the solutions, therefore, reside in personal conduct and ethical choices. In “How To Be A Good Gentrifier,” Elahe Izadi offers such helpful pointers as saying hello to your neighbors and not crossing the street to avoid them. After all, if you’re going to participate in the expulsion of poor people from their communities, you might as well be civil."



"Marx called the violent expropriation of the poor from their lands “primitive accumulation.” The term conjures a one-time sin, in the distant past — Adam Smith called it “originary accumulation.” However, primitive accumulation accompanies capitalist development every step of the way, wherever valuable land meets valueless humanity.

In the early days of America, before Washington existed, nothing short of genocide would suffice. Today’s colonization requires little more than a low-interest mortgage and 911 on speed dial. In the face of this slow destruction of the urban poor, liberals have only one question: can’t we have fried chicken and cupcakes, too?"
capitalism  gentrification  ideology  homeownership  policy  politics  race  racism  2014  gavinmueller  brokenwindows  rudygiuliani  janejacobs  economics  money  sharonzukin  class  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  carollloyd  sanfrancisco  washingtondc  nyc  richardflorida  creativeclass  frantzfanon  primitiveaccumulation  colonization  housing 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Freedom, Autonomy, and Happiness
"Why haven’t Americans become much happier even though they became much richer? I really think there’s something to the idea that the way we’ve lived and worked as we’ve  become richer hasn’t had much payoff in an increased sense of autonomy. There’s a left-wing version of this argument that stresses a sort of enslavement by false consumer desire, an imagined loss of worker’s rights, and so forth. There’s something to this. But I’m stewing up version of the argument that stresses barriers to self-employment, the debt loads and like-it-or-not rootedness encouraged by the American cult of homeownership, that sort of thing. Consider this a preview."
williwilkinson  davidbrooks  thesocialanimal  happiness  autonomy  left  self-employment  homeownership  workers  enslavement  dept  wealth  rootedness  freedom  commitment  cv  ratrace  racetonowhere  wageslavery 
april 2011 by robertogreco
YouTube - RSA Animate - Crises of Capitalism
"In this RSA Animate, radical sociologist David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane?"
davidharvey  capitalism  economics  politics  rsaanimate  homeownership  us  culture  germany  greece  policy  banks  finance  banking  canon  housing  worldbank  imf  neoliberalism  liberalism  alangreenspan  marxism  instability  systemicrisk  capitalaccumulation  crisis  labor  capital  1970s  1980s  unions  offshoring  power  wagerepression  wages  credit  creditcards  debt  personaldebt  2010  limits  greed  profits  industry  london  uk  latinamerica  wealth  india  china  inequality  incomeinequality  wealthinequality  hedgefunds 
june 2010 by robertogreco
'America Needs to Get Over Its House Passion' - National - The Atlantic
"But, a whole slew of recent research suggests that there are considerable costs as well as benefits to owning your home. A 1998 Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas study, undertaken well before the boom and bubble, provided detailed empirical evidence of America's over-investment in housing. Yale University's Robert Shiller, the world's leading student of bubbles, housing, and otherwise, found that from "1890 to 1990, the rate of return on residential real estate was just about zero after inflation." Or as Nobel prize-winning Columbia University economist Edmund Phelps puts it: "It used to be that the business of America was business. Now the business of America is homeownership." He adds, "To recover and grow again, America needs to get over its 'house passion."' I delve into these issues in greater depth in The Great Reset."
richardflorida  homeownership  capitalism  housing  via:javierarbona  land  economics 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Rethinking the American Dream | vanityfair.com
"what about outmoded proposition that each successive generation in US must live better than one that preceded it?...no longer applicable to an American middle class that lives more comfortably than any...before...I’m no champion of downward mobility, but time has come to consider the idea of simple continuity: perpetuation of a contented, sustainable middle-class way of life, where standard of living remains happily constant from one generation to next. American Dream should require hard work...not require 80-hour workweeks & parents who never see kids from across dinner table...should entail first-rate education for every child not an education that leaves no extra time for actual enjoyment of childhood...should accommodate goal of home ownership without imposing lifelong burden of unmeetable debt. Above all...should be embraced as unique sense of possibility that this country gives its citizens—the decent chance, as Moss Hart would say, to scale the walls & achieve what you wish."
us  americandream  capitalism  sustainability  debt  education  happiness  well-being  society  culture  economics  history  money  identity  ideology  sociology  crisis  markets  families  homeownership  generations  upwardmobility  freedom  success  aspiration  credit  creditcards 
march 2009 by robertogreco

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