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Opinion: Manufactured Homes could ease California Housing Crisis

While public agencies are spending billions of dollars to fund affordable housing projects and homeless shelters, they have no plan to increase California’s stock of manufactured homes, the nation’s most affordable source of unsubsidized housing.

All the while Californians are coming to recognize that manufactured homes offer a lifestyle comparable to traditional housing at a far more competitive price, especially as the industry introduces new and innovative housing concepts.

This evolution is on full display at the Palm Canyon Mobile Club, a Palm Springs mobile home park that has introduced new manufactured homes with contemporary architectural designs, and interiors that are beautifully crafted and designed for small quarters. Some units include fenced yards, wrap-around decks and hot tubs. Their pitch is as simple as it is effective; “This is not your grandma’s mobile home park, but a new generation of community living.”

When the state’s median home price is $548,000, homebuyers will be surprised to learn that these homes, described by Apartment Therapy as “adorable and affordable,” are offered at bargain prices, anywhere from $155,000 to $225,000. However, if one is interested in more traditional designs, units can be ordered factory direct and installed for half the price.

Given their affordability and comfort, one would think the state’s solution to its housing crisis would include incentives to build more manufactured homes – lots more. Unfortunately not, and with inaction comes costly consequences.

Housing in California is 2 1/2 times more costly than the rest of the nation and despite manufactured homes being competitively priced, they comprise a mere 4.1 percent of the state’s housing market compared to the national average of 7.3 percent.

In contrast, manufactured homes comprise 11.3 percent of Florida’s housing market. Florida’s robust inventory may help explain why 64.8 percent of Floridians are homeowners compared to 54.5 percent for Californians.

There were periods of time, through much of the 1960s, that thousands of new mobile home parks were built in California, but this era of new park construction is long gone. This is not due to lack of consumer interest. On the contrary, the production of manufactured homes has been steadily increasing in the U.S., but these new homes are being located in other states with more favorable land-use and housing policies.

If housing agencies and local planners were serious about restoring the dream of homeownership, they would be crafting bold policies that aim to double the state’s stock of manufactured homes, surpassing the inventory of less-populated states.  Even modest progress could have a measurable impact on homeownership and homelessness.

To achieve this goal, a plan is needed. For starters, local agencies could waive costly and onerous development fees that make otherwise affordable homes too expensive for first-time homebuyers or seniors on fixed incomes.

This is not an extraordinary concept. Local agencies have been waiving development fees for years and, given that these homes are factory built and quickly installed on a prepared site, permitting and inspection costs should be modest in comparison to traditional homes. But, they are not and this is one of the many reasons why the era of new park expansion is over.

Should California’s political leaders choose to act boldly, the manufactured housing industry is ready to invest in California’s future. But we can’t do so until state and local agencies signal that they are serious about growing the state’s stock of manufactured homes.

This turnaround begins with political will and a plan. Let’s hope someone is listening.

Source: mercurynews

Urban Land Institute Touts Open Green Space in Cities

 Public green space is the key to encouraging active lifestyles, social interaction and economic prosperity, according to Ed McMahon, a senior fellow for sustainable development with the Urban Land Institute.

“Every community in America needs a long-range green space plan or conservation plan … just like you need a transportation plan,” said McMahon, who’s also a senior staff adviser for ULI’s Building Healthy Places Initiative. “If you can decide not only where you want to develop but where you don’t want to develop, that helps everybody.”

The ULI is a nonprofit think tank that researches land use, and has offices around the world, including Washington, D.C.

McMahon spoke to a group of Treasure Valley-wide leaders in Caldwell on Wednesday about the economic value of open space and why cities should be investing in it. Caldwell’s Indian Creek Plaza, as well as the city’s longtime effort to uncover the Indian Creek that winds through downtown, are examples of downtown redevelopment focused on creating spaces that invite communities to get outside, according to a ULI case study on the plaza.

Proximity to green space entices developers and increases property values, according to McMahon.

According to the case study, the Indian Creek has spurred at least $25 million in new construction in Caldwell’s downtown core. In summer 2018, there were 11 buildings under construction and numerous businesses moving back to downtown Caldwell.

“Open space is good for communities,” McMahon said. “It reduces the cost of public services, increases the value of real estate, generates jobs, attracts tourists, causes economic development, contributes to better public health.”

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Green open space is becoming increasingly popular across the nation, according to McMahon. He pointed to cities in states such as Texas and Illinois that are doing it right.

Souce: idahopress

Gentrification, Affordable Housing Focus of Meeting in Raleigh

John Redfern said he gets two to three letters a week from investors asking to buy his property.

He owns a house on Battery Drive, less than two miles east of downtown Raleigh.

“I haven’t found a sufficient amount of money that they can offer me, since this is my family home, for me to sell,” Redfern said. “So my reaction, as long as I live, would be no.”

The 80-year-old moved into the home as a child in 1938 when he said only African-Americans lived in the neighborhood.

“There were not many houses here in this neighborhood,” Redfern said. “It was a dirt road.”

So much has changed since then. Right down the street, there are renovated houses and others getting redone. The prices are skyrocketing. And some residents in historically black neighborhoods are getting pushed out.

“There probably are not many black residents left on this street because of the price,” Redfern said.

Gentrification is the focus of a meeting hosted by the City of Raleigh on Thursday.

Kristen Jeffers, of “The Black Urbanist” multimedia platform, is one of the speakers.

“We have people who really want to live in the center city and in that case, there are a lot of older neighborhoods that were deemed undesirable, neighborhoods — historically black neighborhoods, a lot of them that tend to be less expensive,” Jeffers said. “They were valued less, so now you have a lot of people who want central city property asking for those properties.”

Jeffers said it is important that Raleigh is ready for this shift.

“Making sure we’re active about affordable housing, active about proper transit, working with community members to sort of merge old and new and not bring in the new at the expense of the old,” Jeffers said.

Raleigh has committed to building 5,700 affordable housing units in southeast Raleigh during the next 10 years.


A city spokeswoman said the numbers reached 1,814 for this commitment, as of May. The work started in 2016.

Redfern moved out of the house.

But he won’t sell, using it as the office for his photography business.

For Redfern, the home represents the progress of his family, who sacrificed so much to own a plot of land.

“It represents Black America to me,” Redfern said. “It represents a time when I was young.”

Source: abc11

PwC reveals Nigeria’s Real Estate is Holding about $900 Billion to Ransom.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy —with its gross domestic product (GDP) of $530 billion, growth expectations hinged at 2.3% in 2019, and a long-term average growth rate of 3.5% —still holds between $300 billion to $900 billion worth of dead capital in residential real estate and agricultural land alone.

According to a report recently released by PricewaterhouseCoopers limited, the high-value real estate market segment holds-in value between $230 billion—$750 billion, while the middle market segment holds in value between $60 billion—$170 billion.

Experts have long emphasised on the need to explore the untapped potentials in a bid to grow the economy. This is especially in respect to the volatile crude oil prices in the world oil market which has posed a challenge.

What is Dead Capital? “Dead capital“, according to the Peruvian economist and development scholar Hernando de Soto who coined the concept in 2001, are “assets that cannot be converted to economic capital”.

 

According to the economist, capital, which is the resource used to increase productivity for wealth generation in an economy, is the most essential component of societal advancement and thus, deserves the utmost priority when developing solutions for advancing countries.

Analysis from the report: The residential and agricultural real estate sector, according to the report estimates by PwC, is one of the major forms of dead capital. With over 40 million households in a total country population of 200 million, The report reveals that a typical Nigerian house is over capacity with an occupancy rate of seven persons in a room.

Furthermore, the report revealed that approximately 95% of Nigerian household dwellings have no title or a contestable title.

Despite various developmental plans, Nigeria continues to wrestle with rising poverty and unemployment levels, coupled with the epileptic manufacturing and industrial base. This is despite the fact that economic development could have been made possible by harnessing capital from areas that are often overlooked by people.

 

Why dead capital? Some of the factors responsible for the dead capital in Nigeria’s residential and agricultural real estate segments include, but not limited to the following:

  • The lack of credit access by small businesses and the prevalence of dead assets.
  • The state of Nigeria’s housing and property markets.
  • The high cost of land.
  • The high cost of securing and registering a secure land title.
  • More so, the land tenure system which is still being practiced in the communal and informal sector has made it quite a stressful process for anyone to own and register a land legally.

What can Nigeria do to bring dead capital life? According to the report, Nigeria is underperforming and one of the ways to end the underperformance is to unlock dead capital. This could be done through the following ways:

  • Structural Reforms: The conversion of dead capital to live capital through structural reforms would help in the conversion of most of the capital in the informal economy (which is currently valued at 65% of GDP) into the formal economy.
  • The development of electronic asset registries which are backed by blockchain technology could position the residential and agricultural real estate in Nigeria, therefore, unlocking the dead capital needed for the nation’s growth and development.
  • Systemised Trust Creation: The creation of trust in the system and increased participation in the segment will bring about capital conversion in this economic class through fiscal receipts into the formal economy.

In order to circumvent the above challenges, the country needs to invest in establishing proper and seamless land administration, as well as implement policies that will improve land accessibility. This, as industry sources believe, would also increase capital for infrastructure in the sector whilst stimulating economic activity.

Source: nairametrics

Cities Should Think About Trees As Public Health Infrastructure

Think of a tree-lined street in the midst of a busy city. It feels like something of a treasure: hushed, cool, and sheltered from noise and sidewalk glare.

These leafy streets cannot afford to be seen as a luxury, argues a new report from The Nature Conservancy. Trees are sustainability power tools: They clean and cool the air, regulate temperatures, counteract the urban “heat island” effect, and support water quality and manage flow. Yes, they look pretty, but they also deliver measurable mental and physical health benefits to concrete-fatigued city dwellers.

So with evidence to back up all the benefits of urban greenery, TNC set out to answer, in this report, the question of how cities can develop innovative financial structures and policies to plant more trees.

Urban trees remove enough particulate matter from the air to create up to $60 million worth of reductions in healthcare needs.

It’s a particularly pressing question now, because despite overwhelming evidence testifying to the environmental and health benefits of urban trees, their presence is declining in cities across the U.S. Around 4 million urban trees die or disappear each year, and replanting efforts have failed to keep pace, even though a 2016 study on California from the U.S. Forest Service found that every $1 spent on planting trees delivers about $5.82 in public benefits.Because urban trees are often slotted into the “luxury” or “nice to have” category in city budgeting decisions–certainly less prioritized than public safety and infrastructure maintenance–funding is often inadequate, and fails to treat trees as a long-term investment, and certainly not one that can deliver health benefits.

The standard rate of investment in trees is around one-third of a percent of a city’s budget, says Rob McDonald, TNC cities scientist and lead author on the report. “It’s not enough to just talk about why trees are important for health,” McDonald says. “We have to start talking about the systemic reasons why it’s so difficult for these sectors to interact–how the urban forestry sector can start talking to the health sector, and how we can create financial linkages between the two.”

TNC estimates that coming up with the capital necessary to maintain our current urban canopy, and expand it to the point where it creates consistent health benefits, would require an annual investment, on average, of $8 per person–a sum that would just about double current municipal tree-planting budgets. That figure is hypothetical and meant to suggest not that funding for trees should actually come from U.S. residents, but that the project is well within the scope of affordability.

What if, McDonald asks, that funding could come from the health sector? A 2013 study found that urban trees remove enough particulate matter from the air to create up to $60 million worth of reductions in healthcare needs at the city level.

If public health spending in cities increased by just 0.1% or $10 per person, that would create enough public investment to finance the maintenance and expansion of urban forests and deliver the resulting health benefits. Again, this is just a rough model, but the case for treating trees as infrastructure that supports public health, and eventually could reduce the need for spending in that sector, is strong.

“We have to start talking about the systemic reasons why it’s so difficult for these sectors to interact–how the urban forestry sector can start talking to the health sector, and how we can create financial linkages between the two.”

There’s a wrinkle in this idea, McDonald says, and it derives from the fact that while cities are the agencies that pay for trees, they do not necessarily oversee health spending. That often falls to the state, or large local insurers.

“But one big goal of this report is to get a variety of health agencies to see that they should be participating in the urban greening conversation,” McDonald says. In fact, the Affordable Care Act has created a $16 billion prevention fund to be funneled into communities working on widespread health-supportive initiatives; urban trees, McDonald says, could fall under that purview.

And Kaiser Permanente, a large insurer in Northern California, announced last year a $2 million investment in public parks in low-income communities in the Bay Area.Diversifying funding sources for urban greenery–and casting trees as a health investment–could also begin to close the socioeconomic gap in access to parks and green space, too.

A 2013 UC Berkeley study found that compared to white people, black people were 52% more likely to live in sparsely shaded, and consequently, much hotter, parts of the city, and have less access to green spaces.

While initiatives like New York City’s Million Trees NYC have made a concerted effort to create more equity when it comes to green space in the city, often, trees are added to neighborhoods only at the behest of community groups. Those with more financial resources, McDonald says, are often more likely to make and be granted those requests.

Creating greener cities cannot be the responsibility of the health sector alone; McDonald says it will be crucial for urban forestry departments to more fully integrate the health benefits of their trees into messaging and goals in order to break down city agency silos and communicate more effectively with urban health and planning departments. And of course, as more and more cities develop strategies to create resilience against climate change, a healthy urban canopy will be a hugely necessary component.

Source: fastcompany

Edo Issues Final Warning to Owners of Illegal Structures

The Edo State Government has given a final warning to owners of properties and illegal structures that flout the state’s extant town planning laws, in a renewed bid to rid the state of illegal structures along the right of way of roads/streets, river banks and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) high tension lines, among others.

In a statement, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Erimona Oye Edorodion, said the state government has commenced the demolition of illegal structures after the expiration of warnings issued to the developers for seriously contravening extant state town planning laws.

According to him, “It is hereby announced for the information of the general public, especially illegal developers that the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development has commenced the demolition of illegal structures following the expiration of the notices earlier served on them for seriously contravening the State extant Town Planning Laws.”

He said, “For the avoidance of doubt, the illegal structures include roof eave-extensions, structures erected on the right of way of roads/Streets, Moats, River Banks, TCN High Tension Lines, all attachments on wall fence, caravans, kiosks and wooden sheds which are scattered all over Benin City.”

He advised the illegal developers to, in their own interest, demolish or remove their illegal structures and reinstate the land to its original status prior to their illegal development.

“Let me use this medium to advise the general public, especially illegal developers that if they fail to comply with the above directives, this Ministry shall enforce the provisions of the extant Town Planning Laws of State against them, recover the cost of such action from them in a Law Court of competent jurisdiction and prosecute them accordingly,” he added.

Source: thenationonlineng

Adamawa Governor Withdraws School Lands Allocated to Individuals

Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa has revoked all school lands allocated to individuals in the state.

The Director-General, Media and Communications to the governor, Mr Solomon Kumangar, made this known on Friday while briefing newsmen in Yola.

Kumangar said that many people have encroached and build on primary and secondary school lands across the state, particularly in Yola, Mubi and Michika local government areas.

Kumangar said the administration, which was committed to the revamping of education in the state, has directed the payment of matching grant to UBEC to access N8.2 billion basic education stimulus.

“As a prequel to declaring free and compulsory education to shore up enrollment and halt the high level of drop-outs, the government has set as a target, the rehabilitation of 5,000 schools in the next six months.

“Gov. Fintiri has not only ensured free feeding for nine junior and senior secondary schools within the state capital but the programme will be expanded to cover 58 boarding secondary schools beginning from September.”

In area of agriculture, Kumangar said Gov. Fintiri has approved the establishment of stock shops in all the 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) where farmers could access farm inputs easily.

In area of security, Kumangar said that the state government supported the recent arrest of 68 kidnappers and 252 gang members known as “Shila Boys” terrorizing residents of Yola.

“The government has also initiated dialogue between farmers and herders aimed at ending the incessant disturbances, especially in southern part of the state.

“In addition, a law to impose harsh punishment on all categories of criminals terrorizing the state, is before state assembly, to provide the necessary legal bite for enforcement,” Kumangar said.

While reiterating Gov. Fintiri’s administration commitment to full autonomy of the of local government, Kumangar said the governor had directed Director of Administration in local government to clean-up their wage bills.

He said they have been directed to remove ghost workers and block all leakages affecting development at the third tier.

Source:pmnewsnigeria

Not Enough Homes, and the Wrong Kind

In the midst of a housing shortage, the American household is shrinking, but the share of larger new homes is growing.

Home building has barely kept pace with the number of new households — a household “consists of all the people who occupy a housing unit,” according to the U.S. Census — in the United States over the last eight years, and much of what is being built is aimed at the higher end of the market, according to a report released this week by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Housing construction bottomed out in 2011, with just 633,000 new units built in the U.S. It has improved since then, with 1.2 million new units built in 2018, but to find a year before the recession when fewer than 1.2 million homes were produced, you would have to look all the way back to 1982.

Aside from the general lag in construction, the report stressed that smaller, affordable new housing has been in especially short supply, as rising costs and regulatory restrictions have made building it less profitable.

A recent study by the Urban Land Institute, a research-driven think tank, reached similar conclusions, showing that creation of new “attainable housing” has dried up in recent decades, replaced by the construction of larger, more expensive homes. (The organization defines “attainable housing” as unsubsidized, for-sale housing affordable to households with incomes that fall between 80 and 120 percent of the median income in a given area.)

The gap between what is being built and what is needed is particularly evident if you compare the size of households in the country and the bedroom counts in new construction. While households with fewer members have been on the rise over the last 30 years — between 1987 and 2017, one-person households quintupled and two-person households tripled — the share of new one- and two-bedroom homes has been cut nearly in half.

Source: nytimes

These are the 7 most luxurious properties in Australia and Asia on Airbnb Luxe

Airbnb unveiled its new luxury arm, Airbnb Luxe, on Wednesday, which offers guests a stay at more than 2,000 swanky properties around the world. The properties have to pass strict evaluation processes over their design and function, with criteria including chef grade appliances, the use of high end furnishings and having spaces that can accommodate groups.

Airbnb Luxe offers eye-watering chateaux, villas, penthouses, estates and properties in metropolitan areas from South Africa to France to New Zealand. It comes after the company launched Aibnb Adventures which offers 200 “bucket list worthy” travel experiences hosted by “local experts”.

On the list are 50 Australian properties throughout Sydney, Byron Bay and Queensland. Airbnb also told Business Insider Australia in an email that properties in Melbourne will be online from September.

Here are some of the properties that made the cut:

Wallis St, North Bondi, Sydney – $3,150 per night

This property is only an eight minute walk from the beach and has stunning ocean views. It has four bedrooms, a heated pool and floating stairs.

 

Bondi Beach Penthouse, Sydney – $3,988 per night

Anything with the title ‘penthouse’ is bound to be a treat, and this property is no exception. It has a terrace that provides panorama views of the ocean that’ll have feeling like you’re right above the water itself. And did we mention a 24/7 concierge service?

Eagle Retreat, Casuarina – $893 per night

This property has a more homey feel to it, with wide open spaces and giant glass windows to let in plenty of sunshine.

Sky Loft, Darlinghurst, Sydney – $1,200 per night

This property offers quintessential views of Sydney’s skyline – hello Harbour Bridge! – and is in an ideal spot if you want to head into the city for some shopping.

 

Te Kahu, New Zealand – $3,727.63 per night

This stunning property overlooks Lake Wanaka. It features wooden ceilings, heated floors and a private courtyard.

 

Nukutepipi, French Polynesia – $209,394.30 per night

This stunning location is on a private island and comes with several different staff members to cater to you needs – a chef, doctor and massage therapist among them.

 

Villa Belong Dua, Bali – $587.48 per night

This secluded villa is all about relaxation – laze by the pool, play chess in the media lounge or simply enjoy the ambience.

 

Source: businessinsider

Kenya Government to Launch Some Housing Units Next Month-PS Hinga

The Kenya Government is set to launch affordable housing units in Starehe Constituency earlier next month. This has been revealed by Charles Hinga, the Principal Secretary of State Department for Housing and Urban Development.

“As the government, we are launching the affordable housing project in Starehe Constituency in July. This is the Park road project. The construction started in April and by September we intend to have it completed,” he said.

The PS said that in Starehe constituency, the government targets building 2000 housing units.

He said that the project will offer employment opportunities to the youth especially in the Jua Kali sector, who have been contracted to supply over 180,000 metal doors at a cost of 5 billion.He was speaking in Nairobi while launching a two-day summit dubbed “Affordable Housing Investment Summit.”Hinga emphasized the government’s commitment to achieving its agenda by 2022.

“Our target to offer 500,000 houses by 2022 is on track. The country’s housing deficit stands at 4.5 million. We have an ambitious plan to do 50 thousand houses in a year,” Hinga said.Recently, Africa has seen tremendous potential in terms of being a real estate hot spot with 40.6% of foreign investment directed towards the construction and hospitality sectors.

The two-day summit sought to initiate a meaningful dialogue around affordable housing through the dissemination of information with latest trends in the affordable housing sector, opportunities and assisting major stakeholders and developers in addressing administrative and financial challenges.

The government lauded the park road housing project terming it the pacesetter to other projects that it will launch soon.According to Andrew Chimphondah, CEO of Shelter Afrique, who spoke at the event, high urbanization rates is one of the key problems facing housing in  Africa. Governments also lack policies to analyze developers and manage them.

He noted that that housing affordability problem is largely attributed to the land rate across the continent.

Chimphondah added that most financial lenders within the continent have a mortgage payment period of 2-5 years which cannot be afforded by the poor.“The land rate in most countries within the continent constitutes 40 per cent of the total house cost hence the price is out of reach for many within the continent,” he said

.He revealed that Shelter Afrique is teaming up with financial service providers across the continent to create sustainable housing financial trust where the repayment rate will be between 10-30 years.

This he said will be able to accommodate the poor. He said that the partnership is already piloting the program in Nigeria and Tanzania. This he said will help bring the cost of a three-bedroom house from Sh10 million to Sh1.5 million per unit.

Source: standardmedia

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