Piece by Piece, a Factory-Made Answer for a Housing Squeeze – The New York Times

 The future is coming and it’s modular:

The United States needs new housing, but its building industry isn’t big enough to provide it. The number of residential construction workers is 23 percent lower than in 2006, while higher-skill trades like plumbers, carpenters and electricians are down close to 17 percent. With demand for housing high and the supply of workers short, builders are bidding up prices for the limited number of contractors. Advertisement Construction prices nationwide have risen about 5 percent a year for the past three years……

 

 

The global construction industry is a $10 trillion behemoth whose structures determine where people live, how they get to work and what cities look like. It is also one of the world’s least efficient businesses. The construction productivity rate — how much building workers do for each hour of labor they put in — has been flat since 1945, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. Over that period, sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and retail saw their productivity rates surge by as much as 1,500 percent. In other words, while the rest of the economy has been supercharged by machines, computers and robots, construction companies are about as efficient as they were in World War II.

Source: Piece by Piece, a Factory-Made Answer for a Housing Squeeze – The New York Times

Retrofitting suburbia: Old shopping malls can be saved by their parking lots – Business – CBC News

 

In what some call “retrofitting suburbia,” fading food and department stores are reinventing their huge urban properties by filling them up with residential, office and retail space.And with Sears Canada closing dozens of department stores, new opportunities in these “mixed-use” developments now abound.”Just about every shopping centre — if they’re smart — is looking at this,” said Brent Toderian, an international consultant on urbanism and city planning based in Vancouver.Brent Toderian”Just about every shopping centre — if they’re smart — is looking at this,” said Brent Toderian, an international consultant on urbanism and city planning based in Vancouver. (CBC)”The recognition is that you can bring more customers, you can get more value out of the land and, particularly when you’re around transit, you can provide a lot more transit ridership rather than car dependency.”Such revelations aren’t new in the United States but the idea has caught fire more recently in Canada.

Source: Retrofitting suburbia: Old shopping malls can be saved by their parking lots – Business – CBC News

7 ZIPs That Exemplify Suburban Comeback | Realtor Magazine

For the first time in a decade, the number of Americans living in suburbs grew faster than that of urban dwellers in 2017, buoyed by young homeowners who are planting roots outside cities, according to the Brookings Institute, a think tank based in Washington, D.C.“

You’re seeing more millennials moving to the suburbs, especially as they have kids,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com®. “People are definitely looking for affordability, better schools, less crime. … More outer suburbs have really put in an effort to develop walkable town centers and other places for people to gather to enjoy similar benefits they’d find in urban centers.”

Realtor.com®’s research team analyzed the ZIP codes outside the nation’s largest cities to find the best suburb for each major metro for families. They factored in housing affordability (defined as less than $400,000 to buy a home for most metros); percentage of children residing in each ZIP code; availability of child care; school rankings; number per capita of restaurants, bars, and museums; crime rates; and reasonable commuting time (considered 70 minutes or less).

Source: 7 ZIPs That Exemplify Suburban Comeback | Realtor Magazine

This Kansas City neighborhood wrote the blueprint for transforming a community | Grist

Today, the drug-running and dumping are contained, new residents are moving in, and the enclave is considered an example, both regionally and nationally, of how a community can organize itself and choose the future its residents want. Blocks of houses, some old, some renovated, some looking brand new radiate out from the renovated former fire station and boxing gym that’s the headquarters for the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, which drives the revitalization efforts. Next door is a small park with a playgrou

Source: This Kansas City neighborhood wrote the blueprint for transforming a community | Grist

Fear Spreads of a Housing Crash in Canada | Alternative Economics

The reading marks a change from almost unbridled consumer optimism in a housing market that has carried the Canadian economy since the 2008 global financial crisis, even as policy makers warn price gains in some cities are unsustainable.

Source: Fear Spreads of a Housing Crash in Canada | Alternative Economics

The Global Real Estate Bubble Is OFFICIALLY Bursting | Seeking Alpha

Bubbly cities like Singapore and Vancouver have started punishing foreign housing investors that have pushed up property prices to unaffordable – and unsustainable – rates. Foreign investors are now being taxed in many of these areas, and as a result, their real estate markets have begun to tank.During this housing burst, the most high-end, desirable locations will be hit the hardest.

Source: The Global Real Estate Bubble Is OFFICIALY Bursting | Seeking Alpha (sic)

The “New Housing Crisis” – Not Enough Rental Homes? | Zero Hedge

The point here is that while the housing market has recovered – the media should be asking ‘Is that all the recovery there is?’

With 30-year mortgage rates below 4%, we should be in the middle of the next housing bubble with prices and home ownership rising. The question the media should be asking is “why?” Furthermore, what happens if the “bond market bears” get their wish and rates rise?

The housing recovery is ultimately a story of the “real” unemployment situation that still shows that roughly a quarter of the home buying cohort are unemployed and living at home with their parents. The remaining members of the home buying, household formation, contingent are employed but at lower ends of the pay scale and are choosing to rent due to budgetary considerations. This explains why household formation is near its lowest levels on record despite the “housing recovery” fairytale whispered softly in the media.

Housing-NetHouseholdFormation-072516

While the “official” unemployment rate suggests that the U.S. is near full employment, the roughly 94 million individuals sitting outside the labor force would likely disagree. Furthermore, considering that those individuals make up 45% of the 16-54 aged members of the workforce, it is no wonder that they are being pushed to rent due to budgetary considerations and an inability to qualify for a mortgage.

The risk to the housing recovery story remains in the Fed’s ability to continue to keep interest rates suppressed. It is important to remember that individuals “buy payments” rather than houses, so each tick higher in mortgage rates reduces someone’s ability to meet the monthly mortgage payment. With wages remaining suppressed, and a large number of individuals not working or on Federal subsidies, the pool of potential buyers remains contained.

The real crisis is NOT a lack of homes for people to buy, just a lack of enough homes for people to rent. Which says more about the “real economy” than just about anything else.

While there are many hopes pinned on the housing recovery as a “driver” of economic growth in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 – the lack of recovery in the home ownership data suggests otherwise.

Source: The “New Housing Crisis” – Not Enough Rental Homes? | Zero Hedge

A Small City with a Big Vision: Chattanooga’s New Form-Based Code – Form-Based Codes Institute : Form-Based Codes Institute

Chattanooga’s form-based code is part of an innovative vision for the city’s economic, environmental and cultural future. Following a recent visit to Chattanooga, Bruce Katz wrote in a Brookings Institute blog, “Something special is happening in Chattanooga.” As Katz points out, too often venture capitalists “pay too little attention to small and mid-sized cities with …

 

Chat. 2

 

Source: A Small City with a Big Vision: Chattanooga’s New Form-Based Code – Form-Based Codes Institute : Form-Based Codes Institute

Leaving Homeless Person On The Streets: $31,065. Giving Them Housing: $10,051. | ThinkProgress

There is a far cheaper option though: giving homeless people housing and supportive services. The study found that it would cost taxpayers just $10,051 per homeless person to give them a permanent place to live and services like job training and health care. That figure is 68 percent less than the public currently spends by allowing homeless people to remain on the streets. If central Florida took the permanent supportive housing approach, it could save $350 million over the next decade.

via Leaving Homeless Person On The Streets: $31,065. Giving Them Housing: $10,051. | ThinkProgress.