Friday, December 08, 2017

What Happened to the American Boomtown? - The New York Times

What Happened to the American Boomtown? - The New York Times: "Interstate mobility nationwide has slowed over the last 30 years. But, more specifically and of greater concern, migration has stalled in the very places with the most opportunity...The places that are booming in size aren’t the economic boomtowns — the regions with the greatest prosperity and highest productivity. In theory, we’d expect those metros, like the Bay Area, Boston and New York, to be rapidly expanding, as people move from regions with high unemployment and meager wages to those with high salaries and strong job markets. That we’re not seeing such a pattern suggests that something is fundamentally amiss. The magnets aren’t working. "
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The article contends that the culprit is the cost and availability of housing in the places with the most opportunity. And that happens because the people who live in those places oppose new housing construction. San Francisco would have a much greater population if those who already live there weren't able to block residential real estate development--so the argument goes.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Special report: Can we build our way out of the housing crisis? - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Special report: Can we build our way out of the housing crisis? - The San Diego Union-Tribune: "San Diego County should be awash in new housing projects.

Unemployment is low and wages are rising. Many millennials are marrying, having children and aiming to buy. Their parents want to downsize.

But the market is not responding.

Last year only about 10,000 housing units were approved, and most were for rent, not for-sale homes and condos."

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The article suggests that anti-growth sentiments and lack of land zoned residential are the main problems, along with developers being afraid that if they build condos or HOA housing, the association will sue them for construction defects. I'm just spitballing here, but maybe they could try building them without defects, instead of cutting corners and lobbying for the legislature to take away the right of consumers to sue.

Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Vancouver’s “Radical” Housing Plan Makes Waves – Next City

Vancouver’s “Radical” Housing Plan Makes Waves – Next City: "It involves densifying areas that are currently stocked with single-family homes, restricting property ownership by nonpermanent residents and creating zones of rental-only housing."

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Vancouver has a lot of condos as it is, but: "“We’ve had more than enough supply, and yet the housing costs have gone crazy,” the author concluded. (It’s important to make the distinction, however, between housing for sale and housing for rent. Vancouver’s construction boom has been condominium-heavy, and its rental vacancy rate remains among the lowest in the world.)"

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Supervisors to vote on rescinding sale of private street in Presidio Heights - Story | KTVU

Supervisors to vote on rescinding sale of private street in Presidio Heights - Story | KTVU

"The wealthy homeowner's plight has drawn little sympathy in the wider community, with several speakers arguing today that the association was at fault and lambasting the board's support of the wealthy.  Ronen, in particular, argued against rescinding the sale, noting that the homeowner's association had lost the property once before in the 1980s for the same reason. "This case has viscerally impacted San Franciscans because there's no discretion in the law when it comes to poor people, there's no discretion in the law when it comes to people of color," she said, noting that most city residents did not enjoy private access to their streets and sidewalks."

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This was fun while it lasted.


Bay City bar countersues condo owners for harassment | MLive.com

Bay City bar countersues condo owners for harassment | MLive.com

The condo owners sued because of the noise from the bar, so the bar owner sued the owners. This is going well.

Monday, November 27, 2017

South Africa: Gated Communities and Privatised Privilege - allAfrica.com

South Africa: Gated Communities and Privatised Privilege - allAfrica.com

"Attempts to privatise privilege by invoking the law of contract or property law speaks of a pre-constitutional mindset associated with a particularly toxic strand of liberalism. In terms of this view, the wealthy and socially privileged can largely opt out of ordinary legal obligations and the non-discrimination provisions of the Constitution. You can do this (according to a widely held, but false, belief) by buying and/or managing private property according to a set of rules "agreed" to by the property owners and by those who "voluntary" frequent these properties. All you have to do (according to this surprisingly persistent myth) is to invoke what has become an empty platitude ("right of admission is reserved") and - magically! - you have become exempt from any constitutional or other legal obligations."


Brookhaven reverses vote to prohibit gated community - Reporter Newspapers

Brookhaven reverses vote to prohibit gated community - Reporter Newspapers

But they are going to develop a policy on this: "[T] he city will work toward creating a broad policy to consider whether the city should allow future gated communities as it works to create connectivity and promote walkability."

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Malibu church to stop helping the homeless because city tells them it "lures the needy"


The United Methodist Church, one of many churches that provides food and help, has been offering free meals twice a week. But it said it was going to stop after being told the meal servicewas luring too many homeless people.
Dawn Randall, a member of the church, said it recently received an email from city officials. “Very succinctly, they claimed we are increasing homelessness,” she told CBS.
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Malibu is a ritzy beach suburb north of Los Angeles. I guess the city wants the homeless to go back to East Third Street in downtown LA. 

South African gated communities socked for "draconian" practices

https://www.iol.co.za/sunday-tribune/news/gatedestates-a-victory-against-arrogant-draconian-rules-12065349

DURBAN - Property tycoon Niemesh Singh is prepared to fight the Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate in the highest court should they appeal against a landmark high court judgment against gated estates.

On Friday, Singh successfully contested the “draconian rules”, including restrictions placed on the movement of domestic workers at the swish estate, in court this week. He said he was prepared for the “journey against arrogance”.

Residents were fined when their domestic workers were found walking on the pristine pathways, or when motorists failed to adhere to the 40km/h speed limit when driving on the estate’s roads.
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Malaysian criminals operating from gated communities

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/free-from-cops-criminals-now-running-business-from-gated-communities#FCDsJeOyw5lm9J73.97

JOHOR BARU, Nov 25 ― Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed revealed today that criminals are now operating from the safety of gated and guarded residential areas.
The deputy home minister said there have been cases of telephone scams, online gambling, human trafficking and also drug labs there since the police cannot go after them inside.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

CondoGate: Is there a Scandal in your Community Association? - Realty Times

CondoGate: Is there a Scandal in your Community Association? - Realty Times

Attorney Benny Kass weighs in on a matter that people ask me about frequently.

Condos out, apartments in | Articles | News | OakPark.com

Condos out, apartments in | Articles | News | OakPark.com

"It was a golden age for condo conversions in the Chicago area in the 1980s and 90s, but the financial crash of 2008, changing demographics and a hot market for rental units has sent the pendulum swinging in the other direction. The real estate trend is now toward condo deconversions or bulk sales – where condo buildings are being converted back into rentals – also is taking place in Oak Park."

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And in addition to a stronger market for rentals, the trend toward deconversion is driven by the failure of condo associations:  "The challenge we see now on the condo side are non-functioning condo associations," he said, adding that they often "don't have the money to pay for the work that's needed." Hess said CIC is in the early stages of determining whether to establish a fund to lend to these troubled condo associations."
Another interviewee, an attorney, pointed out other problems:  "Planek said tenants are steering away from condos in favor of rentals for a number of reasons: high taxes and assessments; increased desire for mobility; and lack of interest in being involved in condo associations."