Saturday, March 12, 2011

Industry attorney: Public policy on local govenment privatization contradictory

Given the list of benefits homeowners associations provide to local governments, it is easy to question why government is so rarely a friend to homeowners associations. Healthy homeowners associations feed tax coffers and ease budget strain for cities and counties, yet cities (and especially the state) often act as though they believe homeowners associations are an untoward restriction on individual freedom. The inherent contradiction in the local governments’ requirement that homeowners associations exist versus the state’s increasingly strict regulation of homeowners associations is the source of many difficulties the industry faces. Realizing this contradiction exists and informing our legislators of the contradiction are two important steps towards eliminating it.

If the government wants homeowners associations, it should allow them to function pursuant to their CC&Rs with minimal governmental intervention. If the government believes homeowners associations threaten individual liberty, it should not require their existence and let the market dictate their fate.


So asserts Mark Holmgren of the law firm of Carpenter Hazelwood in a post this week on the firm's blog. Holmgren's commentary is notable in that it shows at least some degree of acceptance within community association industry circles that privatization of local government is public policy and not simply a market-driven "lifestyle" or "housing" choice.

About a decade and a half ago, an Arizona industry spokeswoman with an outfit that goes by the acronym CAI castigated the owner of this blog as a "tabloid journalist "for suggesting as much in his 1994 book Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Barney Frank wants the big banks we bailed out to pay for mortgage assistance programs

House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Friday that he would reintroduce legislative language next week that would require large financial institutions to pay for federal mortgage assistance programs.
Good for him. These are some of the institutions that wrecked the economy by abusing the government-sponsored mortgage securitization process. Then we, the taxpayers, bailed out the financial industry. Then the banks we bailed out put the money in their pockets and have consistently refused to lend and get the economy going. So, how about at least paying for the mortgage relief programs?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Property tax revenues finally begin to decilne

National property tax revenues rose through Q3 2010, according to the Rockefeller Institute. Nevada, epicenter for housing's boom and bust, enjoyed higher property tax revenues well into last year, according to the Fed study.

But property tax receipts have begun to roll over and will likely keep falling until well after real estate prices recover, which may still be a ways off.

Most properties haven't been reassessed yet at their dramatically lower values. Now that is beginning to happen. See the quote from my colleague Mike Pagano--it will hit harder in 2 or 3 years, at which time cities and counties will have to make some hard choices about what to pay for and "who subsidizes whom."

"Save My Mortgage Interest Deduction"

Just received this from Ruth Potter, with whom I am not acquainted, who asked me to post it. Ms. Potter doesn't say so in her email, but from what I can see at the linked sites, this initiative emanates from the National Association of Home Builders. So--here it is:

Congress and the Administration are looking into scaling back or eliminating the Mortgage Interest Deduction. The consequences would be devastating to the recovering housing market and the tens of millions of home owners who benefit from the deduction.

The House recently introduced a resolution to retain the mortgage interest deduction and I hope that you'll help spread awareness about it on The Privatopia Papers. We created to support this initiative and I've also created a useful site for bloggers and journalists to borrow resources from:

Please let me know if you have any questions or need more information. If you are able to post about this, I'd love to get the link and share it with my team.

Thank you,


Ruth Potter