For the past two years, 96 percent of all financing for housing in the United States has been provided by the federal government. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) have become the mainstays of financing for both homeownership and rental housing. Since the federal government’s takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the private mortgage market has become little more than a memory.
U.S. architects are experimenting with designing net-zero-energy buildings—those that produce as much energy as they consume. Developers around the world are building modular housing to speed construction, reduce on-site labor expenses, and lower development costs. Now, an off-site systems building manufacturer has developed the first modular net-zero-energy townhouses as a demonstration project in Oakland, California.
One of the primary challenges facing U.S. urban and suburban governments is the growing need for high-quality affordable housing. Manufactured-home land-lease communities have played a tremendous role in housing Americans and remain the housing choice of many people, whether because of their affordability or the lifestyle they offer. Over 9 million households with 18 million people live in manufactured homes, and 45 percent of manufactured-home buyers earn less than 80 percent of the area median income. In 2009, manufactured housing accounted for 43 percent of all new homes sold for under $150,000 and 23 percent of all those sold for under $200,000. Since 1989, manufactured housing has accounted for 21 percent of all new family homes sold.
Climate change is the leading environmental issue of our time, one that likely will be around for decades to come. Increasingly, the urban development and real estate industries will be directly affected by the climate problem—and play a key role in achieving solutions.
Much has been written about the importance of green building design and operations in reducing or mitigating the emissions that cause climate change. However, measures are also needed to reduce the physical risks of climate change to buildings and infrastructure so that the built environment will be more resilient—or able to adapt—to anticipated impacts.
Hotel fundamentals are improving as panic and capitulation give way to a slow-growth environment. Yet, the global response to the economic crisis threatens to yield to sovereign risk in Greece and Spain and undermine a gradual, nascent recovery. These were the major messages at the Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro conference Meet the Money: Unlocking the Game Changers for the Coming Recovery, held in early May in Los Angeles.
As the economy finally—perhaps—emerges from the prolonged recession, it is difficult to imagine a future in which the United States continues to lead the world— technologically, innovatively, and economically. This becomes particularly more difficult in the face of the barrage of reports about China and India materializing as the next world powers.
The question is whether cities that once embraced policies favoring sprawl over density can buy into a new vision calling for a more sustainable, livable, and socially fair way of life. The shift required may be dramatic, but it is not impossible.
Today’s land-lease communities are nothing like the mobile home parks of the past. Given the unique characteristics and capabilities of the business model, these communities continue to enjoy a near-universal sellers’ market, even in the current recession. In today’s market, no other investment realty opportunity offers as many self-help measures by which one can increase cash flow and value.
Has the federal role in neighborhood revitalization shifted in the face of the current urban landscape of older, distressed cities? The recent $6 billion federal stimulus program, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (two rounds of funding termed NSP1 and NSP2), is intended to stabilize neighborhoods through the purchase of foreclosed or abandoned residential properties— properties that will be demolished, rehabilitated, and/or redeveloped for sale or rent to low- and middleincome households.
Trends are neither destiny nor gospel. They are guideposts identified from the collective experience of many professionals within an industry. In the resort, recreation, and tourism industry, numerous trends identified through experience and expectations are emerging to influence how and where people will buy and use resort real estate. Society is changing fast, and the economic conditions of the past two years have created much uncertainly. But what is discernible is that current trends are focused on valuedriven buyers, downsized purchases for personal use, and scalability.