August 27, 2015

Virginia Housing Search Celebrates Six Years of Serving Virginians

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We want to share our excitement that VHDA’s VirginiaHousingSearch.com, an online rental housing locator service, celebrated its six-year anniversary this summer. Launched in 2009, the site passed a milestone of more than 100,000 registered units in 2014, and in 2015, added a specialized Veterans option that helps landlords promote themselves as housing providers for veterans.

Since its inception, Virginia Housing Search has added useful resources and links for landlords and renters. Visitors to the site will find checklists and affordability and cost calculators, as well as links to federal, state and private organizations that govern rental housing and support people with disabilities and their families. VHDA’s free How to be a Successful Renter eBook is also available through the website.

VirginiaHousingSearch.com is provided at no cost to consumers looking for rental housing as well as landlords who want to list a property. VHDA sponsors this service as a way to provide an easily accessible and comprehensive online listing of available rental properties across Virginia.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

August 26, 2015

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.


Local Government and Philanthropy: What Planners Can Learn from Norfolk

(RECAP: George Homewood, the Norfolk director of planning and APA Virginia Chapter president, and Andrew Salkin, the 100 Resilient Cities chief operating officer, to discuss what being named one of Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities means for the City of Norfolk.)

Coldwell Banker Real Estate and CNET Survey Finds Americans Ready for the Smart Home 

(RECAP: Americans are already embracing the smart home with 28 percent owning at least one smart home product and almost half of Millennials (ages 18 to 34) adopting the technology.)

The promising national discussion on ending veteran homelessness

(RECAP: Despite the challenges facing the effort, the promising examples of recent success show that ending veteran homelessness can be done through a mix of collaboration, resources and programs.)

Which Streetscape Features Best Generate Pedestrian Activity?

(RECAP: Significant streetscape features are the number of pieces of street furniture, the proportion of windows on the street and the proportion of active street frontage. What are the implications for planning practice?)

Poll Finds Public Perception Varies On Intellectual Disabilities

(RECAP: In an online survey of over 2,000 people across the country, the vast majority of those surveyed said adults with intellectual disabilities should live independently, but 8 percent indicated that this population ought to be institutionalized.)

Opinions on Housing                                                                      

The views and opinions expressed in Opinions on Housing are solely those of the original authors, and do not necessarily represent those of VHDA, our stakeholders or any/all contributors to this blog.

Creating places of opportunity: HUD’s new data- and community-driven approach

(RECAP: The “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule requires local communities to develop their own solutions to segregation and establish their own goals for improving inclusion. It provides data and tools to assist and expects local governments to engage the community in setting fair housing goals that respond to local and regional needs.)

http://www.urban.org/urban-wire/creating-places-opportunity-huds-new-data-and-community-driven-approach


Disarming the great affordable housing debate

(RECAP: Blaming "the poverty housing industry" hinders the kind of collaboration that will be necessary to build lasting solutions.)

We Need More Housing Choice Vouchers

(RECAP: As Congress works on the 2016 federal budget, we will be urging our leaders in Washington to fully fund the Housing Choice Voucher program and supportive housing by reallocating funds away from ineffective transitional housing projects.)

August 25, 2015

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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Feds Expanding Access to Mortgage Loans

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/housing/251327-feds-expanding-access-to-mortage-loans
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced steps aimed at expanding credit to underserved borrowers while easing risk for approved lenders.  The new supplemental performance metric broadens the measurement for a lender's default performance and is part of an effort to encourage more lending to riskier customers who have been pinched by tight credit conditions.  The change, in the works for more than a year, measures a lender’s default rate within three credit score bands and compares that with an FHA target rate instead of comparing it against the lender's peers in the market.


FHFA Adopts Final Rule on 2015-2017 Housing Goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

http://www.fhfa.gov/Media/PublicAffairs/Pages/FHFA-Adopts-Final-Rule-on-2015-to-2017-Housing-Goals-for-Fannie-Mae-and-Freddie-Mac.aspx
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has adopted a final rule establishing single-family and multifamily housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) for 2015 through 2017. The final rule was adopted after FHFA considered more than 144 comments on a proposed housing goals rule issued in August 2014. The final rule will become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992, as amended by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, requires FHFA to establish annual housing goals for mortgages purchased by the Enterprises.  The final rule sets identical benchmarks for both Enterprises in all categories and establishes goals for the first time, for rental units affordable to low-income families in small (5- to 50-unit) multifamily properties.  “The single-family goals advance the Enterprises’ statutory missions to provide access to credit for creditworthy borrowers and provide liquidity to the U.S. housing market while operating in a safe and sound manner,” said FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt. “The multifamily goals will create rental opportunities for those who need affordable housing. Together, these goals establish a solid foundation for affordable and sustainable homeownership and rental opportunities in this country.”


HUD Releases Rule Clarifying the Requirements for Relocation of  Housing Choice Voucher Participants

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2015/HUDNo_15-111
 The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released the final rule that clarifies the portability regulations and requirements in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and helps improve the processing of portability requests.  Portability refers to a feature of the HCV program that allows an eligible family with a housing choice voucher to use that voucher to lease a unit anywhere in the United States where there is a public housing agency (PHA) operating an HCV program.  The new Portability Rule will help increase administrative efficiencies by eliminating confusing and obscure regulatory language, and balancing the needs of PHA’s while increasing family choice.  HUD originally published the proposed rule in the Federal Register on March 28, 2012.  Following a public comment process, publication of the final portability rule concludes the rulemaking process.  It is expected that the clarity afforded by this final rule will improve the portability process, and that the rule will allow families to more easily search for and lease a rental unit in their desired location.

Arlington to Celebrate Affordable Housing Month 2015

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We’re excited to spread the word about how one of our affordable housing stakeholders is recognizing Affordable Housing Month. Arlington County is kicking off a 30-day celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 2, with a proclamation event and reception featuring Chris Estes, president and CEO of the National Housing Conference. Other celebratory events during Affordable Housing Month include bike and bus tours, forums and an info session on Resident Services and Affordable Housing to be held at Arlington Mills Residences. You can find dates, times and detailed event information here.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Mortgage Credit Certificates from VHDA Now Available

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For many first-time homebuyers, a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) from VHDA could boost the tax benefits of owning a home — potentially saving thousands of dollars at tax time every year — for as long as they live in their home!

In fact, an MCC could be the difference that makes buying and owning a home affordable for many people. Of course, it’s important to understand how MCCs work, including the requirements and limitations. You can read all about VHDA’s MCC program at vhda.com/MCC.

August 21, 2015

REACH Funding: New Guidelines Coming

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Our Rental Housing Division is in the process of changing the guidelines for how we use REACH funding. We would like feedback from our rental housing stakeholders. If you are involved in rental housing, we invite you to read and comment on the proposed policy. The deadline for submitting your comments is Friday, August 28, 2015. Tell Us What You Think.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

August 20, 2015

Applications Are Now Being Accepted for Virginia Main Street 2016 Designation

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We want to get the word out to our partners and stakeholders that Virginia Main Street is now accepting applications for new additions to the Virginia Main Street organization.

A major benefit of becoming part of the National Main Street Center is personalized assistance that can help a designated Virginia Main Street Community advance local revitalization efforts. This assistance includes customized design, access to state and national specialists, training on key downtown issues and ongoing marketing and promotional services.

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) recommends that communities planning to apply first review the Virginia Main Street Program Guidelines, the Virginia Main Street Designation 2016 How-To-Apply Workshop Presentation and the Designation Application.

Applications are due Monday, November 2, but an organization must register before their application can be submitted.

Communities that aren’t ready to apply for designation, but are interested in revitalization, have the option of becoming a DHCD Community Affiliate. Affiliates have the opportunity to attend Virginia Main Street trainings, network with other downtowns and gain access to a variety of resources about successful downtown revitalization strategies.

For detailed information on the Virginia Main Street preservation-based economic and community development program, visit www.dhcd.virginia.gov/MainStreet.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

August 19, 2015

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.


The Greening of Jefferson Avenue, Richmond Virginia 

(RECAP: Greening America’s Capitals helps state capitals develop a vision of environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green infrastructure strategies.)

Rural Housing Service Announces New Round of Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization Funding

(RECAP: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Housing Service (RHS) announced the application schedule for the next round of Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) funds. MPR is a demonstration program designed to preserve and revitalize rural rental housing projects.) 

Virginia Community Economic Network and VT KnowledgeWorks form strategic partnership

(RECAP: The Virginia Community Economic Network (VCEN) and VT KnowledgeWorks have entered into a strategic partnership. Under the new arrangement, VT KnowledgeWorks, a Blacksburg-based business accelerator, will provide staffing and operational support for VCEN, a Richmond-based nonprofit advocate for creating and expanding economic opportunity throughout the state.)

10 Tips for Nonprofit Cybersecurity

(RECAP: With the recent exposure of 21.5 million U.S. federal employees, it is evident hacking is an increasingly pointed threat. But how do nonprofits combat these seemingly unstoppable, undetectable attacks? With education, awareness and a little skepticism, nonprofits can equip themselves with the skills to mitigate cyber threats.)

How Do You Create a Successful Urban Park?

(RECAP: As industry moves out of cities, space is becoming available that can be parkland. The issue, though, is how to make these dead zones truly come alive. Two landscape architects walk us through their approach to creating inviting public spaces.)

Tech Giants Team Up To Boost Accessibility

(RECAP: Some of the biggest names in technology are banding together with a new commitment - dubbed "Teaching Accessibility" - designed to make their products more accessible for people with disabilities.)
http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2015/07/23/tech-team-boost-accessibility/20495/

Opinions on Housing                                                                  

The views and opinions expressed in Opinions on Housing are solely those of the original authors, and do not necessarily represent those of VHDA, our stakeholders or any/all contributors to this blog.

Industry and Advocates: To Truly Help Homeowners, Work Together

(RECAP: While industry professionals and nonprofit advocates in the manufactured housing space haven’t always seen eye to eye, our mutual interest in expanding the market means we can and should work together. We see a number of opportunities to do so.)

What Do the Poor Need? Try Asking Them

(RECAP: To improve poor neighborhoods, the people who live there must have a hand in deciding their own fate. Community development isn’t a quick fix. It’s hard work and it takes time. But what’s happening in Houston, Atlanta and elsewhere shows that it’s worth doing.)

August 18, 2015

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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HOME Coalition Organizes Nationwide Grassroots Effort to Save HOME


https://www.ncsha.org/blog/home-coalition-organizes-nationwide-grassroots-effort-save-home
Over the past few weeks, the HOME Coalition -- led by the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) --- has spread the word about the need to protect and restore funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME).  Responding to the Senate Appropriations Committee proposal to cut the HOME program by 93 percent from its already record low FY 2015 funding level, the HOME Coalition conducted two large-scale efforts to engage stakeholders nationwide: a national sign-on letter to Congressional leadership with more than 1,500 organization signatories and a national webinar with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro with upwards of 900 registered attendees calling in from every state in the nation.


Mortgage delinquencies, foreclosures continue to drop in 2Q15

Economy still supporting mortgage payments

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/34762-mortgage-delinquencies-foreclosures-continue-to-drop-in-2q15
The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.3% of all loans outstanding at the end of the second quarter of 2015, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.  This was the lowest level since the second quarter of 2007.  The delinquency rate decreased 24 basis points from the previous quarter, and 74 basis points from one year ago.  The delinquency rate includes loans that are at least one payment past due but does not include loans in the process of foreclosure.  The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the second quarter was 2.09%, down 13 basis points from the first quarter and 40 basis points lower than the same quarter one year ago.

This was the lowest foreclosure inventory rate since the fourth quarter of 2007.


HUD Launches Resource Locator App

New app and mobile site seen as new era in customer service

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2015/HUDNo_15-106
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today unveiled the HUD Resource Locator – an innovative mobile app and website to further expand and enhance traditional HUD customer service.  The resource locator will offer real-time HUD housing information at the fingertips of people looking to quickly connect with building managers, public housing authority representatives, and property management companies to inquire about housing availability and other housing-related questions.  The HUD resource locator is one of several services provided by HUD’s Enterprise Geographic Information System (eGIS). This tool uses GIS technology to pinpoint where resources are located and allow anyone with a smartphone or tablet to get relevant contact information. For example, the new app can be used during a disaster when families need to find housing, or when social service providers are helping persons experiencing homelessness look for available housing assistance. In an era where people are increasingly using smartphones to find information, the HUD resource locator app and mobile site provides an easy tool for anyone to use to find housing resources.  The resource locator uses housing data from HUD and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.



FHFA to Push Fannie, Freddie into Manufactured Housing


http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/news/regulation/fhfa-to-push-fannie-freddie-into-manufactured-housing-1058714-1.html
The Federal Housing Finance Agency is expected to issue a proposal soon that would require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase manufactured housing loans from lenders.  The so-called "duty to serve" plan would force the two government-sponsored enterprises into the mobile home business, where more than two-thirds of manufactured housing lending is backed by the vehicle, not the land it stands on.  An estimated 2.9 million households live in 50,000 manufactured housing communities across the country. Industry groups argue the proposal is desperately needed to improve lending standards and credit availability for manufactured housing.

Register now: The 2015 Southwest Virginia Creative Economy Conference

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How is Southwest Virginia’s creative economy helping to build Virginia’s New Economy? You’re invited to find out at the 2015 Southwest Virginia Creative Economy Conference. Governor Terry McAuliffe, Director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Bill Shelton and President and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation Rita McClenny are just a few of the special guests attending the conference.

The agenda includes presentations and sessions that showcase how the region’s natural, cultural and human assets are driving economic opportunities in communities all across Southwest Virginia.

You can register for the conference, to be held September 21-22 in Abingdon, here.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

August 13, 2015

Join us at VMLA’s Annual Convention

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October 1 – 2, 2015  •  Newport News Marriott at City Center

The Virginia Mortgage Lenders Association (VMLA) annual convention is a great place to build your network and learn about issues impacting the mortgage industry. Be sure to stop by VHDA’s booth (look for our colorful “Reaching New Heights” balloon posters), and drop your business card in our bowl — you’ll be registered to receive news updates from VHDA and be entered in our drawing to win an awesome prize! For details about the convention, visit VMLA’s website.

First time attending? Here’s your chance to win: 
As an event sponsor, VHDA will provide four first-time attendees with complimentary convention registration, plus hotel for the night of Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. One winner each will be chosen from the Richmond, Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia and Western regions. Submit your entry at vhda.com/VMLA.

ENTRY DEADLINE:
5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015

© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

August 12, 2015

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.


Investment in housing and neighborhoods is investment in health

(RECAP: The Center for Housing Policy has released a review of recent research on the various ways in which the production, rehabilitation or other provision of affordable housing may affect health outcomes for children, adults and older adults.)

Balancing the Mission Checkbook: Clearing Fuzzy Thinking about Nonprofit Reserves

(RECAP: Many nonprofit managers think about reserves in terms of “how many months should we/do we have,” but nonprofit financial guru Kate Barr suggests there may be more specifics to consider.)

Board Releases Next Installment of the Online Guide to the ADA and ABA Standards

(RECAP: The next installment of the U.S. Access Board’s online guide to accessibility standards is now available. It explains and illustrates requirements in the standards, answers common questions and offers best practice recommendations. The guide also features a popular series of animations.) 

Need a nest egg to pay for your nest? Many retirees do

(RECAP: Older adults spend much more on housing than health care or anything else. The onset of health problems at older ages that limit mobility can make housing even less affordable. Policies to help low-income retirees cover their housing costs could substantially boost financial security at older ages.) 

Bikes Have the Attention of the Ford Motor Company

(RECAP: The age-old conflict between cars and bikes finally has the attention of one of the giants. Ford's Info Cycle project mounts sensors on street bikes to map out how multi-modal city travelers move around.)

This 1,400-Foot Desert Citadel Would Be A Self-Sustaining City Of Tomorrow

(RECAP: Two French firms have designed a skyscraper concept that can grow its own food, collect its own water and generate its own power.) 

Opinions on Housing                                                                   

The views and opinions expressed in Opinions on Housing are solely those of the original authors, and do not necessarily represent those of VHDA, our stakeholders or any/all contributors to this blog.

Op-Ed: Newer Model Density Falls Short of its Promise

(RECAP: The general principle is simple: more density equals lower prices and less environmental impact. But suburbia's imprint is deep, both on cities themselves and on how we expect to inhabit them.)

The ADA at 25: A Commitment to Our Neighbors

(RECAP: As we celebrate the ADA's 25th Anniversary, our country should use this milestone to renew its commitment to fully achieving the four main goals written into this landmark law: equal opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency.)

August 11, 2015

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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CFPB Study Finds Electronic Mortgage Closings Can Benefit Consumers

Consumers Reported Greater Understanding, Efficiency, and Feelings of Empowerment

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/newsroom/cfpb-study-finds-electronic-mortgage-closings-can-benefit-consumers/
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a report on its “Know Before You Owe” eClosing project which found that borrowers can benefit from electronic closings when navigating the mortgage closing process. Specifically, the results of the pilot indicate that those who closed their mortgage using an electronic platform are generally better off on measures of understanding, efficiency, and feeling empowered than borrowers who used just paper forms.  “While technology alone will not address all consumer concerns in the closing process, our study showed that eClosings do offer the potential to make the process less complex,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “We expect this pilot project and its findings to help inform further innovation that will be a win-win for consumers and industry alike.”


CFPB Provides Guidance About Private Mortgage Insurance Cancellation and Termination

Bureau Issues Bulletin Regarding Homeowners Protection Act

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/newsroom/cfpb-provides-guidance-about-private-mortgage-insurance-cancellation-and-termination/
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a bulletin providing guidance to mortgage servicers regarding the cancellation and termination of private mortgage insurance. The bulletin explains certain requirements of the Homeowners Protection Act and is intended to help servicers comply with the law.  “Consumers should not be billed for unnecessary private mortgage insurance,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “We will continue to supervise mortgage servicers to ensure they are treating borrowers fairly, and today’s guidance should help servicers come into compliance with the Homeowners Protection Act.”


Rural Housing Service Announces New Round of Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization Funding 


https://www.ncsha.org/blog/rural-housing-service-announces-new-round-multifamily-preservation-and-revitalization-funding
The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Housing Service (RHS) announced the application schedule for the next round of Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) funds.  MPR is a demonstration program designed to preserve and revitalize rural rental housing projects under Section 514, Section 515, and Section 516 of the Housing Act of 1949.  MPR funds may be used to restructure existing Section 515 multifamily housing loans and Sections 514/516 off-farm labor housing loans to allow the developments to continue to serve very low-, low-, or moderate-income residents.  Developments selected to receive MPR funding are expected to rehabilitate and extend their commitment to affordable housing without displacing current tenants due to rent increases.

US Dept of Energy Showcase Project: Spotlight on The Warwick SRO

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We want to pass along some exciting news. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings initiative has recognized The Warwick SRO, a permanent supportive housing development in Newport News, as a Showcase Project for its reduction in energy consumption and focus on improved indoor air quality.

Originally constructed in 1883, the Warwick Hotel was the center of Victorian-era downtown activity in Newport News before a fire destroyed the original structure in 1960. An addition built in 1928 survived the blaze and, in 1995, Community Housing Partners transformed the remaining structure into permanent supportive housing units for formerly homeless individuals.

Financed in part by Low-Income Housing Tax Credits awarded by VHDA, the 2013 rehabilitation of the Warwick SRO included a new roof, updated plumbing, new windows, HVAC upgrades and other energy-efficiency improvements resulting in EarthCraft Virginia certification and a 50 percent increase in energy efficiency.

About Better Buildings

Better Buildings aims to make commercial, public, industrial and residential buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade. This means saving hundreds of billions of dollars on energy bills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating thousands of jobs.

You can find resources such as implementation models, presentations on successful strategies, showcase projects and energy data on the Better Buildings website. Through Better Buildings, DOE partners with leaders in the public and private sectors to make the nation’s homes, commercial buildings and industrial plants more energy efficient by accelerating investment and sharing successful best practices.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

August 6, 2015

CreateAthon Offers Pro Bono Services to Local Nonprofits

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VHDA is passing along some exciting news that our Southwest Virginia nonprofit partners and stakeholders might want to look into.

The American Advertising Federation, Southwest Virginia chapter (AAF SWVA) is inviting local nonprofit organizations to submit applications for its first annual CreateAthon, which is a community service event designed to assist nonprofits with pro bono advertising assistance. The application deadline to be considered for pro bono creative marketing services is Aug. 28.

For an application, or to learn more, visit http://aafswva.com/createathon/ or call Kim Stewart, Public Service Chair at 276-706-1100.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

August 5, 2015

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.


Developing at the Edge

(RECAP: In rural areas, residents may be hungry for growth and increased property tax base. Adding new development within or at the edge of a small town or village, if done well, can retain features the residents cherish, reinforce a more compact development pattern that is cheaper and easier to service than sprawl, while also providing for economic growth.)

Housing Problems of Very Low-Income Renter Households

(RECAP: HUD’s Worst Case Housing Needs: 2015 Report to Congress investigates causes and trends in worst case housing needs, with special emphasis on changes during the 2011 to 2013 period, by examining the extent of these needs as well as the availability of affordable rental housing.)

Housing To Mix Adults With Autism, Typically-Developing Residents

(RECAP: While this project may be the first of its kind in the nation that mixes those with autism and typically-developing adults, it’s part of a recent movement to create affordable housing projects that put various special needs groups alongside typical renters.)

Uber, Senior Living Team Up to ‘Drive’ Resident Mobility

(RECAP: The launch of its uberASSIST offering brought the company’s signature service — which allows people to call for rides and pay automatically via smartphone — to seniors. Now, Uber is expanding those offerings by launching a new pilot program for community-based senior outreach that involves senior living communities.)

Resources for the Emerging Field of Urban Science

(RECAP: As city planners we are increasingly recording, measuring, and organizing city data—a practice known as urban science. Here’s a list of resources offering insight and access into this emerging field.)

From Harvard Innovation Lab, A Startup To Help Take Tiny Houses Mainstream

(RECAP: Even though they command a freak fascination that's borderline obsessive for some, most people still think of tiny houses as curios, not viable living situations. A startup called Getaway wants to make that lifestyle less of an aspiration and more of a reality.)

Opinions on Housing                                                                  

The views and opinions expressed in Opinions on Housing are solely those of the original authors, and do not necessarily represent those of VHDA, our stakeholders or any/all contributors to this blog.

Revisiting Two Forces of Urban Transformation 

(RECAP: Few factors have had a greater impact on recent urban growth than communications technology and property investment strategies. As these maturing forces are increasingly taken for granted, the next generation of urban growth should accommodate them in ways that preserve urban vitality and citizen livelihoods.)

August 4, 2015

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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Homeownership rate drops to 48-year low

Despite record sales, fewer Americans own homes

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/34596-homeownership-rate-drops-to-48-year-low
The homeownership rate in the United States in the second quarter declined to 63.4%, the lowest it has been since 1967, according to data from the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau.

Further, the steady decline since 2009 continues. On a quarterly basis, the rate was 1.3 percentage points (+/-0.4) lower than the second quarter 2014 rate (64.7%) and 0.4 percentage points (+/-0.4) lower than the rate last quarter (63.7%).   For the second quarter 2015, the homeownership rates were highest in the Midwest (68.4%) and lowest in the West (58.5%). The homeownership rates in the Northeast, Midwest, South and West were lower than the rates in the second quarter 2014.


Black Knight: Borrowers carry highest level of non-mortgage debt in a decade

Underwater population down 26% through May


http://www.housingwire.com/articles/34655-black-knight-borrowers-carry-highest-level-of-non-mortgage-debt-in-a-decade
Black Knight Financial Services analyzed U.S. mortgage holders’ levels of non-mortgage-related debt and found those levels are at their highest in over 10 years.   As Black Knight Data & Analytics Senior Vice President Ben Graboske explained, non-mortgage debt among U.S. mortgage holders bears close watching due to its potential impact on both the lending and housing industries.

“Mortgage lenders know exactly how much debt borrowers are carrying at the point of origination, but often lose sight from that point forward,” said Graboske. “Non-mortgage debt is another key piece of the home affordability puzzle — the more total debt borrowers are carrying and the higher monthly non-mortgage payments they have, the less money they have to put toward a new home purchase, or potentially even their current mortgage obligations.


The housing recovery's great big weak spot: Mid-tier homes

Clear Capital: Poorest performance in the most populated segment

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/34656-the-housing-recoverys-great-big-weak-spot-mid-tier-homes
The July market report from Clear Capital shows that trends have been manifesting across price tiers, and it shows that the biggest segment of housing — mid-tier priced homes — is doing the worst.
The Clear Capital HDI measures market appreciation rates across the lowest (up to 25%), middle (26%-75%), and highest (76% and above) priced homes in an area to dissect valuation risk.

The data revealed that the low-tier is closest to peak 2006 levels, with prices only 10.1% below 2006 peak levels.   Conversely, the mid-tier (homes selling between $120,000 and $345,000) is the worst performing segment with current price levels 24.8% below 2006 peak levels. This vast difference in market recovery underscores the continued challenges the majority of homeowners face, despite a quicker recovery in both the bottom and top segments of the market.


Fannie Mae: Mortgage lenders unnecessarily restrict credit

Higher credit scores, additional documentation most common

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/34597-fannie-mae-mortgage-lenders-unnecessarily-restrict-credit
It appears the post-recession mantra of mortgage lenders is "better safe than sorry."   Despite pushes from the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Federal Housing Administration, many mortgage lenders are still applying additional credit overlays to loans delivered to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a new survey of lenders showed.

The survey, conducted by Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group and based on responses from senior mortgage executives in May 2015, found that approximately 40% of lenders who deliver loans to the GSEs or Ginnie Mae reported applying credit overlays that are more stringent than what the GSEs or Ginnie Mae require.

It’s Time to Nominate a Virginia Housing Award Winner!

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Just a reminder to our partners and stakeholders that the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference, scheduled for November 18-20, is now accepting nominations for the 2015 Virginia Housing Awards.

These five awards recognize innovative and effective efforts to address Virginia’s housing needs. The award winners will be honored at the conference during the Virginia Housing Awards Luncheon.

The categories for 2015 include:

  • Best Affordable Housing Development
  • Best Housing Program or Service
  • Best Housing Preservation/Revitalization Effort
  • Best Affordable Housing Energy Conservation Effort 
  • In My Backyard "IMBY" Award.

Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, August 14, 2015. For more information or questions, contact Rhonda Spear at 804-371-7000 or rhonda.spear@dhcd.virginia.gov.
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Providing Affordable Housing in Southwest Virginia

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VHDA's Southwest Virginia Housing Center is located in what was originally the Wytheville post office. Over the years, it has also housed the Weather Bureau, the Draft Board and then a furniture store. Now, this historic landmark is home to VHDA's newest office, enabling us to work more efficiently with first-time homebuyers, multifamily developers, local governments and non-profit housing advocates in the area.

VHDA’s first Wytheville office opened in 1988, to make our home loans available in smaller towns and communities not served by traditional lenders. To make our loans even more available, we put our first Mobile Mortgage Office on the road in Southwest Virginia in 1996 and added a second Mobile Mortgage Office in 1999 to visit folks living on the Eastern Shore and in Southside Virginia. Our Mobile Mortgage Offices, based out of the Wytheville office, received a first place Innovations Award from the Council of State Governments.



Our Wytheville office staff would like to tell you about the work we’re doing in Southwest Virginia. You can also find out more about this location, including how to reserve free conference space, by visiting our website.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.