June 8, 2016

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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

Housing 2020: Housing Finance 

(RECAP: Ethan Handelman, Policy Director at the National Housing Conference, joined with Housing Virginia to explore the recovery and the re-shaping of our national system of housing finance. The finance chapter of Housing 2020 looks at the future of the GSEs, new mortgage products and underwriting standards, rental financing gaps and long-term interest rates.)

Rentals in two- to four-unit buildings are more affordable, so why are they so hard to finance?

(RECAP: Two- to four-unit properties have always made up a tiny share of total single-family lending, but their importance is unequivocal. From 2000 to 2007, these units comprised between just 5 and 6 percent of all single-family lending but provided 19 percent of the rental housing stock and an even higher share of the affordable housing stock. Unfortunately, financing these units has become difficult: lending plunged to just 2 to 3 percent of the market after 2009, reflecting tightened loan-to-value requirements since the housing crisis.)

Industry Outlook for Adaptive Use

(RECAP: Experts in adaptive use discuss how they evaluate existing buildings for adaptive use potential, how to avoid common pitfalls, how to balance sustainability with preservation and other trends.)

Community Living Skeptics Often Have Change Of Heart

(RECAP: Professionals know the research and support the changes in practice and policy regarding deinstitutionalization, but families are often unaware and skeptical of community living. Despite initial opposition, a new study suggests many families of those with disabilities required to transition from institutions to community living are ultimately pleased with the outcome.)

The incredible possibilities of 'invisible' wood

(RECAP: In a world where modern urban architecture relies heavily on the use of glass and steel, replacing these materials with transparent, biodegradable wood could revolutionize design concepts -- as well as reduce heating costs and help to lower fuel consumption.)

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