May 11, 2017

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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

DHCD's Blueprint for the Future Deadline Extended!

Don't delay--the deadline for DHCD's Blueprint for the Future Design Competition has been extended until Friday, May 26, 2017! Designed for students, architects and others interested in construction and home building, the purpose of the contest is to have a home designed and built that meets affordability, sustainability and accessibility criteria plus the 2012 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code.

The open competition consists of two phases. Phase I requires a short narrative (less than two pages), a site plan and two sets of scaled drawings. The Phase I winner, a student/non-professional, will win $500 cash!

Once Phase I has closed, entries are evaluated and those who meet the requirements move to Phase II. Next steps (in Phase II) including submitting a construction estimate, a complete set of house plans, a worksheet and information to educate the resident. The Phase II winner, a student/non- professional or professional, will win $2,000 cash! In addition, the winning design from Phase II will be built in Norfolk, Virginia.

The Student/Non-professional entry fee is only $50.  The professional fee is $100. Enter today by registering and submitting plans no later than Friday, May 26 at 5 p.m. If you have questions, email or submit your plans, drawings and narrative to

Guess Which Generation Is Making the Biggest Comeback in Real Estate

RECAP: Doc Martens are back in fashion. Hollywood starlets sport ’90s choker necklaces and Nirvana T-shirts. And guess what? Generation X home buyers are making their comeback, too. Gen X may not be getting as much attention these days as the (forever) up-and-coming millennial generation, but it’s making its mark on the housing market as the only generation to buy more homes last year than it did in the previous one, according to the latest National Association of Realtors® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends survey. With a stronger economy, housing values, and job market, the tide has begun to turn. The generation of Americans forever enshrined in iconic ’90s flicks like “Reality Bites” and “Singles” is storming back into the home-buying market. “Now, they’re actually in their prime earning years,” Smoke says. “And they’re also far more likely to have families. It makes complete sense that they’re coming back.”

Developers' Message

RECAP: Each year, Housing Finance asks affordable housing firms around the country to take part in a survey that determines top 50 lists of the top developers and owners. This year, Housing Finance posed a new question, asking developers to share what they would like people to know about affordable housing. The answers were as diverse as the developers themselves, showing just how multidimensional affordable housing is. Several said they want people to know that their developments are a world removed from the stereotypes of low-income housing. Some emphasized that their properties are important economic developments. Others made it a point to say the cost of affordable housing is offset by the long-term economic and social impact created by the developments.

Here’s What These Companies Are Doing to Increase Hispanic Homeownership

RECAP: The Hispanic Wealth Project (HWP), a plan to triple Hispanic household wealth by 2024, announced the addition of several partners for 2017. The Hispanic Wealth Project, in collaboration with the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), today released their annual State of Hispanic Homeownership Report, which shows that Hispanics continue to outpace the overall U.S. population in homeownership gains, household formation and work force participation. Hispanics are currently the fastest growing demographic in the real estate market as the group accounted for nearly 75% of all homeownership rate growth in 2016. The HWP focuses on three component goals including advancing sustainable homeownership, improving the success of Hispanic entrepreneurs and increasing Hispanic investments in non-cash financial assets. Partners of the HWP contribute to these goals by sponsoring and fulfilling initiatives with the HWP.

Why Housing Policy Should Be Health Policy

RECAP: It’s not news that where we live impacts how healthy we are. Public health is affected by many factors: neighborhood safety and walkability, nearby access to fresh food and health care, and the conditions of the homes we live in. Joseph Schilling, a senior research associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center,  co-authored a new report by the Urban Institute that delves into the latest research on how urban blight—defined here as substandard housing, abandoned buildings, and vacant lots—functions as a social determinant of health. 

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