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Archive for the ‘housing and real estate’ Category

Using Your House for Income in Retirement

July 17, 2015 Comments off

Using Your House for Income in Retirement
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

Using Your House reviews the two most common ways to use your house to boost your income in retirement – downsizing and a reverse mortgage – with clear examples, a discussion of the pros and cons of each approach, and links to tools on the web where you can get estimates of what downsizing or a reverse mortgage can do for you.

Small Businesses and Small Business Finance during the Financial Crisis and the Great Recession: New Evidence From the Survey of Consumer Finances

July 15, 2015 Comments off

Small Businesses and Small Business Finance during the Financial Crisis and the Great Recession: New Evidence From the Survey of Consumer Finances (PDF)
Source: Federal Reserve Board

We use the Federal Reserve’s 2007, 2009 re-interview of 2007 respondents, and 2010 Surveys of Consumer Finances (SCFs) to examine the experiences of small businesses owned and actively managed by households during these turbulent years. This is the first paper to use these SCFs to study small businesses even though the surveys contain extensive data on a broad cross-section of firms and their owners. We find that the vast majority of small businesses were severely affected by the financial crisis and the Great Recession, including facing tight credit constraints. We document numerous and often complex interdependencies between the finances of small businesses and their owner-manager households, including a more complicated role of housing assets than has been reported previously. We find that workers who lost their job responded in part by starting their own small business, and that factors correlated with the survival of a small business differed greatly depending upon whether the firm was established or new. Our results strongly reinforce the importance of relationship finance to small businesses, and the primary role of commercial banks in such relationships. We find that both cross-section and panel data are needed to understand the complex issues associated with the creation, survival and failure of small businesses.

Effect of Changing Demographics on Young Adult Homeownership Rates

July 7, 2015 Comments off

Effect of Changing Demographics on Young Adult Homeownership Rates
Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University

Changing socio-demographic characteristics of young adult households (those with householders ages 25 to 34) are having an impact on their propensities for homeownership. Increases in the share of minority and unmarried householders are placing downward pressure on homeownership rates for this group, while at the same time higher levels of income and educational attainment are providing a boost. But events in housing markets over the last twenty years have masked these effects, first by making homeownership more attractive and attainable in the years leading up to the Great Recession, thus pushing homeownership rates up, then by lowering them after 2005 as constraints on credit and increasingly poor economic conditions inhibited home purchases by young adults. Untangling the combined effect of these trends requires analyses that can decompose demographic trends from macro and micro market conditions, to isolate the effects that specific changes in characteristics have had on young adult homeownership rates over time. This paper describes such an analysis based on econometric methods that estimate the expected change in homeownership over time due to socio-demographic factors, and finds that absent the boom and bust in housing markets over the last two decades young adults would likely have lowered their homeownership rates by over 5 percentage points, with much of that decline caused by changes in marital and family status. It concludes with some commentary on the implications of these findings for the homeownership tendencies of young adults going forward.

The Livability Index: Great Neighborhoods for All Ages

July 6, 2015 Comments off

The Livability Index: Great Neighborhoods for All Ages
Source: AARP Public Policy

The Livability Index is a signature initiative of the Public Policy Institute to measure the quality of life in American communities across multiple dimensions: housing, transportation, neighborhood characteristics, environment, health, opportunity, and civic and social engagement.

An interactive, easily navigated website, the Livability Index allows users to compare communities, adjust scores based on personal preferences and learn how to take action to make their own communities move livable.

Home Foreclosure, Health, and Mental Health: A Systematic Review of Individual, Aggregate, and Contextual Associations

July 1, 2015 Comments off

Home Foreclosure, Health, and Mental Health: A Systematic Review of Individual, Aggregate, and Contextual Associations
Source: PLoS ONE

Background
The U.S. foreclosure crisis intensified markedly during the Great Recession of 2007-09, and currently an estimated five percent of U.S. residential properties are more than 90 days past due or in the process of foreclosure. Yet there has been no systematic assessment of the effects of foreclosure on health and mental health.

Methods and Findings
I applied systematic search terms to PubMed and PsycINFO to identify quantitative or qualitative studies about the relationship between home foreclosure and health or mental health. After screening the titles and abstracts of 930 publications and reviewing the full text of 76 articles, dissertations, and other reports, I identified 42 publications representing 35 unique studies about foreclosure, health, and mental health. The majority of studies (32 [91%]) concluded that foreclosure had adverse effects on health or mental health, while three studies yielded null or mixed findings. Only two studies examined the extent to which foreclosure may have disproportionate impacts on ethnic or racial minority populations.

Conclusions
Home foreclosure adversely affects health and mental health through channels operating at multiple levels: at the individual level, the stress of personally experiencing foreclosure was associated with worsened mental health and adverse health behaviors, which were in turn linked to poorer health status; at the community level, increasing degradation of the neighborhood environment had indirect, cross-level adverse effects on health and mental health. Early intervention may be able to prevent acute economic shocks from eventually developing into the chronic stress of foreclosure, with all of the attendant benefits this implies for health and mental health status. Programs designed to encourage early return of foreclosed properties back into productive use may have similar health and mental health benefits.

CRS — U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas (April 3, 2015)

June 29, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

A number of proposals designed to increase domestic energy supply, enhance security, and/or amend the requirements of environmental statutes that apply to energy development were before the 113th Congress and are likely to be reintroduced in the 114th Congress. A key question in this discussion is how much oil and gas is produced in the United States each year and how much of that comes from federal versus non-federal areas. Oil production has fluctuated on federal lands over the past five fiscal years but has increased dramatically on non-federal lands. Non-federal crude oil production has been rapidly increasing in the past few years, partly due to favorable geology and the ease of leasing, rising by 3.0 million barrels per day (mbd) between FY2010 and FY2014, causing the federal share of total U.S. crude oil production to fall from 36.4% to 21.4%.

Crude oil production on federal lands, particularly offshore, however, is likely to continue to make a significant contribution to the U.S energy supply picture and could remain consistently higher than previous decades, but still fall as a percent of total U.S. production, if production on non-federal lands continues to rise at a faster rate.

The State of the Nation’s Housing 2015

June 24, 2015 Comments off

The State of the Nation’s Housing 2015
Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University
From press release:

The fledgling U.S. housing recovery lost momentum last year as homeownership rates continued to fall, single-family construction remained near historic lows, and existing home sales cooled, concludes The State of the Nation’s Housing report released today by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. In contrast, rental markets continued to grow, fueled by another year of large increases in the numbers of renter households. However, with rents rising and incomes well below pre-recession levels, the U.S. is also seeing record numbers of cost-burdened renters, including more renter households higher up the income scale.

“Perhaps the most telling indicator of the state of the nation’s housing is the drop in the homeownership rate to just 64.5 percent last year,” says Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “This erases nearly all of the increase from the previous two decades. In fact, the number of homeowners fell for the eighth straight year, and the trend does not appear to be abating.”

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