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Category Archives: Housing

OECD survey of 21 counties – many people unhappy with public services and benefits

“Many people in OECD countries believe public services and social benefits are inadequate and hard to reach. More than half say they do not receive their fair share of benefits given the taxes they pay, and two-thirds believe others get more than they deserve. Nearly three out of four people say they want their government to do more to protect their social and economic security. These are among the findings of a new OECD survey, “Risks that Matter”, which asked over 22,000 people aged 18 to 70 years old in 21 countries about their worries and concerns and how well they think their government helps them tackle social and economic risks.This nationally representative survey finds that falling ill and not being able to make ends meet are often at the top of people’s lists of immediate concerns. Making ends meet is a particularly common worry for those on low incomes and in countries that were hit hard by the financial crisis. Older people are most often worried about their health, while younger people are frequently concerned with securing adequate housing. When asked about the longer-term, across all countries, getting by in old age is the most commonly cited worry…

In every country surveyed except Canada, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, most people say that their government does not incorporate the views of people like them when designing social policy…”

The Lewis and Clark of the Digital Building Frontier

The New York Times – These married architects are democratizing the 3-D printing process, using materials destined for the trash heap — like curry powder and coffee grounds — in place of drywall and foam. “On a bone-chilling day here with the winter rains pelting down, the architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello retreated… Continue Reading

The economic costs and benefits of Airbnb

Economic Policy Institute – No reason for local policymakers to let Airbnb bypass tax or regulatory obligations. “…In our cost-benefit analysis, we find: The economic costs Airbnb imposes likely outweigh the benefits. While the introduction and expansion of Airbnb into U.S. cities and cities around the world carries large potential economic benefits and costs, the… Continue Reading

20 percent of Americans have no emergency savings

Axios: “Nearly 20% of Americans surveyed say they have zero savings in case of emergency, a recent survey by bankrate.com reports. Why it matters: With the jobs outnumbering the jobless, a lowering unemployment rate and wages trickling upward, Americans theoretically should have more money to put away for a rainy day fund. If an economic… Continue Reading

Unpaid Federal Workers Owe $438 Million in Mortgage and Rent Payments This Month

Zillow Research: Federal employees who are not being paid during the shutdown and own their homes make about $249 million in monthly mortgage payments. Those who rent pay about $189 million for housing each month, according to a recent HotPads analysis. About 3,900 mortgage originations are processed each business day for loans backed directly by… Continue Reading

Federal government was bleak workplace for past 2 years and worsened after the shutdown

Washington Post: “Over two years, the Trump administration has dealt blow after blow to government employees — budget cuts, hiring freezes, inept Cabinet secretaries and, for some, open hostility to their fundamental mission. President Trump promised to shake up Washington, and he has. But the country’s 2 million federal workers have mostly soldiered on, believing… Continue Reading

A Lot of Government Information Is Freely Available

GAO Watchblog: “From health and education statistics to budget and spending information, the federal government produces a lot of information, or data. Agencies are making more and more of this data open for everyone to use. Our recent report identified 5 key practices that can help the government’s open data reach a wide range of… Continue Reading

Nearly 75% Of Coastal States Aren’t Prepared For Sea Level Rise

Forbes: “…As climate change progresses, storms will increase in strength,  sea levels will rise more rapidly, U.S. coasts will flood more frequently, and shoreline properties will disappear. Each year, $500 million worth of coastal structures are lost as coastlines disappear. The federal government spends nearly $150 million each year to manage the loss of beaches and coastal real estate. Two-thirds of… Continue Reading

How private equity firms are fueling the housing crisis

New York Magazine – Intelligencer: “Nationwide, single-family homes — white-picketed symbols of the American Dream — are increasingly owned by far-flung investors, with the percentage held by landlords growing from 13 percent nationally to 17 percent between 2008 and 2016, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. These homes are offered to local residents… Continue Reading

CDC data – Large cities still segregated even as nation becoming more diverse

Washington Post: “…Even as the United States becomes increasingly diverse, neighborhood segregation patterns persist in large urban areas, including in the Washington metro region, according to five-year trend data from the Census Bureau. Segregation has remained most entrenched between black and white residents, while segregation between whites and Hispanics and whites and Asians is more… Continue Reading

Letting Algorithms Replace Human Appraisers

UK Daily Mail: Proposed new regulations would allow homes to be bought and sold through electronic valuations rather than human appraisers Home appraisals could be done electronically without the need for a licensed human regulator, according to new proposals   Regulators say the vast majority of homes could be appraised using electronic algorithms which could make house buying… Continue Reading

Economy and development have increased emptying of DC houses of worship

Washington Post: “For decades, changes in American religious behavior and the District’s demographics spurred a slow emptying of city houses of worship. And in recent years, many have shuttered, largely because of skyrocketing real estate prices, an exodus of African Americans from the city and millennials’ desire for unusual abodes. But how great is the… Continue Reading