Jon's Reading List - Week of June 11, 2021
Interesting things I've read this week, updated throughout the week.
Developers Building Bigger Apartments as Remote Work Drags On (GlobeSt.com, June 9, 2021)
After more than 10 years of shrinking footprints, 36% of new builds in 92 markets across the country are building bigger apartments than ever, according to a RentCafe analysis of Yardi Matrix data. Most of those are upsizing two-bedroom units, which are increasing by nearly 50 square feet on average. Three-bedroom apartments are increasing by an average of 105 square feet.
Evictions: Incomplete data driving policy (NMHC, June, 2021)
Our research shows that reliable and complete data on evictions is severely lacking and may not be realistically obtainable due to the disaggregated nature of court records and eviction reporting. This dearth of quality national data speaks to the hazard of one-size-fits-all federal policy solutions. The highly individualized nature of eviction proceedings and laws, along with locality-specific conditions that exacerbate housing instability like affordability and housing supply, calls for state and local solutions.
In addition, rental housing is dominated by non-institutional, “mom and pop” property owners. When eviction moratoria policies are treated as “rental holidays,” these individual property owners tend to suffer disproportionately – as do renters, who end up with fewer options.
The eviction moratorium is about to end. Rent relief hasn't arrived. These renters decided to take action. (Washington Post, June 5, 2021)
Like an estimated 1 in 8 renters in the United States, the working class residents there had fallen behind on rent in the economic slump created by the coronavirus pandemic. But two months after the American Rescue Plan released $21.6 billion in emergency rent relief to local jurisdictions, the money had yet to make it to LaSalle Park’s residents. Having turned in their applications for aid months ago, they felt their fear and anxiety grow as the end of the national moratorium on evictions — June 30 — inched closer. They decided to do something.
Note from Jon: I'd like to know where that "1 in 8 renters in the United States..." number came from. That's the kind of stat that I think needs attribution, because it's a big number (12.5%) and it can influence policy decisions.
Built-to-Rent Suburbs are Poised to Spread Across the US (Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2021)
Today, built-to-rent homes make up just over 6% of new homes built in the U.S. every year, according to Hunter Housing Economics, a real estate consulting firm, which projects the number of these homes built annually will double by 2024. The country’s largest home builders are planning for that future. Backed by banks and private investment firms, they have already bet billions on the sector, and will put down some $40 billion more during the next 18 months, Brad Hunter, founder of Hunter Housing Economics, projects. Built-to-rent subdivisions have been constructed or are under development in nearly 30 states. Taylor Morrison Home Corp. , Mr. Wood’s development partner and the nation’s seventh-largest builder, has said built-to-rent could soon become 50% of its total business. The company didn’t disclose the current share.
Small Investors Look to Small-Town Homes (Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2021)
Fevered buying has stretched beyond the vacation homes and upscale suburbs that white-collar workers sought out during the pandemic year. Even small towns and distant suburbs where homes routinely sell for less than $100,000 are abuzz.
"The Piedmont Triad is tied with Memphis at No. 25 on the list based on metrics related to rent competitively during the first three months of 2021. It's ranked just behind Tampa, Florida.
RentCafé found a 78 rent trend score for the Triad, which the study shows has 35 average vacancy days per year, a 40.75 competitive score, an average of 13 perspective renters for every vacancy, and 95 percent of apartments occupied."
Data shows that rental housing, regardless of the number of bedrooms in the home, is difficult to afford on the median household income in Burlington and Graham. In Mebane, families needing a three-bedroom home likely can't afford these units while earning the median household income.
Interesting or Fun
McCollum’s simple wish — that her husband’s voice remained in use — found its way to high-up decision-makers at Transport for London. And seeing an opportunity to bring joy where there was pain, they stepped into action. The director of the London Underground, Nigel Holness, told the BBC that “we were very touched by her story, so staff tracked down the recording and not only were they able to get a copy of the announcement on CD for her to keep but are also working to restore the announcement at Embankment station.”
The system delivered on the promise. Today (as of 2019, when the video above) was made, Oswald Laurence’s voice gives a calm but stern reminder to watch your step to those who travel through Embankment, much to the delight of his beloved.
Suppose you're one of five people who have been selected by a mysterious philanthropist to participate in a contest. The five of you all have comparable debt-levels and costs-of-living, as well as similar, middle-class financial situations. You're all roughly the same age, equally healthy, have the same number of children, and you all live moderately low-risk lifestyles. Privately, and one by one, a representative of the donor approaches each of you with a blank check and a pen, and poses the following question:
How much money would you have to be paid, right here and now, to retire today and never receive another dollar of income (from any source) for the rest of your life?
The catch this time is that whoever among the five players writes the lowest amount on the check will be paid that sum. The other four players will get nothing.