Condominiums ARE one form of affordable housing. As of December 2022, the average condominium unit sales price in Seattle trailed single family home sales prices by $451,000.
“The housing market is the most interest-rate sensitive part of any economy, so it’s a very good lead of where the rest of the economy could be in quarters to come,” said Schroders fund manager James Ringer. Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 02/01/23
No matter what happens, it is likely to be a slow year for the housing market. Housing activity remains down sharply from a year ago, when the Fed began to lift its benchmark rates to curb inflation. That pushed up mortgage rates at record speed, forcing buyers and sellers out of the market. Home sales fell for most of the past year, quickly snuffing out a boom from the height of the pandemic. Housing Market Shows Signs of Thawing — Ben Eisen | WSJ | 02/06/23
…it's worth being watchful for signs of housing stabilization and recovery. Yesterday, Mike Simonsen, CEO of Altos Research, noted that per his data homebuyers are already "defying expectations" and already-tight inventory is already dropping yet again.
Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 02/14/23
CoreLogic updates its home price risk assessment for 392 U.S. housing markets
— Lance Lambert | Fortune | 02/04/23
Age Is Just a Number—Except When You’re Applying for a Mortgage
— Robyn A. Friedman | WSJ | 02/09/23
Property Taxes Are Going Up; Here's How to Lower Your Bill
— Veronica Dagher | WSJ | 02/05/23
Take, for instance, a recent estimate done by the King County Regional Homelessness Authority that says ending homelessness in the county would take more than $8 billion to build tens of thousands of new housing units, plus up to $3.5 billion in annual operating costs. To put that in perspective, $8 billion is twice what Gov. Jay Inslee’s current budget proposal asks the state to borrow to build more affordable housing and shelters for all of Washington.
Homelessness by the Numbers — David Horsey | Seattle Times | 02/03/23
30 People Tell Us What Homelessness is Really Like — NYT | 02/11/23
Officially called the Point-in-Time Count, the annual tally of those who live outside or in homeless shelters takes place in every corner of the country through the last 10 days of January, and over the past dozen years has found 550,000 to 650,000 people experiencing homelessness. The endeavor is far from perfect, advocates note, since it captures no more than a few days and is almost certainly a significant undercount. But it’s a snapshot from which resources flow, and creates a shared understanding of a common problem.
The 2023 count will provide a crucial understanding of the legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic and the success of government efforts in blunting its effects. Last year’s count — 582,462 — showed homelessness was essentially flat from two years ago, a fact that Jeff Olivet, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, attributed to widespread eviction moratoriums, billions in rental assistance and an expansion of federal housing vouchers that fortified the safety net. The question for this year, Mr. Olivet said, is “whether we were able to flatten the curve and even start pointing downwards.”
582,462 and Counting — NYT | 02/03/23
One Solution to the Housing Crisis: Just Make People Rich
— Ginia Bellafante | NYT | 02/11/23
Opponents of the Water Street project have repeatedly pointed out that a series of proposals submitted in the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s were all rejected by the landmarks commission on the grounds that in each case whatever was suggested created a visual confusion about the district’s outlines. But the argument that the commission should be bound to precedent ignores the altered realities of an increasingly alienating housing market that has escalated to a humanitarian emergency. In November roughly 67,000 people were sleeping in the city’s homeless shelters every night, more than six times the population in 1983. How do we weigh the view from the Brooklyn Bridge against that?
In Affordable Housing v. Parking Lot, a Judge Chooses the Lot
— Ginia Bellafante | NYT | 01/27/23
See how many all-cash buyers snagged houses in your neighborhood
— Emmanuel Martinez, Kevin Schaul & Hamza Shaban | WaPo | 02/09/23
Landlords say New York City’s new laws will force dramatic changes. Unlike energy codes of the past, one of the key laws, which restricts pollution, doesn’t merely apply to new construction: Existing buildings, no matter how small or how old, must gradually comply and retrofit as well, potentially at eye-watering cost.
…landlords will be forced to look into an uncertain future and face stark choices.
New Skyscraper, Built to Be an Environmental Marvel, Is Already Dated
— Ben Ryder Howe | NYT | 02/14/23
N.B. Like NYC, the Seattle BEPS will require existing buildings to retrofit *at any cost.*
Liftbuild nears completion on remarkable "top-down" skyscraper — Loz Blain | 02/06/23
Millennium Tower Quake Safety Questions Linger Despite New Building Support
— Jaxon Van Derbeken | NBC Bay Area | 02/07/23
A Size Comparison of Existing and Planned Skyscrapers
— Lori Dorn | Laughing Squid | 02/03/23
Baxter, Mr. Steiner’s fluffy 10-year-old Shih-Poo, may only walk through the service entrance, where building rules insist all dogs squeeze alongside the Seamless deliveries, bicycles and moving crews. They may cross the lobby in one instance, Mr. Steiner said: carried by their owners.
Sorry, Dogs: The Lobby Is Off-Limits — Sara Maslin Nir | NYT | 02/03/23
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s imperative to keep products that contain harmful chemicals or unsafe metals out of the municipal waste stream, where they can endanger the community and the environment. For many items, proper disposal is as easy as dropping them off at your city or county transfer station.
How to safely dispose of hazardous household materials
— Melanie D.G. Kaplan | Washington Post | 01/31/23
As wave after wave of atmospheric river storms slammed the city over the last month, green alleys were put to their first real test. The city received as much rainfall between the start of the rainy season in October and the end of January as it usually gets by the end of April. But as that deluge pummeled South L.A., the resulting stormwater had more opportunities to sink back into the earth: filtering through a row of permeable pavers, directing to pocket planters where creeping fig vines twirl up garage walls, or vanishing into grates labeled “drains to groundwater.”
L.A.’s ‘Green Alley’ Experiments Are Working — Alissa Walker | Curbed | 02/01/23
It’s rush hour on Wall Street, and Nathan Berman is at its very center: 55 Broad, the former offices of Goldman Sachs. But like many buildings in this age of working from home (not to mention the long-ago exodus north to Park Avenue and elsewhere), this onetime hub of capitalism is largely empty. Many of Berman’s rivals would be discouraged, but he’s thrilled. Berman transforms vacant office buildings into top-of-the-line apartments. At 63, he’s the king of office conversion. Bloomberg Evening Briefing | 02/06/23
…But then the government subsidized construction of new housing downtown and the conversion of commercial buildings into apartments. Instead of spiraling downward, Lower Manhattan thrived. Similar measures, with a big infusion of state and federal money, might greatly ease the damage from remote work, he said.
“In a best-case scenario, we remove 30 or 40 percent of the office stock in New York City, turn it into wonderful housing… There are impediments to such a scenario, including the prohibitive costs of converting offices to apartments and zoning restrictions that bar residential construction…” The Prophet of Urban Doom Says New York Still Has a Chance
— John Leland | NYT | 02/08/23
Over the past quarter century Nathan Berman has developed a savant-like mastery of a peculiar trade in New York City property development: converting out-of-fashion office buildings into residential towers. “Right now, I bet you every major developer has a feasibility study on their desk on residential conversion…”
Turning offices into condos: New York after the pandemic
— Joshua Chaffin | Financial Times | 02/13/23
Some cities confront it head on: ‘Downtown … is not coming back’
— Danny Westneat | Seattle Times | 02/11/23
The Death of Downtown Research Brief — Chapple et. al. | School of Cities | Jan 2023
The Future of Downtowns — The Volcker Alliance | 01/19/23
City planners are questioning the point of parking garages
— Kevin J. Krizek & John Hersey | Ars Technica | 02/01/23
Three years into the pandemic, business leaders and city officials around the world are still trying just about everything to lure employees back into offices and revive local economies. But in a number of cities across the US, Fridays at the office are dead. Mondays aren’t much better, and returning to pre-pandemic work schedules looks like a lost cause.
That is being felt very keenly in Manhattan, where workers are spending at least $12.4 billion less a year due to about 30% fewer days in the office, according to a Bloomberg News analysis using exclusive data from Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom’s WFH Research group. Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 02/13/23
Energy Use: A Burning Debate
Natural Gas: Fasten Your Seat Belts
— Jinjoo Lee | WSJ | 02/11/23
Gas stove makers have a pollution solution. They're just not using it.
— Jeff Brady | NPR | 02/04/23
Worried about your gas stove? This comic will show you other ways to cook.
— Allyson Chiu & Christine Suggs | The Washington Post | 02/10/23
“The ‘electrify everything’ movement is moving forward across the Northeast and in other parts of the country with a vengeance,” Richard Carrione, a consultant paid by the National Oilheat Research Alliance, wrote last fall in an industry magazine. “It will be incumbent on our industry to educate and activate Mainers about the pitfalls of electrification,” he wrote, signing off: “The battle has just begun. Stay tuned.”
Heat pumps are defying Maine’s winters and oil industry pushback
— Anna Phillips | Washington Post | 02/07/23
Should you replace your gas stove with an induction cooktop? Here’s what you need to know
— Adele Peters | Fast Company | 01/24/23
Washing machines and fridges could be much cheaper to power by 2027
— Steven Mufson | The Washington Post | 02/10/23