HOW DOES YOUR COMMUNITY VIEW AFFORDABLEHOUSING?

|

Prices on gas, groceries and other goods are growing moreghastly by the day. Housing hasn't been any different. We asked ourreaders what they think of the affordable housing market and youwere mostly split between thinking "NIMBY Is My Way of Life (44%)"and "Education Has Helped, but We're Not There Yet" (43%). Asmaller portion of you said "My Neighborhood Embraces It." We spokewith Ron Moelis, the CEO of L&M Development Partners, about hiscurrent experience building affordable housing. Mayor MichaelBloomberg cut the ribbon last Tuesday on Moelis' Kalahari Projectin Harlem, so the executive had plenty to say.

|

"The poll results are most surprising to me. It just goes toshow that the public's perception is not the same as mine.

|

"I've experienced very little of NIMBY. I'm actually surprisedat the high percentage of people who felt that NIMBY is still ahuge problem. I think it's a problem in a lot of parts of thecountry including parts of New York. New York City, as far as I cansee, has not had huge problems with NIMBY. There are certain areaswhere it exists but the areas we've developed in really encourageaffordable housing. In places like Greenpoint, Williamsburg and theWest Side of Manhattan, where there have been big rezonings, thecommunity has been supportive of more affordable housing. Theadministration has been pretty responsive to it.

|

"The current administration has been a tremendous advocate ofaffordable housing. They've provided resources and supportedpolicies that have been very proactive to encourage affordablehousing.

|

"From a developer's side, affordable housing is a challengethese days. The credit markets have been difficult and it's droppedinto the affordable housing side as well. It's become much moredifficult over the past three or four months than it has been inthe last five years to get financing.

|

"We're not as affected by market conditions. There's less riskin the affordable housing market side of things, but we're stillaffected by the credit and liquidity issues with the banks. Thelow-income tax credit, which is a big part of financing mostaffordable housing rental jobs, has also been hit. Financialinstitutions have taken big losses and either don't need the taxbreaks currently or have liquidity issues that force them to cutback on investment of the tax credits. So the price of tax creditshas dropped significantly, more than 10% to 20% in the past sixmonths as well.

|

"Our pool of buyers has narrowed because a lot of the buyers whocould have gotten mortgages a year ago are not able to get themnow.

|

"In New York in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we saw someliquidity issues. We had a lot of issues and problems gettingfinancing back in those days as well, but we were doing less workso it was a little bit easier to finance the one or two jobs a yearthat we were doing. Truthfully, the financing sources were a lotless competitive in the affordable housing than they are now. Therewere fewer people doing it. So the availability of things like taxcredit and subsidy financing was more available back then.

|

"The affordable housing home ownership business has been hurtbecause of a lack of liquidity and N loans. The subprime crisis andforeclosure crisis has created a real difficulty among lower andmoderate-income people in getting mortgages.

|

"We have had some pretty interesting affordable housing programsthat have come out in the past few years that have created theopportunity to do affordable housing alongside market-rate housingthat are unique around the country. Sales have been brisk on bothsides. People don't seem to be upset about having affordablehousing in their community, as far as I can tell."

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.