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Category Archives: Housing

The Middle-Class Squeeze – Report

Jennifer Erickson | September 24, 2014, Center for American Progress

“The American middle class is in trouble. The middle-class share of national income has fallen, middle-class wages are stagnant, and the middle class in the United States is no longer the world’s wealthiest. But income is only one side of the story. The cost of being in the middle class—and of maintaining a middle-class standard of living—is rising fast too. For fundamental needs such as child care and health care, costs have risen dramatically over the past few decades, taking up larger shares of family budgets. The reality is that the middle class is being squeezed. As this report will show, for a married couple with two children, the costs of key elements of middle-class security—child care, higher education, health care, housing, and retirement—rose by more than $10,000 in the 12 years from 2000 to 2012, at a time when this family’s income was stagnant. As sharp as this squeeze can be, the pain does not stop at one family, or even at millions of families. Because of the critical role that middle-class consumers play in creating aggregate demand, the American economy is in trouble when the American middle class is in trouble. And the long-term health of the U.S. economy is at risk if financially squeezed families cannot afford—and smart public policies do not support—developing the next generation of America’s workforce. It is this workforce that will lead the United States in an increasingly open and competitive global economy. This report provides a snapshot of the American middle class and those struggling to become a part of it. It focuses on six key pillars that can help define security for households: jobs, early childhood programs, higher education, health care, housing, and retirement. Each chapter is both descriptive and prescriptive—detailing both how the middle class is doing and what policies can help it do better.”

Budgetary Estimates Single-Family Mortgage Guarantee Program of FHA

“Loan guarantees made in the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA’s) guarantee program for single-family mortgages from 1992 to 2013 are now projected to generate small costs over their lifetimes rather than the significant savings that were recorded in the federal budget at the time the guarantees were made—a deterioration that stems largely from the sharp downturnContinue Reading

The Price of Crisis: Eminent Domain, Local Governments, and the Value of Underwater Mortgages

Brescia, Raymond H. and Martin, Nicholas M., The Price of Crisis: Eminent Domain, Local Governments, and the Value of Underwater Mortgages (September 19, 2014). Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review, Vol. 24, 2014, Forthcoming. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2498651 “Governments at all levels in the U.S. have deployed a range of tactics to addressContinue Reading

Presentations about the Budget Outlook – CBO

Doug Elmendorf, CBO Director, at the Macroeconomic Advisers’ 24th Annual Washington Policy Seminar: “I was very pleased to speak last week at Macroeconomic Advisers’ Washington Policy Seminar and at Cornell University. (See my slides for the first talk and my slides for the second talk.) In both presentations I described CBO’s updated outlook for the federal budget under current lawContinue Reading

NY Fed Finds Consumers Expect Lower Home Price Growth but Improved Credit Availability

“The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today released results from its August 2014 Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE), which provides insight into Americans’ views on inflation, prices, the labor market and household finance. The median home price change expectation at the one-year ahead horizon in August was 3.5 percent, its lowest reading since the dataContinue Reading

Additional 2013 Characteristics of New Housing

“The U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction, which is jointly funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has released new annual characteristics tables. This release includes never before published data on age-restricted developments, presence of homeowners association, sewer and water systems, framing material and laundry. The report provides estimates of new privately ownedContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Education of homeless students, World Trade Center Health Program, SNAP

EDUCATION OF HOMELESS STUDENTS: Improved Program Oversight Needed, GAO-14-465: Published: Jul 31, 2014. Publicly Released: Aug 22, 2014. WORLD TRADE CENTER HEALTH PROGRAM: Approach Used to Add Cancers to List of Covered Conditions Was Reasonable, but Could Be Improved, GAO-14-606: Published: Jul 23, 2014. Publicly Released: Aug 22, 2014. SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: Enhanced Detection Tools and Reporting Could Improve Efforts toContinue Reading

New FICO Score Model to Help Expand Consumer Access to Credit

Tara Siegel Bernard – NYT: “The creator of one of the most widely used and influential credit scores, FICO, said on Thursday that the latest version of its score would no longer weigh medical debts — which account for about half of all unpaid collections on consumers’ credit reports — as heavily as it didContinue Reading

Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households

“In its new Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households, the Federal Reserve Board provides a snapshot of the self-perceived financial and economic well-being of U.S. households and the issues they face, based on responses to the Board’s 2013 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking. The report provides insight into numerous topics of current relevance toContinue Reading

Why Is the Economy Still Weak? Blame These Five Sectors – NYT

Neil Irwin: “The economy keeps underperforming. Yes, new G.D.P. data last week were better than expected. But the United States is still producing around $800 billion a year less in goods and services than it would if the economy were at full health, and as a result millions of people aren’t working who would be ifContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Data Transparency, Manufactured Housing

DATA TRANSPARENCY: Oversight Needed to Address Underreporting and Inconsistencies on Federal Award Website, GAO-14-476: Published: Jun 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 2014: “Although agencies generally reported required contract information, they did not properly report information on assistance awards (e.g., grants or loans), totaling approximately $619 billion in fiscal year 2012. Specifically, 33 of 37 agencies withContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Budget Issues, Combatting Nuclear Smuggling, Federal Real Property, 401(K) Plans, Medicaid Financing, Flood Insurance, USDA Farm Programs

BUDGET ISSUES: Opportunities to Reduce Federal Fiscal Exposures Through Greater Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather, GAO-14-504T: Published: Jul 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014. COMBATING NUCLEAR SMUGGLING: Past Work and Preliminary Observations on Research and Development at the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, GAO-14-783T: Published: Jul 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014. FEDERAL REAL PROPERTY: Better Guidance andContinue Reading