H. Pike Oliver compiles this weekly update of real estate and community development news. The inclusion of an article does not imply endorsement. And please note that some links may lead to items that are behind a paywall.
Given the many differences between the housing market of 2008 and today, few analysts expect the next recession to have similarly devastating impacts. Nonetheless, it’s important to consider how severe the next recession is likely to be, and to prepare for the most likely impacts. RCLCO recently released the report, Impact of the Next Recession on Residential Real Estate Markets.
A report by Commercial Café shows eight of the country’s 50 highest price office sales last year were in Bellevue and Seattle. Of these, two were in the top 10. The Seattle region’s top sales were driven, in part, by Amazon, which leases the Troy Block in the South Lake Union area, and pre-leased Summit III in Bellevue. No. 9 was the sale of the two-building Troy Block. Properties occupied by Microsoft, T-Mobile, F5 Networks and Facebook also made the top 50 list.
Since the second world war, governments across the rich world have made three big mistakes. They have made it too difficult to build the accommodation that their populations require; they have created unwise economic incentives for households to funnel more money into the housing market; and they have failed to design a regulatory infrastructure to constrain housing bubbles.
Phillip Sprincin writes in City Journal about the latest failure enact legislative reform to allow sufficient housing development in California. A half century of efforts to reduce environmental impacts in the Golden State have resulted more urban sprawl and increased economic inequality. It is a striking example of how government policies and regulations can lead to results that are worse than the problems they tried to solve.
In a post for Bloomberg Opinion, Justin Fox offers a “glass-is-half-full”assessment of how housing development regulation is evolving in California. Despite recent legislative setbacks, he thinks it’s possible that state legislator attitudes toward development regulation are beginning to shift.
A quick video primer by Jenny Schuetz of the Brookings Institution outlines two housing problems: 1) low-income households cannot afford to buy or rent housing at market rates, and 2) local governments in larger metropolitan areas on the west coast and northeast of the USA have zoning laws that are too restrictive to new housing development.
Nearly everything we treasure in the world’s most beautiful cities was built over a century ago. Yet the ideas and practices underlying these achievements have been abandoned. Nir Buras documents the humane design methods that held sway before the reign of Modernism and encourages us to relearn the time-tested principles of classic urban planning.
A public inquiry into the 2017 fire at London’s Grenfell Tower, which killed 72 people, has begun to zero in on how the densely populated social housing block was allowed to become a tinder box and who was to blame.