Blog

September 6, 2017

Can a Shared-Ownership Housing Model Help Ensure Long Term Affordability?

Cities are turning to community land trusts in response to the affordable housing crisis.  As cities across the nation struggle to build and sustain housing that is affordable to low- and modest-income families, an often overlooked option is gaining new traction. Community land trusts, also called shared equity programs, first...

May 11, 2017

The Beloved Chicago Two-Flat Is In Distress

The two-flat has been a stepping stone to the middle class and a source of affordable housing for more than a century. But for how much longer? It’s been called a “workingman’s palace.” The humble two-flat is often named as one of Chicagoans favorite things about their hometown—along with hot jazz,...

March 27, 2017

Reading the Housing Policy Tea Leaves

HUD’s prospects under Ben Carson and ways to build more affordable housing despite it all Finding an affordable apartment is nearly impossible for those living on the margins, thanks in part to the shortfall of about 7.4 million affordable units nationally. And if the pundits are right, things may get worse...

January 31, 2017

Can the Housing Market Accommodate an Aging America?

Every day 10,000 Americans celebrate their 65th birthdays. That has been the case since 2011 and will be the case until 2030, according to Pew Research Center. At that point, nearly one in five Americans will be 65 or older.How will the housing market respond as these Baby Boomers enter old age en...

January 17, 2017

Old Mortgage Alternative Makes a Controversial Resurgence

Federal regulators are investigating firms that offer contracts for deed.In Detroit in 2015, there were more contracts for deed than there were mortgages.Under these agreements, homebuyers make a down payment and monthly payments to the seller, who hangs onto the deed until the final payment is complete. Although the buyers cannot...

November 1, 2016

Lessons from The 606

More than a year after the Bloomingdale Trail, also known as The 606, opened on the northwest side of Chicago, its impact on the surrounding communities is becoming apparent. Our new report analyzes how house prices in the areas adjacent to the 2.7-mile trail have changed. We find that in...

October 19, 2016

Urban Trails as Urban Planning

The Bloomingdale Trail, or The 606, opened just over a year ago, replacing an old railroad track on the northwest side of Chicago with an elevated garden/walking, jogging, rollerblading/community gathering spot. While some neighbors worried about rising home values pushing out longtime residents, others were excited for their neighborhood. Whatever side...

September 15, 2016

Using Data to Drive Community Change

How a unique partnership between organizers and data analysts helped a community group on Chicago’s southwest side develop strategies to stabilize the neighborhood’s housing market.In August, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan took a walking tour of the Chicago Lawn neighborhood. She was there to review the progress in a neighborhood that had been hard...

July 26, 2016

The Uneven Housing Recovery Is More Uneven for Some

For 4 million households, the housing crisis still has a stranglehold on their lives. As prices started to plummet in 2007, many saw their home’s value sink below what they’d paid for it. Negative equity, or an “underwater” home, is what results when a house is worth less than what the homeowner owes on the mortgage....

June 15, 2016

Can your neighborhood make you sick?

The connection between neighborhood and health Where you live may have a bigger impact on how long you live than your genetics, says the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They mapped life expectancy along major highway exits and transit stops in large metro areas and found that babies born just miles apart have large...