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Critical Housing Finance Challenges for Policy Makers

April 1, 2012

Examines barriers for mortgage lending to underserved groups and in distressed neighborhoods, such as risk assessment; financing for multifamily rental markets, such as affordability; and financing for sustainable housing, such as transactional costs.

Mortgage Foreclosures in Atlanta: Patterns and Policy Issues

December 15, 2005

Metropolitan Atlanta is experiencing a foreclosure boom as the number of failed mortgages more than doubled in less than five years, between 2000 and 2005. These foreclosures impose significant costs not only on borrowers and lenders, but also on municipal governments, neighboring homeowners and others with a financial interest in nearby properties. As a result, foreclosure avoidance strategies must involve not only federal, state and local public agencies, but also responsible mortgage industry officials, consumer groups, and community-based, not-for profit organizations. This report was commissioned by Doug Dylla at NeighborWorks America to help build awareness of foreclosure problems and craft a comprehensive foreclosure-avoidance strategy for metropolitan Atlanta. The work presented here serves as a companion to the Foreclosure Prevention Forum cosponsored by NeighborWorks America and the Atlanta Federal Reserve on May 23, 2005. The forum brought together more than 150 leaders from the mortgage industry, state and local government, the advocacy community, and academic and policy researchers. These participants generated a variety of collaborative approaches to address issues related to mortgage failures and foreclosures in the Atlanta region.The report was written and researched by Mark Duda and William Apgar. It expands on research presented by Duda at the forum and is intended to characterize the current situation with respect to mortgage failures in metropolitan Atlanta, as well as previous research completed by the authors on foreclosure avoidance in Chicago and Los Angeles. The foreclosure data used in this report were generously provided by EquiSystems, LLC, producer of the Atlanta Foreclosure Report.

The Municipal Cost of Foreclosure: A Chicago Case Study

February 27, 2005

The recent rise in nonprime mortgage foreclosures has opened a new and costly chapter in many of the nation's most distressed urban neighborhoods. Particularly problematic is the fact that today's foreclosures impose significant costs not only on borrowers and lenders, but also on municipal governments, neighboring homeowners and others with a financial interest in nearby properties. While there is an extensive literature on the impact that delinquency, default, and foreclosure have on lenders, borrowers, and other entities that are direct parties to the mortgage transaction in question, the costs that these mortgage failures impose on municipalities and other third parties are far less well understood. This is due to two factors. First, municipal and other third party costs are difficult to identify, and therefore often go undetected. Second, even where identified, the activities that generate costs often blend in with other governmental functions, or are otherwise difficult to quantify, reinforcing the tendency for them to remain invisible.This study attempts to fill that void. Using the City of Chicago as a case in point, this study presents a conceptual framework that makes explicit the various costs of foreclosure, especially as they relate to local governments and courts. By carefully reviewing the foreclosure process as it plays out in Chicago, the paper isolates 26 separate costs incurred for the provision of 'foreclosure related services.' These costs reflect actions undertaken by 15 separate governmental units that are part of the overall municipal infrastructure underlying the foreclosure process. While in some cases these municipal activities are limited to simple and relatively inexpensive ministerial duties of agencies like the Recorder of Deeds, in more complex foreclosure scenarios these municipal costs can reach tens of thousands of dollars. In extreme cases, the concentrated foreclosures can put downward pressure on area property values and indirectly rob area homeowners of hundreds of thousands of dollars of home equity.

An Examination of Manufactured Housing as a Community- and Asset-Building Strategy

September 1, 2002

An increasing share of lower-income families, the same population targeted by community-development organizations, are opting to live in housing that was built off-site in a factory to meet the performance standards of the national HUD manufactured-housing code. However, most community-development practitioners are just beginning to come to terms with the implications of manufactured housing for their work.This paper explores advantages and disadvantages of manufactured housing for those entities whose mission is community development and asset building. Several challenges are presented for practitioners: First, working to educate consumers while also creating financing processes that ensure manufactured home buyers obtain credit on the best terms for which they can qualify. Second, using the increased scrutiny under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 to advocate for states to enforce more rigorous installation standards and increased accountability. Third, working to overcome land-use controls which prevent manufactured homes from being placed in communities in need of affordable housing, as well as areas with more potential for appreciation. Fourth, working with designers and planners to develop innovative designs and housing developments, while maintaining manufactured housing's affordability advantages.Finally, equal effort must be devoted to address the difficult conditions of many lower-income people -- owners and renters alike -- living in older, and often deteriorating, mobile homes. While a few of these families and individuals could be relocated to new and better quality homes with the help of subsidies, resource limitations suggest the need to create cost-effective methods to eliminate health and safety problems by upgrading or rehabilitating this extremely affordable element of the nation's housing inventory.As a companion to this paper, an exhaustive literature review has been compiled.