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whoknew

Affordable Housing Crisis

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The United States has an affordable housing crisis. Its one of the biggest issues facing the United States in the coming years. I'm surprised it hasn't been a bigger topic in the election. 

I work in real estate so this is a very interesting topic to me and I'd love to hear about solutions you've heard of, what your cities are doing about it, etc. I know some of this was covered in the California thread, but I thought it could use its own thread. 

And what else do you think should be done? How should local government address this issue? What about state or federal?

Some background:

The Affordable Housing Crisis, Explained

America's Housing Crisis is a Ticking Time-Bomb

America's Housing Affordability Crisis is Only Getting Worse

Edited by whoknew

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This isn't really an affordable housing article - in fact it may lead to the opposite - but its interesting enough to discuss.

 

In Seattle, A Move Across Town Could Be A Path Out Of Poverty

...A new experiment in the Seattle area is showing some promise.

It involves providing financial and other incentives to encourage more poor families to relocate to what are called "high opportunity" areas. These are neighborhoods that have been identified by economist Raj Chetty, who runs Harvard University's Opportunity Insights program, as places where low-income children have grown up to have more successful lives, with higher earnings, more college degrees and fewer teen births.

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The problem with making housing more affordable is that it weakens the real estate market, which has been a primary driver of the economy over the past 25 years (excluding the recession).

We love to talk about creating more affordable housing, but we also love watching the value of our homes appreciate at a faster rate than the stock market. I don't think you can have one (affordable housing) without negatively affecting the other (home appreciation).

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Love this topic.

A true crisis in many parts of the country.

 

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A big factor is the artificially low rates for the past decade which allow buyers to "afford" more house. If rates go up significantly you will see prices come down. Also since the recession you have a lack of skilled labor as many went into other careers. Subs have been slammed and costs continue to climb. 

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1 minute ago, GoBirds said:

A big factor is the artificially low rates for the past decade which allow buyers to "afford" more house. If rates go up significantly you will see prices come down. Also since the recession you have a lack of skilled labor as many went into other careers. Subs have been slammed and costs continue to climb. 

Possible solutions for that - smaller homes and/or higher density?

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One problem we have here in Austin (discussed in the CA thread) is very strong neighborhood groups. As a result, they have worked very hard to keep density low - they want single family homes with yards in areas very close to the city center. That's completely unsustainable. And its bad for the environment.

Austin needs higher density. Badly. 

I reckon a lot of cities around the country are the same.

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I think this issue is blown out of proportion.  It may be true in San Fran, parts of California, NYC, etc. but how much of this is people not wanting to live in a part of town that fits their budget?  

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Just now, Punxsutawney Phil said:

I think this issue is blown out of proportion.  It may be true in San Fran, parts of California, NYC, etc. but how much of this is people not wanting to live in a part of town that fits their budget?  

It's partly that, but it's also incompetent governance in certain cities, San Francisco being a great example.  Manhattan faces a genuine shortage of develop-able land, but at least they've done what they can to build upward.  San Francisco's refusal to allow this is unconscionable.  

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1 minute ago, Punxsutawney Phil said:

I think this issue is blown out of proportion.  It may be true in San Fran, parts of California, NYC, etc. but how much of this is people not wanting to live in a part of town that fits their budget?  

I know this issue best in Austin, so I will speak to that. 

Traditionally, lower income families lived on the east side of Austin. That is/has been completely redeveloped and lower income families moved out. To live in an area where lower income families can afford, they likely have to move quite a ways out from the city. And Austin doesn't have good public transportation yet.

So they have over an hour commute each way - which is both expensive and environmentally hazardous. 

Its a big problem.

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Just now, IvanKaramazov said:

It's partly that, but it's also incompetent governance in certain cities, San Francisco being a great example.  Manhattan faces a genuine shortage of develop-able land, but at least they've done what they can to build upward.  San Francisco's refusal to allow this is unconscionable.  

 

Density is such a huge key to solving this.

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2 minutes ago, Punxsutawney Phil said:

I think this issue is blown out of proportion.  It may be true in San Fran, parts of California, NYC, etc. but how much of this is people not wanting to live in a part of town that fits their budget?  

I can't speak for the rest of the country, but here in Portland there are no budget-friendly houses anywhere within a 50 mile radius. Prospective buyers are more than willing to overpay for a junk house in a bad neighborhood, just so they can own something.

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34 minutes ago, whoknew said:

Possible solutions for that - smaller homes and/or higher density?

Lack of land that could be developed in our market has lead to premiums on land as well.......plus the NIMBY's don't want small homes to bring their value down on their 1/2 acre 2800 sf home. We are seeing a ton of apartments come online but they command very high rates and then you are just paying the man not owning. 

Solution may be another crash when rates go up. 

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My understanding is that there are two distinct parts to the housing crisis:

1.) There’s a fairly large number of people who simply don’t make enough money to afford rent without a subsidy - something like the bottom 20% of income earners. Housing subsidies in the US aren’t entitlements, i.e. you won’t necessarily get a subsidy even if you meet the income requriements. This leaves a lot of people out in the cold - around 75-80% of people who qualify for housing subsidies don’t actually receive any help. Turning those subsidies into entitlements would go a long ways towards fixing this problem, IMO.

2.) Supply hasn’t kept up with demand in many big cities, making housing too expensive for pretty much everyone there. A lot of this is due to bad zoning laws that keep huge chunks of the city from adding more housing. It seems like upzoning and high-density development is the solution on this front, but that always entails a big political fight with NIMBYs and local governments.

I think people often lump these two problems together when talking about the housing crisis and only offer up solutions to one part of the problem. It’s not surprising given his experience in HUD, but Julian Castro’s housing plan addresses both of these components pretty well and is probably my favorite housing plan of any of the Dem candidates’. I like Liz Warren’s plan as well, but it mostly addresses problem 2 only.

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1 minute ago, caustic said:

My understanding is that there are two distinct parts to the housing crisis:

1.) There’s a fairly large number of people who simply don’t make enough money to afford rent without a subsidy - something like the bottom 20% of income earners. Housing subsidies in the US aren’t entitlements, i.e. you won’t necessarily get a subsidy even if you meet the income requriements. This leaves a lot of people out in the cold - around 75-80% of people who qualify for housing subsidies don’t actually receive any help. Turning those subsidies into entitlements would go a long ways towards fixing this problem, IMO.

2.) Supply hasn’t kept up with demand in many big cities, making housing too expensive for pretty much everyone there. A lot of this is due to bad zoning laws that keep huge chunks of the city from adding more housing. It seems like upzoning and high-density development is the solution on this front, but that always entails a big political fight with NIMBYs and local governments.

I think people often lump these two problems together when talking about the housing crisis and only offer up solutions to one part of the problem. It’s not surprising given his experience in HUD, but Julian Castro’s housing plan addresses both of these components pretty well and is probably my favorite housing plan of any of the Dem candidates’. I like Liz Warren’s plan as well, but it mostly addresses problem 2 only.

The renters tax credit is very interesting. It might help people save for a downpayment sooner too.

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2 minutes ago, caustic said:

2.) Supply hasn’t kept up with demand in many big cities, making housing too expensive for pretty much everyone there. A lot of this is due to bad zoning laws that keep huge chunks of the city from adding more housing. It seems like upzoning and high-density development is the solution on this front, but that always entails a big political fight with NIMBYs and local governments.

Here in Portland we have an urban growth boundary, which artificially limits where houses can be placed. It is frequently criticized as being anti-capitalist......but the people who criticize it are also often the same people who A) already profit from owning land inside the boundary, and/or B) would never want a new neighborhood to be built near their country estate in the first place.

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2 minutes ago, Bucky86 said:

The renters tax credit is very interesting. It might help people save for a downpayment sooner too.

That is interesting. 

While I think local governments have been incredibly stupid about this, I'm not sure about establishing federal zoning guidelines. I'd have to hear more about that proposal.

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56 minutes ago, whoknew said:

I know this issue best in Austin, so I will speak to that. 

Traditionally, lower income families lived on the east side of Austin. That is/has been completely redeveloped and lower income families moved out. To live in an area where lower income families can afford, they likely have to move quite a ways out from the city. And Austin doesn't have good public transportation yet.

So they have over an hour commute each way - which is both expensive and environmentally hazardous. 

Its a big problem.

Based on everything I've seen in the few places I have lived gentrification has been everything.  This is product of "free market" approaches and cities/towns/townships etc not doing the needful rather doing what's most profitable to them.  It is essential that local municipalities lead on this especially if it's property they own.  Private landowners and developers aren't going to do this out of the kindness of their hearts.  

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I'm curious about how much of the country is really impacted by this.  It seems there are many major metropolitan areas with plenty of affordable housing.  At some point companies would be better off relocating and being able to pay employees a lot less.  Allow the market to naturally adjust.

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Sorry, I can't crisis with you.  Not everything is a crisis.  global warming, immigrant detention, gun regulation, china trade.  We have a crisis with the overuse of crisis, for if we do not, with so many afoot, and with the term properly understood, well we can deal with one or two, but not dozens.  We are doomed so just throw up your hands and party.

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6 minutes ago, Juxtatarot said:

I'm curious about how much of the country is really impacted by this.  It seems there are many major metropolitan areas with plenty of affordable housing.  At some point companies would be better off relocating and being able to pay employees a lot less.  Allow the market to naturally adjust.

There seems to be a mismatch...if they have the housing, they don't have the jobs...in the places where they have the jobs there isn't the housing.  That's my experience between Charlotte and the Orlando area.  Here in Orlando there's a ton of homeless, and very little housing to provide them.  I do think this is different from one municipality to the next and each has to do some serious self reflection to figure out how to get out of their mess.  The problem is conjuring up the will to make it happen.

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41 minutes ago, whoknew said:

One problem we have here in Austin (discussed in the CA thread) is very strong neighborhood groups. As a result, they have worked very hard to keep density low - they want single family homes with yards in areas very close to the city center. That's completely unsustainable. And its bad for the environment.

Austin needs higher density. Badly. 

I reckon a lot of cities around the country are the same.

It has to be the right kind of density. Miami is the third tallest city in the USA, after NYC and Chicago, but the middle class can't afford skyscrapers built for flight capital from outsiders and money launderers. Cities in California, NY and Canada also have a lot of investment and safe-haven money from outside the USA, which increases housing prices. This is different from domestic demand which is affecting many popular cities, such as Austin.  

Gentrification of buildings and lots in under-utilized areas of Miami, such as Liberty City, Little Haiti and Little Havana has accelerated in this good economy with low interest rates. But not many middle class families want to be the first inhabitants of a gentrified region. Another solution that's been proposed is to build housing for teachers and school employees on site: Teachers can’t afford Miami rents. The county has a plan: Let them live at school.  Miami Beach is considering making back-yard granny flats/guest houses/garage apartments legal

Miami-Dade county is doing a decent job at building some nice low-income housing for renting, but the middle class is left out.  

There are still affordable cities in Florida, such as Jacksonville. So, one solution is to move, which is not always feasible. 

The situation is even worse in much of the world, such as Europe and South America. Their solutions include building up - multiple generations and in-laws living on different floors of the same house. 

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1 hour ago, The Commish said:

 Here in Orlando there's a ton of homeless, and very little housing to provide them.  I do think this is different from one municipality to the next and each has to do some serious self reflection to figure out how to get out of their mess.  The problem is conjuring up the will to make it happen.

This is probably more of a mental health issue.  And "affordable housing" is basically subsidized housing at that point.  Imo, that's a different issue than a young professional or family being able to afford something.

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17 minutes ago, Punxsutawney Phil said:

This is probably more of a mental health issue.  And "affordable housing" is basically subsidized housing at that point.  Imo, that's a different issue than a young professional or family being able to afford something.

Just because many homeless have unmanaged mental health issues does not mean that they are homeless because of them.

I think many would be surprised at how many everyday people successfully manage difficult mental health issues because they are in a stable, supportive environment.  Throw in a job loss, divorce, death in the family, etc. and that same everyday person can end up in the streets without the tools to manage their health.  Now they are a homeless person with degrading mental health issues.

 

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32 minutes ago, Punxsutawney Phil said:

This is probably more of a mental health issue.  And "affordable housing" is basically subsidized housing at that point.  Imo, that's a different issue than a young professional or family being able to afford something.

We can agree to disagree....I've met my share of homeless to know this isn't all a mental health thing.  MOST of the people/families I have run into are homeless because an unexpected medical bill bankrupted them making their credit mush.  I'd say 8 of 10 are in that situation.  I've only been in this area for two years and haven't found a real avenue to connect with the homeless population on a regular basis (that alone is a big flag to me suggesting local municipalities are completely dropping the ball).  On any given morning, I can drive through my local Walmart parking lot and observe people getting ready for work out of the backs of their vehicles.  Those are the people I am talking about...not so much the people on the street corners panhandling.

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2 minutes ago, The Commish said:

MOST of the people/families I have run into are homeless because an unexpected medical bill bankrupted them making their credit mush.  I'd say 8 of 10 are in that situation.  

Eight out of ten have the income to pay the rent but landlords won't rent to them because of poor credit?  That's surprising.

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54 minutes ago, Juxtatarot said:

Eight out of ten have the income to pay the rent but landlords won't rent to them because of poor credit?  That's surprising.

For the housing available,  yes. Of course this is an anecdote. They have been bankrupted and "nicer" places won't take the chance.  And that's all that is available. It's getting tougher and tougher to even rent. In the Charlotte area it was cheaper to buy than rent but you have to have credit to buy. 

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I am in the SF bay area, and housing is around $1300 sqft, it is pretty nuts. With that said, there are still tons of empty "investment" properties around. Foreign buyers and investment firms will buy a house for cash, outbidding anyone who would actually live in it, and then just leave it empty. Even when looking for a house years ago, you could tell which houses would be sold for cash the next day the second you walked into the open house. The really needs to be a heavy tax on unoccupied housing here. 

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1 hour ago, huthut said:

I am in the SF bay area, and housing is around $1300 sqft, it is pretty nuts. With that said, there are still tons of empty "investment" properties around. Foreign buyers and investment firms will buy a house for cash, outbidding anyone who would actually live in it, and then just leave it empty. Even when looking for a house years ago, you could tell which houses would be sold for cash the next day the second you walked into the open house. The really needs to be a heavy tax on unoccupied housing here. 

Homestead laws are how they address it here in Florida.  If it's not your first residence, there's a significant tax increase on the property.

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15 hours ago, [scooter] said:

The problem with making housing more affordable is that it weakens the real estate market, which has been a primary driver of the economy over the past 25 years (excluding the recession).

We love to talk about creating more affordable housing, but we also love watching the value of our homes appreciate at a faster rate than the stock market. I don't think you can have one (affordable housing) without negatively affecting the other (home appreciation).

Also, everyone says they want affordable housing, but not in their neighborhoods.  So they get clustered---and we all have seen what happens when you cluster affordable housing in one place.   

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24 minutes ago, supermike80 said:

Also, everyone says they want affordable housing, but not in their neighborhoods.  So they get clustered---and we all have seen what happens when you cluster affordable housing in one place.   

 

This is a good point - NIMBYism is bad. Not to keep coming back to Austin, but its what I know best. 

The council completely ####ed up a recent land code re-write. But they are trying again. And one of the goals of the new re-write is supposed to be to spread out density and affordable housing all throughout the city - not just concentrated in one area. 

Who knows how this will end but its a good goal.

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1 hour ago, whoknew said:

 

This is a good point - NIMBYism is bad. Not to keep coming back to Austin, but its what I know best. 

The council completely ####ed up a recent land code re-write. But they are trying again. And one of the goals of the new re-write is supposed to be to spread out density and affordable housing all throughout the city - not just concentrated in one area. 

Who knows how this will end but its a good goal.

It's a fine goal.  I will be interested to see if it drives down property values.  Or is people with "means" start secluding themselves even more than they do now.  It's not an experiment that will play out with less than say 5 years, maybe more

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17 hours ago, whoknew said:

I'm surprised it hasn't been a bigger topic in the election. 

Really? You cant pick immigration and housing crisis as headline topics in the same election season. 

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1 hour ago, whoknew said:

 

This is a good point - NIMBYism is bad. Not to keep coming back to Austin, but its what I know best. 

The council completely ####ed up a recent land code re-write. But they are trying again. And one of the goals of the new re-write is supposed to be to spread out density and affordable housing all throughout the city - not just concentrated in one area. 

Who knows how this will end but its a good goal.

If they get their crap together and think it through, it can be a huge success.  Look at Cincinnati Ohio.  They had a section of the city that was completely abandoned and infested with crime and drugs making a night at the performing arts center "an adventure" at best.  City along with investors came up with a plan...part of which included subsidies for housing etc.  Now, it's one of the goto areas of town and there's no sign of it slowing down.  The entire community has bought into what is going on.  Where there's a will, there's a way, but the city and it's politicians have to have the desire to make it happen.

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1 hour ago, parasaurolophus said:

Really? You cant pick immigration and housing crisis as headline topics in the same election season. 

 

I don't understand this.

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23 minutes ago, whoknew said:

 

I don't understand this.

We need to let more people in and we dont have enough housing arent usually things you want to throw out there together. I realize there is more nuance than just that, but nuanced campaign talking points arent usually a good strategy. 

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15 hours ago, The Commish said:

For the housing available,  yes. Of course this is an anecdote. They have been bankrupted and "nicer" places won't take the chance.  And that's all that is available. It's getting tougher and tougher to even rent. In the Charlotte area it was cheaper to buy than rent but you have to have credit to buy. 

It should be cheaper to buy than rent otherwise nothing would be available to rent.

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Can't speak for the mega cities, but part of the crisis is an expectation issue.  What was good enough as starter homes for many of us won't cut it for today's generation.  Even most of the apartments around here are putting in granite counters.  They aren't doing that to be nice, they are expecting an ROI on that investment.

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This is an affordable housing thread so I hate to get in the weeds talking about crime. But some other people raised it above. 

So this is an interesting article. I think it ties together how better affordable housing can help reduce crime - 

 

For years, New York City public-housing residents had requested more streetlights. In 2016, they arrived — in the form of portable, diesel-powered flood lights that blast 600,000 lumens into the night sky. For comparison, a bright indoor lamp might put out 1,600 lumens.

The mobile light towers weren’t permanent. They were part of a six-month, $5 million experiment initiated by the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio in partnership with the housing authority, the police department and researchers at the Crime Lab at the University of Chicago.

Placed at about 40 randomly assigned public-housing developments across the city, the lights led to as much as a 59 percent nighttime decrease in serious crime...

... It suggests that spending on improved living conditions may be a more effective way to reduce crime than spending on increased police presence.

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I've been tracking the Boise housing market as we plan on moving there soon and they are struggling to keep pace with the influx of new people. Prices have skyrocketed the past 5 years or so and it's expanding outward quickly, not just in the city itself. There are plenty of projects planned but most are high end. Two apartment buildings in the city have been completed but the cost for a studio is in the $1200-$1500/month range. All the new stores and restaurants seem to be high end too, making it tougher to live there for those on limited incomes. There are some affordable housing projects being completed but not nearly enough to meet demand.  People have to move further away and commute and that adds to the rising traffic problems.

I think with a normal influx of people they would have been managing well but they underestimated their growth and are struggling to keep up. While about 25% of their growth is from California, the majority is from within Idaho itself as people flock to what is a great up-n-coming city. 

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2 hours ago, whoknew said:

This is an affordable housing thread so I hate to get in the weeds talking about crime. But some other people raised it above. 

So this is an interesting article. I think it ties together how better affordable housing can help reduce crime - 

 

For years, New York City public-housing residents had requested more streetlights. In 2016, they arrived — in the form of portable, diesel-powered flood lights that blast 600,000 lumens into the night sky. For comparison, a bright indoor lamp might put out 1,600 lumens.

The mobile light towers weren’t permanent. They were part of a six-month, $5 million experiment initiated by the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio in partnership with the housing authority, the police department and researchers at the Crime Lab at the University of Chicago.

Placed at about 40 randomly assigned public-housing developments across the city, the lights led to as much as a 59 percent nighttime decrease in serious crime...

... It suggests that spending on improved living conditions may be a more effective way to reduce crime than spending on increased police presence.

I cant read that article since it us paywalled, but from reading other sources it sounds very different from them. I read they actually spent 80 million and that reductions were not very large.  

 

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1 hour ago, jamny said:

I've been tracking the Boise housing market as we plan on moving there soon and they are struggling to keep pace with the influx of new people. Prices have skyrocketed the past 5 years or so and it's expanding outward quickly, not just in the city itself. There are plenty of projects planned but most are high end. Two apartment buildings in the city have been completed but the cost for a studio is in the $1200-$1500/month range. All the new stores and restaurants seem to be high end too, making it tougher to live there for those on limited incomes. There are some affordable housing projects being completed but not nearly enough to meet demand.  People have to move further away and commute and that adds to the rising traffic problems.

I think with a normal influx of people they would have been managing well but they underestimated their growth and are struggling to keep up. While about 25% of their growth is from California, the majority is from within Idaho itself as people flock to what is a great up-n-coming city. 

@Getzlaf15

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2 minutes ago, parasaurolophus said:

I cant read that article since it us paywalled, but from reading other sources it sounds very different from them. I read they actually spent 80 million and that reductions were not very large.  

 

 

Urban Labs in Chicago was the group that ran the study. Its conclusion:

The lights study found that the developments that received new lights experienced crime rates that were significantly lower than would have been the case without the new lights. Among other findings, the study concluded that increased levels of lighting led to a 36% reduction in "index crimes" — a subset of serious felony crimes that includes murder, robbery and aggravated assault, as well as certain property crimes — that took place outdoors at night in developments that received new lighting, with an overall 4% percent reduction in index crimes.

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1 hour ago, jamny said:

I've been tracking the Boise housing market as we plan on moving there soon and they are struggling to keep pace with the influx of new people. Prices have skyrocketed the past 5 years or so and it's expanding outward quickly, not just in the city itself. There are plenty of projects planned but most are high end. Two apartment buildings in the city have been completed but the cost for a studio is in the $1200-$1500/month range. All the new stores and restaurants seem to be high end too, making it tougher to live there for those on limited incomes. There are some affordable housing projects being completed but not nearly enough to meet demand.  People have to move further away and commute and that adds to the rising traffic problems.

I think with a normal influx of people they would have been managing well but they underestimated their growth and are struggling to keep up. While about 25% of their growth is from California, the majority is from within Idaho itself as people flock to what is a great up-n-coming city. 

This is solid, but I disagree with struggling to keep up.  Many interior roads have been and will be widened.   I-84 widening in Nampa and Caldwell started last month.  That's the only bad stretch of daily traffic and it's only a few miles. Cloverdale bridge was just rebuilt in a year.  Chinden Road expansion starts early next year.  There are about 90 projects already set for the next five years and they keep the public well informed.  All that said, traffic isn't 5% of what it is in LA, DEN, SEA, SD, ATL, etc...

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7 minutes ago, Getzlaf15 said:

This is solid, but I disagree with struggling to keep up.  Many interior roads have been and will be widened.   I-84 widening in Nampa and Caldwell started last month.  That's the only bad stretch of daily traffic and it's only a few miles. Cloverdale bridge was just rebuilt in a year.  Chinden Road expansion starts early next year.  There are about 90 projects already set for the next five years and they keep the public well informed.  All that said, traffic isn't 5% of what it is in LA, DEN, SEA, SD, ATL, etc...

Add NYC to that list :thumbup: 

There were a few moments of traffic within the city that I've seen during rush hours but primarily any delays we've run into was due to construction but I can see those 3 huge  possible upcoming projects along Myrtle causing some headaches. Granted, most of my opinion is based on locals complaining about the increased traffic, like taking an hour for what used to take 20 minutes. Also sounds like your public transportation needs some work. 

We're keeping an eye on the Trappers Island project and the 5th and Broad Towers but hope to be there before they are completed, if they ever are. We think about Boise all the time!

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26 minutes ago, whoknew said:

 

Urban Labs in Chicago was the group that ran the study. Its conclusion:

The lights study found that the developments that received new lights experienced crime rates that were significantly lower than would have been the case without the new lights. Among other findings, the study concluded that increased levels of lighting led to a 36% reduction in "index crimes" — a subset of serious felony crimes that includes murder, robbery and aggravated assault, as well as certain property crimes — that took place outdoors at night in developments that received new lighting, with an overall 4% percent reduction in index crimes.

Yeah, I found that and downloaded the PDF. I dont think this study is very beneficial and I would actually go so far as to say it might even be a bit scammy. They don't list the exact sites where the light towers went up, but it seems almost impossible that they didn't overlap with the 140 million in spending on security improvements(80 million in lighting alone that started in 2015). 

They took a small snippet of dates (which they admit has wild fluctuations because so few crimes occur that meet their criteria). So they compared 2011-2015 averages to the window in 2016. And they used as the budget ONLY what was spent on the tower lights and exclude the other spending. I also didn't see a calculation for how the presence of workers maintaining the lights affected anything. They admit that the daytime crime rates around the lights may have been reduced because of the presence of city workers around the lights, but there does not appear to be a calculation assigned. 

I also didn't see an accounting for the fact that these crimes seemed to have declined everywhere, even in areas that didn't have these lights. 

I find that when you see news articles that say something outlandish like hey look, some simple light towers reduced crime 59%, it is almost always BS. But saying the city spent 80 million on lights to reduce crime from 3.4 incidents per month to 3.3 incidents per month in the affected areas, just doesn't have the same ring to it. 

 

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On 8/5/2019 at 1:57 PM, Ditkaless Wonders said:

Sorry, I can't crisis with you.  Not everything is a crisis.  global warming, immigrant detention, gun regulation, china trade.  We have a crisis with the overuse of crisis, for if we do not, with so many afoot, and with the term properly understood, well we can deal with one or two, but not dozens.  We are doomed so just throw up your hands and party.

We have a crisis crisis.

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23 minutes ago, Getzlaf15 said:

This is solid, but I disagree with struggling to keep up.  Many interior roads have been and will be widened.   I-84 widening in Nampa and Caldwell started last month.  That's the only bad stretch of daily traffic and it's only a few miles. Cloverdale bridge was just rebuilt in a year.  Chinden Road expansion starts early next year.  There are about 90 projects already set for the next five years and they keep the public well informed.  All that said, traffic isn't 5% of what it is in LA, DEN, SEA, SD, ATL, etc...

Nampa and Caldwell are NOT Boise.  If you want to live inside the Boise bubble (the Boise they show on magazines as the Best Place to Live), you're going to have to pay up for that.  Depending on where you are coming from it may or may not seem affordable.  A few years ago we used to joke "$300k is the new $200k"; then it became $400k is the new $300k.  Now it seems those affordable houses that were once in the $200's a few years ago are $450k and up.  If you want to live in the North or East End (THE spots to be)...that's going to cost you. A quick look on Trulia shows 7 places in the 83702 zip code listed under $300k.  Those are basically 1 bedroom condos at under 1000 sq feet.  In the 83712 zip code there is NOTHING under $300k.  Getzlaf, will know better than me, but I guessing $450k in the North or East end will get you a 2-3 bedroom on a tiny lot that's livable but will really need $50-100k+ in remodels.  Here's an example (note: sq footage in Boise includes basement footage which I call BS on but everyone does it so when it says 1500 sq feet, what it really means is 750 sq feet above ground and 750 below - and in a 80 year old house - even remodeled can smell a bit musty.  In addition - it deflates the price per sq foot imo. )

Boise North End Example

People who think they are moving here buying the ponderosa for $250k and biking to hip brew pubs and walking from their from porch to a hiking trail will instead find themselves in Nampa or Caldwell and dealing with traffic (yes - not a bad as LA but there's a lot more traffic than you think there is).  Boise is great.  We love it here.  But we live inside the bubble and the entrance fee ain't cheap.  In some ways I think they've done a good job in planing the future of the city.  In other ways, it's full on developer greed.

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