Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Mon Oct 26 17:25:07 PST 1998

[this bounced for inexplicable reasons]

Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1998 09:58:09 -0700 From: Tim Stroshane <.TIS1 at ci.berkeley.ca.us> Subject: Home Owmership This High -Reply Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain Content-Disposition: inline

Clinton's HUD also strives to take credit for the high home-ownership rate. Increasing homeownership has been one of the wispy threads of urban policy the Clinton admin has had since 1993.

One way HUD has done this is to raise the limits on home mortgages that are insured by Federal Housing Administration. The most recent HUD appropriation to clear Congress and signed by the Prez raises the limits from $86,317 to $109,032 in low-cost areas (like parts of the midwest, for example) and from $170,362 to $197,621 in high cost areas (like NY, LA/Orange County, and SF Bay Area, where I work).

Some municipalities, like the City of Berkeley, have small "first-time home-buyer assistance programs" which qualify people to receive down-payment assistance (I think our cap is up to $20,000), and sends them to a class on what it means to own a home (e.g., maintenance, taxes, insurance, household budgeting, etc.). Other places have inclusionary zoning ordinances which require developers of ownership housing to "include" "affordable" housing in their new subdivisions. In Berkeley, we have such an ordinance. Its effect can mean that the price of a condo unit here might be 50 to 60 percent of a market-rate condo price, a substantial discount in the Bay Area market. Just Tuesday, I agreed with a developer that two such units would be priced at $106,900 and $96,200. If more municipalities had such programs there would likely be even more home ownership nationwide.

Many, but not all, people like the idea of controlling something of their immediate environment, and an important part of that psychological satisfaction (need) is owning your home.

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