Housing

Jacqueline Hutchinson, Co-Chair of the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance SLEHCRA coalition, discussed Tuesday a new report that indicates significant racial and income disparities in home purchase lending in St. Louis.
Wiley Price | The St. Louis American

Amid a long stretch of boarded-up store fronts in the Baden neighborhood, a coalition of equal-housing advocates rallied outside today to decry the mortgage lending disparities in the St. Louis region.

A slide from a presentation during an April 2015  fair housing conference shows how Section 8 vouchers are concentrated in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County, and that most voucher holders are black.
courtesy Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Housing officials have spent months educating renters and landlords about a new St. Louis ordinance — one designed to protects those using government rental vouchers.

But, according to the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council, some landlords are still ignoring the rule and denying homes to people who get the government's help to pay their bills.

Pruitt-Igoe, with the Vaughn Housing Complex at right
U.S. Geological Survey

A researcher with the Economic Policy Institute says the federal government needs to recognize that it played a deliberate role in creating racially segregated neighborhoods in cities like St. Louis.

At a Missouri History Museum Symposium Saturday, the think tank’s Richard Rothstein drew a direct line between today’s segregated schools and neighborhoods and two federal housing programs from the 1930s, 40s and 50s: public housing and subsidized construction.

Sparkle Burns, a community coach with Jobs Plus, entertains Kylie Short while the nine-month-old's mother works on her resume at Clinton-Peabody's Al Chappelle Center.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

At 53, Lucretia Hollins is older than your average cheerleader. But that, in essence, is what she’s paid 20 hours a week to be. Hollins encourages her neighbors to sign up — and stick with — a new job-training program at their public housing complex, the Clinton-Peabody in St. Louis' near south-side.

“It’s not so much about the paycheck. It’s about being able to help somebody else,” said Hollins. “Because I know where I was at, and you can’t let your circumstances in life take you out.”

A water stain on a basement wall.
provided by EPA

Indoor mold can pose a health hazard for people with allergies, asthma or lung illnesses. But there are few regulations for what St. Louis area landlords are required to do about it.

Lee Camp, an attorney for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, estimates that a quarter of his housing cases involve disputes with a tenant and their landlord over mold.   

A new report finds the rate of homeownership among foreign-born residents in St. Louis is lower than the nation's.
Jim Larrison | Flickr

As St. Louis leaders are looking to turn the city into the fastest-growing metro region for immigrants in the next few years to spur economic growth, a new report shows that a majority of the city's foreign-born residents don't own their own homes. 

Little boy trying spinach.
Veronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

A single school is like an entire community.

You've got the mayor, or principal. There is the general population, the students and their parents. There's a grocery store in the form of a cafeteria. And the teachers are kind of like doctors and police officers rolled into one. Within that batch of characters, there are gossips and scofflaws; actors and judges; even engineers and critics.

Chris Krehmeyer
Provided by Beyond Housing

If you ask many St. Louisans what they like about the region, many will cite that its cost of living is a big plus. Housing in St. Louis is generally believed to be affordable — but not for all.

A slide from a presentation during an April 2015  fair housing conference shows how Section 8 vouchers are concentrated in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County, and that most voucher holders are black.
courtesy Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Almost 45 percent of St. Louis-area children living in Section 8 housing go to schools ranked in the bottom 10th percentile of the state. That’s almost 20 percent worse than the national average, according to a report compiled by the Poverty & Race Research Action Council.

“The way we’ve organized our schools is keeping low-income kids and kids of color separate from white kids in the region. And they’re being separated in a way that exposes them to lower-performing, lower-resource schools. And that’s just not fair,” said Phil Tegeler, executive director of the council.

Apartments in the Renaissance Place neighborhood in North St. Louis, which includes subsidized and market-rate housing.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s no shortage of incentive programs to install energy-efficient appliances and fixtures in Missouri, but a new report shows that affordable, multi-family housing units are often left out of the mix.

According to the paper from the National Resources Defense Council, only 30 percent of households in those buildings within Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois' service areas are participating in energy efficiency programs. Energy costs can disproportionately impact low-income families, who spend nearly 14 percent of their annual income on utilities, according to the Missouri Department of Energy.

Berkeley website

The Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council has filed a fair housing complaint against the city of Berkeley. The complaint stems from a dispute over the type of identification needed for occupancy permits in Berkley.

According to city ordinances, individuals can use U.S. or foreign issued IDs to apply for permits needed to live in Berkeley.

Ferguson realtor Pearce Neikirk gives a tour of a single-family home on the north side of town. Since the unrest, the seller has reduced the home's price by $9,000.
Emanuele Berry / St. Louis Public Radio

While giving a tour of a two-story, French colonial style home that's for sale on the north side of Ferguson, realtor Pearce Neikirk said the past months have been hard on his business.

“All of us are working without the rule book here,” Neikirk said. “We don’t know how to work with this kind of a situation.”

(via Flickr/MoneyPit)

Younger families are not recovering as quickly from the recession as their elders.

An analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that families headed by someone younger than 40 have recovered only about one-third of their pre-recession wealth.

Meanwhile older families have nearly regained their pre-crisis level of wealth.

So, why are those under 40 having a harder time recovering?

(Flickr/Jessica Perdue)

Following a two-year recovery in the housing market, the National Association of Realtors’ chief economist expects sales to level off.

"Right now there are two opposing forces; higher mortgage rate anticipation, which is always a negative, and more job creation, which is a positive." said Lawrence Yun, "So, I think it will be a more neutral year in terms of home sales."

Yun spoke to members of the St. Louis Association of Realtors Thursday morning. His key points for this market:

(via Flickr/woodleywonderworks)

A Missouri appeals court says a legal dispute over St. Louis County's foreclosure mediation ordinance is moot after a recently enacted state law.

St. Louis County's 2012 ordinance required that lenders give residential borrowers a chance to mediate before their homes are foreclosed. Missouri lawmakers this year approved legislation making real estate loans subject only to state and federal laws. It was aimed at overturning local foreclosure mediation ordinances. Gov. Jay Nixon allowed the law to take effect on Aug. 28.

Our Adam Allington reports for Marketplace.

(via Flickr/Images_Of_Money)

So, another week, and yet more news the U.S. housing market is slowly returning to normal.

Numbers released on Tuesday by the Commerce Department show that builders broke ground on homes last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000. That's up from 910,000 in January. And it's the second-fastest pace since June 2008, behind December's rate of 982,000.

(via Flickr/401K)

A new report says the region's home prices rose 4.3 percent in January from the same month in 2012.

The real estate analysis firm CoreLogic released the report Tuesday. The firm says the data offer more evidence that a housing recovery is finally under way in St. Louis.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that excluding distress sales, prices in January were up 3.6 percent.

Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio

120 mixed-income apartments are now available to residents of St. Louis’18th Ward, just north of the old Gaslight Square.

The project, called "North Sarah Apartments," is a LEED-certified green community, with garden style and townhouse apartments.

18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy said the project was envisioned by residents over 10 years ago.

Central to their idea, Kennedy says, was the restoration of a commercial district on North Sarah Street.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed suit against ratings agency Standard and Poor's for fraudulently assigning high ratings to mortgage-backed investments despite their risk.

The suit filed today in Cook County - the state's largest - argues that instead of independently evaluating mortgage-backed securities, S&P gave them higher ratings than warranted to benefit investment bank clients and the agency's bottom line.

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St. Clair County will take over a multi-million dollar federally funded housing program in East St. Louis.

(via Flickr/yomanimus)

Missouri is lagging in its use of federal stimulus money intended to make homes more energy efficient for low-income residents.

Missouri received nearly $129 million in home weatherization funds for low-income residents under the 2009 federal stimulus bill. As of the end of January, just $47 million of that had been spent. That amounts to 37 percent of the total.

(via Flickr/ Giles Douglas)

More not-so-great economic news for the St. Louis region today.

The Home Builders Association of St. Louis and Eastern Missouri released its data on the number of permits issued by the six counties (St. Louis, St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren and Franklin) and the city of St. Louis. They show that builders were looking to start construction on just 120 new single-family homes in January 2011. That's down more than 40 percent from January 2010, and is the lowest monthly total since November of 2008.

Square footage still trumps eco-friendliness

Feb 5, 2011

Want to add a little green to your weekend? Take a listen to Adam Allington's feature on house size and the impact of green technology on the housing economy. It aired on Marketplace Money today.

Also, be sure to listen for a local story on a similar topic airing Monday (Feb. 7) on St. Louis Public Radio.

(Places for People)

The non-profit organization Places for People broke ground today on a 23 unit apartment building that will provide housing for the chronically homeless in St. Louis. Organizers say it's Missouri's first affordable development funded by the state's housing commission.

A Missouri agency that finances low-income housing will redo a vote on ethics policy changes that occurred in a closed session.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday that it raised concerns the closed meeting by a subcommittee of the Missouri Housing Development Commission may have violated the state's open-meetings law.