Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Efforts to help homeowners should include renters

One way to help both homeowners and renters would be to allow struggling homeowners to rent out space in their house for renters. This would provide more places for rent to help renters. Also help pay the homeowner's mortgage.

I'm sure this is happening a lot, but it runs amok of local zoning rules in many cases. Here's where zoning rules should be rethought. Federal government could encourage local communities to allow these solutions to happen.

The entire economy can benefit from availability of more affordable housing. In some cases this could mean higher neighborhood densities which also means shorter commutes.

I'm remembering "carbon footprint," "energy independence" as goals of an economy as well. Not just maximizing prosperity.

If the government ends up taking over foreclosed properties, here is one idea.

They could allow HUD to manage these properties and use them as rentals.

I hear people groaning. Stereotypes of welfare moms moving into neighborhoods and sinking property values still further.

Not that I wish to put people into poverty, but remember, many middle class and upper middle class have made out quite well on selling their home over the past years of this bubble. Here in Bellingham, we see affects of this wealth in the many retired and "retired early" folks moving here.

55 is the new 65.

Retire early if you sold at the right time. Sold, not just in California, but many markets.

The good news is, the spending power of these new retirees keeps our retailing economy strong in spite of the fact that we have lost much of our local industrial base, including Georgia Pacific, for instance.

The bad news is, it's harder to get onto that bandwagon for people entering the housing market, or even just finding an affordable place to rent.

Is the "home seller retire early economy" sustainable? Is this a distortion of our economy?

Much of this housing bubble has had the assistance of the federal government.

Programs have helped people get into homes over the years. After getting help, people have often sold their house for a huge profit. In some cases a profit created by the formation of this price bubble.

Assistance for being a homeowner could be rethought and turned into a "partial ownership" solution. Since it looks like political candidates are suggesting a raft of new proposals to assist home owners in the wake of the recent crisis it's time to have this kind of discussion.

Both McCain and Obama have various proposals.

Homeowner assistance programs should be redesigned to expect something back from people that get assistance.

Give something back, years down the road when the house sells.

This could help reign in those house value bubbles that damage the economy.

More than just wealthy bankers have profited from the bubbles. A lot of lucky homeowners profited if they sold at the right time.

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