Charlotte Sets Public Hearing Date for New TOD Ordinance

img_1355.jpgThe City of Charlotte has set a February 25th Public Hearing date for a new Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Zoning Ordinance, despite a key Building Height Bonus provision still undergoing revision.

REBIC and other industry groups have worked with City staff on the draft for more than a year, as part of a comprehensive stakeholder review process that has seen a number of restrictive provisions pared down or eliminated. But the Building Height Bonus provision, intended to encourage the construction of Affordable Housing units along transit corridors, was only unveiled on December 13th, and has yet to be modeled for effectiveness.

The Height Bonus, which is designed to advance City policy priorities such as affordable housing, open space preservation and sustainability, will give developers the opportunity to amass points that can be used to increase their building height. It would allow buildings to rise as high as 300′ in the highest-density TOD district when the maximum amount of points are obtained. Developers would also be able to increase their building height by paying a fee-in-lieu that that would go into the city’s Housing Trust Fund. Continue reading

What a Government Shutdown Means for the Real Estate Industry

img_0100

As of midnight on December 21, 2018, the President and Congress were unable to agree on the provisions of a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government. As a result, a partial shutdown of some government operations has occurred. This partial shutdown includes some federal housing, mortgage, and other programs of interest to the real estate industry. A summary of the impact on selected agencies is provided below.

Continue reading

Flood Insurance Extended to December 21st

On December 6, 2018, the House and Senate passed a two-week extension of the National Flood Insurance Program. The President is expected to sign the measure.

The program is being extended as part of a temporary appropriations bill called a continuing resolution to avoid a partial shutdown of the federal government. The legislation will move the funding deadline for fiscal 2019 spending bills that are still outstanding to Dec. 21.

By extending flood insurance as part of the continuing resolution, the next extension could be part of a long-term funding agreement, potentially running through September of next year.

NAR supports long-term reauthorization and reforms to strengthen the program.

Read more here.

Mortgage Loan Limits to Rise in 2019 to Keep Pace With Home Prices

Conforming loan limits got a boost for 2019 in nearly every part of the U.S. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, a regulator for mortgage financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced that conforming loan limits will rise in 2019 to $484,350 in most parts of the country. That marks a 6.9 percent increase over this year’s $453,100.

The FHFA limits set the maximum single-family mortgage amounts that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will finance, as well as limits for the Federal Housing Administration program.

mortgage

“These limits are important for funding home sales in high-cost coastal markets like California, Virginia, and Maryland, but are increasingly important in other markets like Nashville and Denver, along with those in Utah and Wyoming,” the National Association of REALTORS® notes in a release.

The FHFA also announced an increase to loan limits in “high-cost areas,” where 115 percent of the local median home value is higher than the baseline loan limit. The new limit for one-unit properties in most high-cost areas will be $726,525 in 2019, rising from the current $679,650.

This is the third consecutive year that the FHFA has increased conforming loan limits. Justifying the rise, the FHFA notes that home prices are still increasing.

Read more here.

Kannapolis Development Ordinance Re-write

Earlier this week, the City of Kannapolis began a two-year process of updating their Unified Development Ordinance (Kannapolis Development Ordinance – KDO). The process started with a series of stakeholder interviews with staff to gain perspective on their experiences in Kannapolis and the region. The next step in the process should start in February 2019 with community feedback sessions.

9EAA98F2-361A-45F0-953F-9861BE1E0915

The main goal is to create an ordinance that is internally consistent, modernized, aligned with contemporary zoning and subdivision best practices, and more user-friendly.

To stay up to date with the process click here. REBIC will continue to stay engaged with this process and keep our members updated.

Why We’ll be Voting YES for City Bonds

Bonds

by Joe Padilla, REBIC Executive Director

Charlotte has an Affordable Housing crisis — it’s an undeniable fact. Our crisis is not unlike those faced by dozens of American cities, large and small, where a limited supply of land and rooftops pushes rents and home prices out of reach for many. It’s a unfortunate byproduct of our own success, driven by the growing appeal of a city that continues to attract more than 40 new residents a day with our high quality of life, temperate weather and strong job market.

What is also undeniable is that the need for affordable housing exists across much of the income spectrum. The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) pegs the Charlotte MSA’s Area Median Income (AMI) right around $74,000. Using the rule of thumb that no one should spend no more than 30% of their gross income on housing, a family of four earning 80% of AMI ($56,550 a year) could pay a maximum of about $1,400 a month in order to avoid being what the government considers ‘cost burdened.’ On the lower end of the income spectrum, a family of four at 30% AMI ($35,350) shouldn’t exceed about $883 in monthly housing costs.

For any family earning below Charlotte’s Area Median Income, the challenge of finding affordable housing is very real. The City’s deficit of more than 34,000 new or renovated affordable units covers this entire spectrum of incomes — from the teachers, restaurant workers and landscapers at the upper end to the working poor toward the bottom.

There’s no silver bullet that will make this challenge go away overnight — but bold public funding investments are the most effective tool. That’s why REBIC and our member associations strongly endorse the $50 million in City Housing Bonds on this year’s ballot. The money raised through the bond issue — along with matching private investments committed by our largest corporate citizens — would go into City’s Housing Trust Fund, ensuring all Charlotte taxpayers have skin in the game when it comes to addressing our affordable housing crisis.

Some have argued that the Trust Fund should be used to exclusively address needs at the lowest end of our income spectrum, where they say it would have the greatest impact. They’ve even advocated for voting against the Housing Bond Referendum until the City commits to this strategy. But this position ignores the complex challenges of underwriting subsidized housing deals, which typically require a unit mix with rents across the income scale. And focusing exclusively on housing for families earning below 30% AMI would lead to undesirable concentrations of poverty that City leaders have vowed to avoid.

Like poverty itself, the affordable housing crisis will never fully disappear. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take steps that will produce meaningful results for thousands of our neighbors who need assistance. That’s why we’re asking members of Charlotte’s real estate community to vote YES for the City Bond Referendum on this year’s ballot.

Councilman Mitchell Hosting Town Hall on Public Sector Business Opportunities

2018-town-hall_-mitchell_oct.jpg