Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Virus declining, future of cities, a gathering place park for Houston, dangerous home financing, and more

Hope everyone is staying safe - things are starting to look pretty good here, let's hope the trend holds:

Moving on to this week's items:
"Put another way, if, as seems likely, higher-income employees simply take advantage of working remotely to fan out more broadly across the country, the housing market and the nature of cities will change dramatically. The peaks in places of high demand will fall. Demand may be spread out, making housing easier to afford. New construction of less-dense housing types may find a place in today’s highest-cost cities, and renovation may take off elsewhere. 
Some will argue that this will undermine the intellectual and commercial innovation that has historically sprouted from the close contacts of cities. The popularity of Zoom meetings and flexible hours suggests otherwise. 
Without a doubt, though, the coronavirus will have implications for where Americans want to live and work. The status quo ante is unlikely to return."
"The country’s three largest metropolitan areas, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, all lost population in the past several years, according to an analysis by William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. Even slightly smaller metro areas, like Houston, Washington, D.C., and Miami grew far less slowly. In all, growth in the country’s major metropolitan areas fell by nearly half over the course of the past decade, Mr. Frey found.
Now, as local leaders contemplate how to reopen, the future of life in America’s biggest, most dense cities is unclear. Mayors are already warning of precipitous drops in tax revenue from joblessness. Public spaces like parks and buses, the central arteries of urban life, have become danger zones. And with vast numbers of professionals now working remotely, some may reconsider whether they need to live in the middle of a big city after all. 
Before the pandemic, millennials and older members of Generation Z were already increasingly choosing smaller metro areas like Tucson, Ariz.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Columbus, Ohio, according to Mr. Frey. Also growing were exurbs and newer suburbs outside large cities. 
“There was a dispersion from larger metros to smaller metros, from urban cores to suburbs and exurbs,” he said." ... 
“The folks that currently live in New York, that stay there full time that aren’t snowbirds, they are going to be like, ‘You know what? That’s it. Density is something we don’t want to deal with anymore.’"
  • NYT: A Cheaper Roof Over Your Head During the Pandemic? A relatively new arrangement, combining the advantages of renting and buying, could help people keep their homes and help millennials enter the housing market. But hidden within that idea is a danger.  This is deeply concerning to me because it means Wall Street will start hiring lobbying firms to block new housing supply so their assets maximize their appreciation. Not good and not healthy for society.
"More generally, increasing the demand for housing cannot resolve the public’s housing affordability woes in America’s expensive coastal cities. Only increasing supply can. Housing costs are high in those cities because for decades strong demand for housing has been met with local land-use policy that severely limited new construction. Even a pandemic, with a recession in its wake, won’t stem housing price appreciation in the long term. 
Increasing people’s buying power, even if it emerges from something as significant as giving up on traditional ownership, won’t improve the state of housing affordability. As long as demand is fundamentally strong, building more housing is the only thing that will help."
Finally, has anyone heard of or seen The Gathering Place in Tulsa. Super cool. We need one in Houston! Any big philanthropists want to step up?...

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At 11:37 AM, April 27, 2020, Anonymous Mike said...

How can the "Combined Daily Case Count" bar graph be correct when the number of cases in Harris County keeps going up, according to this? Was at 4,800 a week ago. https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-USA/0100B5K8423/index.html

At 12:02 PM, April 27, 2020, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Your graph is the cumulative total cases (including people who have gotten better) - the graph I posted is the new cases added each day.

At 12:18 PM, April 27, 2020, Anonymous Mike said...

Ok, title is confusing - "Daily Case Count" sounds like they're just making a daily count.

At 12:20 PM, April 27, 2020, Anonymous Mike said...

What is the source?

At 1:09 PM, April 27, 2020, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Harris County Public Health


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