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Vol. 22 Issue 5
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Pierce and Thurston Markets Strengthen; Kitsap Declines Apartment Insights 1st quarter results show the Pierce and Kitsap rental markets rebounding, but the Kitsap market continuing to weaken according to Tom Cain of Apartment Insights. The data are from his Seattle firm’s statistics and trends on 50+ unit properties in Pierce, Kitsap and Thurston counties. VACANCY: 6.24% The market vacancy for conventional, stabilized 50+ unit properties in all three counties is 6.24%, down slightly from 6.6% last quarter. The vacancy rate was 6.72% a year ago. The vacancy rate for all properties including those in lease-up is 6.97%, down from 7.68% in the fourth quarter. Pierce: 5.69% Pierce County's vacancy rate of 5.69% is an improvement over the 6.55% rate last quarter. A year ago it was 6.41%. Continued on page 3
Clearing the Air: Best Practices for Enforcing Smoke-free Rules Not long ago, it was common to smell cigarette smoke in Washington workplaces and restaurants. But with mounting evidence that secondhand smoke causes disease and death, and the passage of Washington’s smoke-free indoor air law, people have come to expect clean air where they work and live. Secondhand smoke can cause heart attacks, lung cancer, and trigger longer and more severe asthma attacks in children. It is responsible for an estimated 49,400 deaths among non-smoking adults in the U.S. each year. Yet the home remains one of the most common places where people continue to be exposed—often due to secondhand smoke drifting from a neighboring unit or patio. Professional Publishing, Inc PO Box 30327 Portland, OR 97294-3327
Today, no-smoking rules are becoming the norm. In fact, ninetytwo percent of Washington renters prefer smoke-free housing. Over the last 10 years, thousands of rental properties across Washington and the nation have gone smoke-free. The trend reflects the benefits of reduced cleaning and turnover costs, fire and property damage prevention, and cleaner, healthier residences. The key to successfully implementing a no-smoking rule is clear and consistent enforcement. Taking the rule seriously from the start, and ensuring that it applies equally to all residents, will send a clear message that smoking is not allowed. Continued on page 5
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Apartment Industry Outlines Tax Reform Principles for Congress Tax reform must be comprehensive and take special care not to harm the thousands of businesses involved in multifamily real estate nor the 35 million Americans who call an apartment home. This was the focus of testimony by the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC) and the National Apartment Association (NAA) before the House Committee on Ways and Means recently. Representing NMHC and NAA, Thomas Moran, Chairman and Managing Partner of Moran & Company, testified on the need to meet the housing needs of what the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies research suggests is up to seven million new renter households this decade. Continued on page 9 Page 16 Washington Apartment Association
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION RENEWS FUNDING FOR... Page 14
APARTMENTS. WE LIVE HERE. WE WORK HERE. WE SPEND HERE. Page 6
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Chapter 27 Institute of Real Estate Management IREM AND CCIM TAKE KEY COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE ISSUES TO...
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ON-SITE Pierce ...continued from front page University Place/Fircrest at 4.86% has the lowest vacancy rate among the seven submarkets in Pierce. The Tacoma South submarket is the highest at 6.58% vacancy. Kitsap: 10.12% The market has continued to deteriorate in Kitsap County with the vacancy rate climbing from 7.34% to 10.12% this quarter. A year ago the vacancy rate was 8.35%. Bremerton saw its vacancy rate climb 600 basis points to 14.46%. Port Orchard actually saw its vacancy rate improve for the second straight quarter. It stands at 5.64%, and has the lowest vacancy rate of the four Kitsap submarkets. Thurston: 5.42% Thurston County's vacancy rate dropped to 5.42% from 6.21%. It's been two years since a submarket in Thurston was below 5% vacant. This quarter the vacancy rate fell to 4.84% in Tumwater. Olympia has the highest rate at 6.05%. RENTAL INCENTIVES Pierce: $22 per Month (2.61%) Kitsap: $35 per Month (4.02%) Thurston: $16 per Month (1.9%) The overall rate for rental incentives for the three-county area is 2.71%, down from 3.42% in the previous quarter. Thurston had a remarkable reduction in incentives, plunging to $16 from $41 in the fourth quarter. Forty percent of the properties in the three-county area are offering incentives, down from 46% in the fourth quarter. RENTS: $854 Average rents for the overall market bumped up $2 to $854. Rents have been flat since 2Q 2011. Pierce: $843 per Month $0.99 per Square Foot Kitsap: $895 per Month $1.05 per Square Foot Thurston: $843 per Month $1.00 per Square Foot
Rents fell $9 per month in Kitsap, and increased $2 in Pierce and $4 in Thurston. NEW CONSTRUCTION There are 841 units under construction in the three-county area, most of which are in Pierce. There are 560 units that have completed the design review process, and another 2,910 units that are in the earlier stages of the construction pipeline. Construction has recently started on Phase II of The Outlook in Graham, featured in the photo. Managed by Riverstone Residential, the 92-unit addition is scheduled to be completed in September, 2013. OBSERVATIONS Each of the three counties experienced significant change this quarter. Buoyed by an improving economy and returning troops, the vacancy rate dropped from 6.55% to 5.69% in Pierce and 6.21% to 5.42% in Thurston. Although there wasn't much upward movement in rents, the dollar value of rental incentives declined, and there were fewer properties offering them. Conversely, the market in Kitsap continued to falter this quarter as a result of U.S. Navy ship deployment. Rents dropped and the vacancy rate climbed to 10.12%. Tom Cain of Apartment Insights Washington is a member of the nonprofit Central Puget Sound Real Estate Research Committee in charge of providing apartment rent and vacancy data. Tom has been a member of the Committee for over 25 years, and has been researching apartment market trends in the Seattle area since 1978. His company surveys the five counties in Central and South Puget Sound. This article highlights survey results that subscribers can access from an online database of all 50u+ properties. Apartment Insights also provides customized rent reports and market reports. www.apartmentinsightswa.com 206632-2220
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On-Site Northwest â€˘ May 2013
DZ & ON-SITE
What Were You Thinking Moments! By Dana Brown and Zach Howell
DANA BROWN AND ZACH HOWELL
Spring is here! Do we welcome and expect everything to fall into place or do we prepare for our residents and protect our asset. Margo Manager - Dana, our phone traffic at the property has been great, We have been setting appointments like crazy. The problem, no one is showing up for the appointments to tour. Dana: Margo Manager, When was the last time that you walked your property? I would guess it has been awhile! MM: Dana, it has been awhile, I have been very busy and I depend on my team to ensure everything looks great. D: Margo Manager, really, “What Were You Thinking?” As Manager, it is one of your responsibilities to walk you site, preferably weekly, as a lot can change in a week. The appointments are being missed probably as a result of driving onto the property and not receiving a GREAT First Impression!
Every season brings a list of items that need to be prepared for and reviewed with your teams. Margo, this is a great training tool to do every quarter with your team, maintenance and office staff. I suggest making a checklist for your team; this is a teachable moment and an opportunity to set clear expectations. Your community should be crisp and clean, look great to your prospective & current residents. Residents should also feel confident that you can handle any situations. Here is my check list: 1. Preventative Maintenance – Take care of any property issues before they become a BIG property issue and expense 2. Landscaping a. Broken sprinkler heads – Cost money b. Water main breaks – what to look for in financials and property c. Over grown during winter, liability issues – what do they look like d. Moss 3. Curb appeal a. Painted red & Yellow curbs – Nothing worse than chipping paint
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b. Dead flowers removed –Is this how we take care of our property, drive bys think so! c. Balloon string removed from A-Boards – What does this say about us???? Lazy 4. Pool a. What to do to get ready to open your pool for the season b. Pool Furniture – Remember, it has been sitting for a year 5. Office a. Brighten up to match the season b. Do a spring clean – it makes a difference to you and customers 6. Property Walk a. Tour Route b. Models c. Globes free of cob webs and dirt d. Trash receptacle areas Here is a list to get you started and add to the list. MM: Dana, you are right. We sometimes just get busy in our daily operations and we forget to review the things that are so important for us to do our jobs and represent the property and company in a professional manner.
D: Thank you Margo Manager, now you can get some expert ideas from Zach, this is just part of what he teaches his teams to be successful and limit liability on many levels. Zach, what is your check list? Z: I believe in being proactive rather than reactive. If you can prevent fires from happening, then you will waste less time fighting fires. So, how do we prevent the “proverbial” fires from starting? Two words: Preventative Maintenance. A solid PM program should be seasonally based. In the Summer months our properties are used differently than in the Winter. So being that Summer is coming let’s look at a proper Summer PM checklist and its benefits. Obviously, if you have a pool then Memorial Day is the deadline for getting it in line. As for the other items, sometimes they can slip your mind as your focus turns to the outdoors. Remember your HVAC systems are going to be ramped up and at the least filters should be changed. Ideally, an annual preventative maintenance schedule should be implemented on these larger components to ensure proper functionality and to extend the life of the component. Continued on page 9
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ON-SITE Clearing ...continued from front page The following guidelines will help establish your no-smoking rule: • Write the policy into your lease. Make sure all current and new residents know where smoking is and is not allowed, and that the rule also applies to their guests. • Advertise your property as “no smoking.” Research shows that many renters are even willing to pay more for smoke-free housing. • Tell prospective residents that the building is smoke-free before they apply for an apartment, and remind them as they move in. • Post signs that clearly identify the smoke-free areas on your property. • Offer support to help residents quit smoking. Research shows that smoke-free housing can help residents quit. Useful tools are available at www.SmokeFreeWashing ton.com.
Property managers, owners and residents can work together to establish smoke-free housing. When you visit the property, ask residents if they are happy with the rules, and take note of anything that might indicate smoking, like cigarette butts or ashtrays for example. If you learn that a resident is smoking, enforce the rule like any other. Consider having a friendly face-to-face chat to remind them that they live in a smoke-free property. If there is a second incident, follow up with a nice but firm warning letter that outlines the next steps. Damage like burn holes, stains and carpet odors are expensive to clean when a resident moves out. Some vendors charge more for carpet cleaning or painting due to smoke damage. You may want to use a third party vendor to verify smoke damage and note the charges on the resident’s move-out security deposit statement.
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Free resources, including an online guide to going smoke-free, are available at www.SmokeFreeWashington. com. Visit the site to read stories from other landlords, and to find tools to help you with the process. Ultimately, going smoke-free is a win-win for you and your residents. One year after my company went smoke-free, an independent resident survey found that nearly three-quarters of all residents were happy with the policy—and 43 percent of residents who smoked even reported smoking less!
Smoke-free housing can promote better business and, ultimately, better health. Going smoke-free is the perfect way to protect your bottom line and do the right thing for residents and staff. Amanda Clark is a senior portfolio manager with Guardian Management LLC, a division of Guardian Real Estate Services in Portland, Oregon that manages 280 properties in 7 states. www. gres.com
BECOME GREEN BROKER CERTIFIED As a broker or property manager, obtaining the Green Broker certiﬁcation will help you to identify and discuss essential issues related to green features of real estate you manage, provide advice and counsel on the beneﬁts of building and managing Green. The program oﬀers 30 hours of continuing education credit for real estate licensees, and all graduates have the right to display the certiﬁcation on their business cards and marketing materials. Already LEED Certiﬁed? The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has approved the technical and instructional quality of this course for 30 GBCI CE Hours towards the LEED Credential Maintenance Program. Interested in more information? Visit www.greenbrokereducaton.com. Questions? Contact Tricia at the Commercial Brokers Association.
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INSTITUTE OF REAL ESTATE MANAGEMENT President • Barry Blanton VP Finance • Mark Grey
Past President • Faye Crow
VP Membership • Glen Bachman
VP Communications • Christy Mays
IREM and CCIM Take Key Commercial Real Estate Issues to Capitol Hill 240 Meetings with Legislators from 28 States Focus on Carried Interest, Internet Sales Tax Fairness, and Lead Paint in Commercial Buildings Some 320 members of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM®) and the CCIM Institute recently visited Capitol Hill to raise awareness of key issues affecting the commercial real estate industry. IREM® and CCIM Members representing 28 states and the District of Columbia held 240 meetings with their respective senators, representatives and their staffs to raise awareness of the industry’s legislative positions on:
• Carried Interest • Internet Sales Tax Fairness • Lead Paint in Commercial Buildings CARRIED INTEREST Issue Highlights: A carried interest is designed to act as an incentive for a general partner to maintain and enhance the value of a given real estate property so that the operation of the property is a value-added
TONY CONTI, CIC
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proposition. The carried interest of the general partner(s) historically has been taxed at capital gains rates, just as the limited partners’ gains are taxed at capital gains rates. IREM and CCIM Position: IREM and CCIM Institute oppose any proposal that would eliminate capital gains treatment for any carried interest of a real estate partnership. Action Urged: IREM and CCIM Institute urge Congress to oppose an increase to the tax treatment of carried interest for real estate partnerships. The real estate sector continues to recover from a devastating recession. Making changes that would further hinder the flow of capital into real estate markets will prolong the weakening of our economy. INTERNET SALES TAX FAIRNESS Issue Highlights: Under current law, purchases made online are subject to sales tax through what is
known as a use tax. Consumers who live in states with a sales tax are legally obligated to report and pay sales taxes on ALL purchases made online, although the majority of them are unaware of this obligation, and very few pay this sales tax. Conversely, brick and mortar retailers are required by law to collect the tax on behalf of the state. This inequity is putting some stores out of businesses because online retailers are not paying the same rate in taxes. IREM and CCIM Position: IREM and CCIM support consistent state/ local sales/use taxes for economically equivalent transactions in the state or locality in which the goods are delivered. IREM and CCIM support a level playing field for local in-store retailers and remote merchants (including Internet merchants). IREM and CCIM believe that local and state governments should enforce existing taxes rather than create new Continued on page 7
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ON-SITE IREM ...continued from page 6 ones. IREM and CCIM firmly oppose any new programs that would impose taxes on the cost of such services, such as fees and other costs associated with the purchase and ownership of real estate. Action Urged: IREM and CCIM Institute urge Congress to support H.R. 684 and S.336 to modernize our nation’s tax policy and provide equity between online and brick-and-mortar retailers. LEAD PAINT IN COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS Issue Highlights: The Toxic Substance Control Act includes a provision that requires the EPA to create and implement guidelines for renovation activities that may create a risk of lead exposure in public and commercial buildings constructed before 1978. After being subjected to lawsuits about the EPA focusing only on residential properties, the EPA is now working on the commercial issue.
accountability of agency rule makers to elected officials. As well, both organizations support a viable substitute to the legislative veto considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and also endorse the need to shift the burden of proof in justifying agency regulations toward the agency. Action Urged: IREM and CCIM Institute urge Members of Congress to be increasingly aware of capricious rule-making. As well, the organizations and are now working to identify senators and congressmen willing to issue a letter asking the EPA to ensure that it has identified an actual hazard and its target population before proceeding with any such regulation.
sionals in all disciplines of commercial investment real estate, including brokers, leasing professionals, investment counselors, asset managers, appraisers, corporate real estate executives, property managers, developers, institutional investors, commercial lenders, attorneys, bankers, and other allied professionals. Of the approximately 125,000 commercial real estate practitioners nationwide, 9,000 currently hold the CCIM designation, with an additional
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Editor Salsbury Industries Andrea Coulter firstname.lastname@example.org Will Johnson • email@example.com
The CCIM Institute is an affiliate of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of Realtors®, (NAR). The Institute confers the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation through an extensive curriculum and experiential requirements. The CCIM designation was established in 1969 and is recognized as the mark of professionalism and knowledge in commercial investment real estate. Membership includes qualified profes-
IREM and Jan, CCIM Position: IREM Jul, Mar, May, and CCIM support broad regulatory reform such as that pursued by Congress and the concept of greater
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6,000 candidates pursuing the designation. Founded upon the principles of education, networking, and ethical practice, the CCIM Institute, as an affiliate of the 1.2 million-member NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of Realtors®, helps shape policy and legislation affecting the industry and safeguards the interests of commercial investment real estate practitioners.
Serving the Portland/Vancouver Multifamily Housing Industry More than 21,000 Distributed Monthly www. TheLandlordTimes.com The statements and representations made in advertising and news articles contained in this publication are those of the advertiser and authors and as such do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Professional Publishing, Inc. The inclusion of advertising in this publications does not, in any way, comport an endorsement of or support for the products or services offered. Metro Apartment Manager is produced monthly and is published by Professional Publishing Inc. An Oregon Corporation.
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Advertise in the Landlord Times Onsite 1/8 Page 4 7/8” x 3 5/8” Circulated to over On-Site3a 17,000 Apartment owners, On-site, and Maintenance ersonnel monthly. Call 503-221-1260 for more information. On-Site Northwest • May 2013
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Dear Maintenance Men: By Jerry L'Ecuyer & Frank Alvarez
Dear Maintenance Men: My tenant has a toilet that has little cracks in various places. It has small cracks, but no leakage. I looked online and they said you could epoxy it or replace it...but you must do something. How can you tell what will work? What would be the best thing? Also, do toilets just crack over time? (“I read your column every time! That and the Legal Corner one.”) Kristina Dear Kristina: Our first thought is that the toilet is not on level ground. It might not rock, but it may have pressure points between the floor and the bottom of the toilet or the between the sewer ring and the toilet. Toilets do not typically crack by themselves. They are either abused by the tenant or the installation is poor. (Sometimes both!) We would recommend replacing the toilet and doing a bit of sub-floor work to determine what is causing pressure on the toilet. Epoxy is a short-term fix without repairing the cause of the cracks. Being a rental, you do not want the toilet breaking dramatically while in use! This would not only be a liability for you, but could cause water damage to your property.
Dear Maintenance Men: We have been reviewing our safety procedures and have decided to make a safety checklist to help avoid a possible disaster in the future. What is your opinion of earthquake safety measures such as auto shut-off gas meters, water heater strapping and the seismic retrofitting of older buildings? Where can I find information about protecting my property in a disaster? Where would I find a contractor who specializes in seismic retrofitting? John Dear John: Seismic shut-off gas valves are a very good addition to your safety list. There are several manufactures and a wide price range depending on the size of your gas pipe. A simple web search will give you many companies to choose from or call a licensed plumber. Water heater earthquake straps are a must. If you are handy, your local hardware store supplies straps, they are inexpensive and easy to install. Before you start any seismic retrofitting for your building, we recommend talking to your local building department for building code information, and it is a good idea to consult with a structural engineer.
The following publications will provide you with most of the information you will need to make an informed decision: 1- The Homeowners Guide to Earthquake Safety. Written and compiled by the California Seismic Safety Commission in Sacramento. Phone: (916) 263-5506. 2- Introduction to Earthquake Retrofitting, 80 page illustrated book from the “Building Education Center” in Berkeley, CA. Phone: (510) 5257610. 3- Damage Control booklet. Simpson Strong Tie Products for earthquake resistant construction. You can pick up a copy at any hardware store or home improvement center. Your local apartment association should have earthquake information handy for you. They should also be able to lead you to a contractor that specializes in seismic retrofitting. Dear Maintenance Men: I have a unit that has pocket doors between the kitchen and living room and also between the hallway and the living room. The door has fallen off its track and no matter what I do; I can’t get it to work properly. How do I fix this problem? Jack Dear Jack: Pocket doors … a love/hate relationship. We love them because they are an efficient use space, but when they go bad, we hate them. Pocket doors by their nature are very secretive and getting to their internal working parts is almost impossible. Pocket doors operate very similarly to sliding closet doors. The door has a set of rollers that attach to a track above the door. Typically what goes wrong is that either a roller bracket has come loose or one of the rollers has broken. Unlike a sliding closet door, the pocket door cannot easily be angled away from the track and removed. The only way to extract the pocket door is to remove the casing around the door opening and the vertical jamb on the side
where the door that goes into the wall. The door can than be tipped out and removed. This is not easy, as sometimes the top jamb must be removed first depending on original installation. A second method is to make a four-inch hole in the wall in line with the track. This will allow access for your hand and a tool for repairs. Every door is different; a close inspection of the hardware should help determine which side of the wall to open. The most common problem with pocket doors is the screws holding the roller brackets becoming loose and getting out of adjustment. Replace the screws with a larger more aggressive thread pattern and try to use new holes if possible. Lastly, check that there are no nails or screws protruding through the drywall into the pocket door; check for hanging picture frames or other decorations. An alternative if the pocket door is not a critical use door. Using jamb or casing material, seal in the pocket door in the wall. In other words, abandon the pocket door, seal and paint the repair, call it a day.
QUESTIONS? QUESTIONS? QUESTIONS? We need more Maintenance Questions!!! To see your maintenance question in the “Dear Maintenance Men:” column, please send submission to: Questions@BuffaloMaintenance.com Please “Like” us on Facebook.com/ BuffaloMaintenance Please call: Buffalo Maintenance, Inc for maintenance work or consultation. JLE Property Management, Inc for management service or consultation Frankie Alvarez at 714 956-8371 Jerry L’Ecuyer at 714 778-0480 CA contractor lic: #797645, EPA Real Estate lic. #: 01216720 Certified Renovation Company Websites: www.BuffaloMaintenance. com & www.ContactJLE.com www.Facebook.com/ BuffaloMaintenance
On-Site Northwest • May 2013
ON-SITE Apartment ...continued from front page “Like many other small businesses, the apartment industry has a considerable stake in tax reform. In addition, we provide homes for millions of Americans covering the entire socioeconomic spectrum," said Moran. "An estimated 300,000 to 400,000 units a year must be built to meet expected demand; yet just 158,000 apartments were delivered in 2012 – not enough to even replace the units lost every year to demolition and obsolescence." To meet the ongoing demand for rental housing, the apartment industry asks Congress to: • Ensure that tax reform is comprehensive and does not reduce corporate taxes at the expense of small
businesses. Maintain the current treatment of carried interest to help offset the considerable financial risks in real estate. Retain the 100 percent deduction for business interest. Protect the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, which is responsible for more than 2.4 million affordable apartment homes. Respect the estate tax legislation enacted as part of the American Relief Act of 2012. Modify the section 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction to enable more properties to qualify for the incentive. “The apartment industry builds
vibrant communities by offering housing choice, supporting local small businesses, creating millions of jobs and contributing to the fabric of communities across the country. In fact, apartment homes and our 35 million residents contribute $1.1 trillion annually to the economy and help support nearly 26 million jobs,” Moran added.
in new perspective residents. Don’t forget this is the prime leasing season too. Lastly, take a walk around the areas that you don’t normally go, but children will find as the sun comes out and they have more time to explore. Behind buildings and on the edges of our sites there are always hazards that residents and their children can find and possibly hurt themselves. That is why we have to find them first and take care of them now. Remember that as
property managers, we are responsible for the preservation of the asset physically and financially, but it is also our responsibility to decrease potential liability and possible future legal issues. This is why preventative maintenance programs are important to do at least twice a year as the major seasons turn. Take a couple hours do a proper inspection, take care of the outstanding issues stop a future fire and enjoy the sunshine.
For more than 20 years, the National Apartment Association (NAA) and the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC) have partnered on behalf of America’s apartment industry. Drawing on the knowledge and policy expertise of staff in Washington, D.C., as well as the advocacy power of 170 NAA state and
local affiliated associations, NAA and NMHC provide a single voice for developers, owners and operators of multifamily rental housing. Apartments and their 35 million residents support more than 25 million jobs and contribute $1.1 trillion to the economy. To learn more about apartments, visit www.weareapartments.org. For more information, contact: NMHC at (202) 974-2300 or firstname.lastname@example.org or www.nmhc.org. NAA at (703) 797-0616 or email@example.com or www.naahq.org/ governmentaffairs.
D & Z ...continued from page 4 The next big one is irrigation. Whether it’s your maintenance staff or your landscaper, a full irrigation test and inspection should be done to ensure that heads are present and pointed in the proper direction. Don’t forget about the annual items either, such as; gutters, drainage, crawl spaces, moss growth and curb appeal preparation. With regard to curb appeal, I agree with Dana’s point -- curbs painted, water features working, new bark in the beds, and flowers popping will bring
Advertise in the Landlord Times - Onsite Circulated to over 17,000 Apartment owners, On-site, and Maintenance personnel monthly.
On-Site Northwest • May 2013
ualifying prospective renters can seem especially challenging when you must establish their eligibility to rent based upon income. While it is necessary to determine if callers and visitors can qualify to rent at your community, coming right out and asking someone for their annual income can be perceived as an invasion of privacy. (Would you like a total stranger to ask: “How much money do YOU make?”) Recently the following question on this subject came up:
Q: We are a tax credit property with certain income restrictions, but not everyone who calls or stops by is aware of this. I try to find out about monthly or annual income right away because I don’t want to waste their time or mine. However, I am getting the impression that people are embarrassed or put off by my line of questioning. What’s the best way of figuring out if people are income-qualified without offending them?
John Nuzzolese, Landlord Protection Agency 877-984-3572, www.TheLPA.com
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A: Whether your community has income restrictions or not, every community has a set standard or policy for qualifying prospective renters based on their income. Whether someone must make three times the monthly rental rate or make no more than a specific amount annually, everyone who applies to rent must qualify “financially” in some way. As such, there is no need to treat anyone differently or label someone as “unqualified.” It’s all a matter of using effective communication so that everyone will understand what the criteria is to qualify at your community. Rather than saying, “I need to know how much money you make,” you could take another approach. Perhaps after you have established a rapport with the phone caller or visitor you could say something like this: “I need to let you know that our community has certain income restrictions, based upon the number of people in your family. For a household of four, your income may not exceed $32,000. Does this work for you and your family?”
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U.S. Home Value Appreciation Rate Slows in First Quarter, But Values in Some Local Markets Remain at a Boil Unsustainably High Appreciation Continues in Phoenix, Las Vegas and California, But National Moderation Could Indicate Stabilization, According to First Quarter Zillow Real Estate Market Reports The national housing market showed signs of moderation in the first quarter after months of robust and largely unsustainable annual home value appreciation. The Zillow® Home Value Index (ZHVI)[i] rose to $157,600 as of the end of the first quarter, up 5.1 percent yearover-year and 0.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the first quarter Zillow Real Estate Market Reports[ii]. In March, U.S. home values rose for the 16th consecutive month, though last month represented the second straight month of slowing annual appreciation. Underscoring this slowdown, home value appreciation in the first quarter was 0.5 percent compared to 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. Historically, housing markets can expect annual home value appreciation of roughly 3 percent, according to Zillow research. Looking ahead, the Zillow Home Value Forecast[iii] shows national home values increasing by 3.2 percent through March 2014, an annual appreciation rate more in line with historic norms. But in some local markets, home values continue to rise at a breakneck pace. Five metros covered by Zillow experienced year-over-year appreciation of more than 20 percent: Phoenix (up 24 percent), Las Vegas (up 22.3 percent), San Jose (up 22.1 percent), San Francisco (up 21.4 percent) and Sacramento (up 20.1 percent). "The national housing market has rebounded strongly over the past year. But the sometimes dramatic home value run-ups experienced during these months were never expected to be sustainable, and recent slowdowns are indicative of a market that is slowly finding its natural level," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. "Looking forward, we expect annual home value appreciation to continue to slow, as more inventory comes up for sale. But pockets of very rapid appreciation will remain, a troubling sign of volatility and a potential future headache as affordability is compromised and homes begin to look much more expensive to average buyers. This affordability issue may become acute in many markets in a couple years once mortgage rates begin to return again to normal levels." Further underscoring the unevenness of the recovery, seven of the top 30 metro markets covered by Zillow saw a decline in home values in the first quarter. The New York metro saw a decline of 0.3% in home valOn-Site Northwest • May 2013
out of every 10,000 homes were foreclosed upon in the first quarter, down 1.3 homes per 10,000 from the fourth quarter, and down 2.4 homes per 10,000 year-over-year. In the rental market, national rents rose 0.9 percent in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter, and were up 4.9 percent over the first quarter of 2012. The Zillow Rent Index (ZRI)[iv] stood at $1,290 at the end of March.
ues after three consecutive quarters of positive appreciation, the first quarterly decline in that metro since the first quarter of 2012. Chicago saw the greatest home value depreciation, with values falling 1.4% in the quarter after a flat fourth quarter of 2012. Foreclosure rates rose in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter, likely because of a seasonal acceleration after the traditionally slow holiday period. A total of 5.11
About Zillow: Zillow, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z) operates the largest home-related marketplaces on mobile and the Web, with a complementary portfolio of brands and products that help people find vital information about homes, and connect with the best local professionals. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow's Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. Dr. Humphries and his Continued on page 13
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Not Exactly As Seen On TV
Don’t let TV’s ‘World’s Worst Tenants’ on Spike TV dictate how you manage your properties. Most of us have seen depictions of landlords on TV and in movies as illimitable in their abilities of ridding of delinquent tenants. Landlords who implement the methods that these shows illustrate for entertainment purposes could find themselves in big trouble. It is absolutely against Landlord-Tenant Law to use “force” to evict a tenant. Locking your tenant out or shutting off the utilities to the unit is very illegal. Using “unofficial” notices to terminate the tenancy is also illegal. An example of
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an “unofficial” notice would be a 24-hour notice to vacate for an unauthorized pet or noise disturbances. These poor property management practices are not only illegal, immoral, and dangerous, they are also wrecking havoc on the efforts that good landlords have made in combating a negative image. Landlords can continue making efforts towards combating the ill effects that a reality show “eviction specialist” creates by developing effective habits not only in the manner in which we communicate with our tenants, but also by handling
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tenant issues in a timely fashion. When’s the last time you did a complete inspection of your rental properties from top to bottom, inside and out? Be proactive and maintain control of your investments. Schedule a complete inspection with your tenants at least every 6 months. In the interim, who can you count on to keep watch of your property and notify you of concerning behavior when you aren’t around? The neighbors! Employ a couple of the property’s neighbors to contact you if they witness any curious behavior. Let them know that worst case scenario, their testimony may be needed if the information they relay to you ends up in eviction court. To appease some of the neighbor’s possible apprehension, send them a thank you note and include a small gift like a coffee gift card. This is an inexpensive, thoughtful, investment for a potentially large return. Another habit landlords should develop is self-education. Make time to understand and learn how and when to use your states specific legal rental notices when addressing a tenant issue or terminating a tenancy. Depending on the state, there may only be a few different types of
termination notices available to landlords. Issuing the wrong termination notice and technicalities are the two most common reasons landlords lose eviction cases. Not only would your case lose in front of a judge, but you could also be liable for damages to the tenant! The bottom line is never stoop to the level of land lording that the entertainment medias portray. Those extreme acts are unlawful and violating. Are there some bad landlords out there? Of course there are. But there are also bad tenants. The only thing that these landlord-tenant dramas achieve is perpetuating that negative image of landlords. Unlike the actors in ‘World’s Worst Tenants’, leave your anger, frustration, and disparity at the door when dealing with tenants. The only way to lawfully evict a tenant is to go to court, plain and simple. Hussa is a Licensed Property Manager, Continuing Education Provider and Principal at Smart Property Management in Portland, OR. She can be reached with questions or comments at Katie@SmartPM.co.
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ON-SITE U.S. Home ...continued from page 11 team of economists and data analysts produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 350 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow also sponsors the quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which asks more than 100 leading economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists to predict the path of the Zillow Home Value Index over the next five years. The Zillow, Inc. portfolio includes Zillow.com®, Zillow Mobile, Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, Zillow Rentals, Zillow Digs™, Postlets®, Diverse Solutions®, Buyfolio™, Mortech™ and HotPads™. The company is headquartered in Seattle. Zillow.com, Zillow, Zestimate, Postlets and Diverse Solutions are registered trademarks of Zillow, Inc. Buyfolio, Mortech, HotPads and Digs are trademarks of Zillow, Inc. [i] The Zillow Home Value Index is the median Zestimate® valuation for a given geographic area on a given day and includes the value of all single-family residences, condominiums and cooperatives, regardless of whether they sold within a given period. It is expressed in dollars, and seasonally adjusted. [ii] The Zillow Real Estate Market Reports are a monthly overview of the national and local real estate markets. The reports are compiled by Zillow Real Estate Research. For more information, visit www.zillow.com/research. The data in Zillow's Real Estate Market
Reports is aggregated from public sources by a number of data providers for 929 metropolitan and micropolitan areas dating back to 1996. Mortgage and home loan data is typically recorded in each county and publicly available through a county recorder's office. All current monthly data at the national, state, metro, city, ZIP code and neighborhood level can be accessed at www. zillow.com/local-info/ [iii] The Zillow Home Value Forecast uses data from past home value trends and current market conditions, including leading indicators like home sales, months of housing inventory supply and unemployment, to predict home values over the next 12 months for the nation and for more than 250 markets across the country. [iv] The Zillow Rent Index is the median Rent Zestimate (estimated monthly rental price) for a given geographic area on a given day, and includes the value of all single-family residences, condominiums, cooperatives and apartments in Zillow's database, regardless of whether they are currently listed for rent. It is expressed in dollars.
Zillow Home Value Index
United States New York Los Angeles Chicago Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas Philadelphia Washington DC Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Atlanta Boston San Francisco Detroit Riverside, Calif. Phoenix Seattle Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. San Diego St. Louis Tampa, Fla. Baltimore Denver Pittsburgh Portland, Ore. Sacramento, Calif. Orlando, Fla. Cincinnati, Oh Cleveland Las Vegas San Jose Columbus Charlotte
Q1 2013 $157,60 0 $343,70 0 $439,40 0 $159,80 0 $132,70 0 $186,90 0 $328,40 0 $159,00 0 $117,00 0 $321,70 0 $563,20 0 $84,700 $210,10 0 $165,60 0 $280,10 0 $180,50 0 $396,80 0 $126,20 0 $117,60 0 $222,20 0 $234,20 0 $111,70 0 $237,10 0 $241,60 0 $130,80 0 $122,10 0 $110,90 0 $138,80 0 $676,10 0 $127,50 0 $136,80 0
Zillow Home Value Forecast
Bottom in Home Values
Change in ZHVI, Q1 2013Q1 2014
On-Site Northwest • May 2013
WASHINGTON MULTI-FAMILY HOUSING ASSOCIATION Executive Director • Jim Wiard President • Jay Olson Vice President • Joe Manca Past President • Cassandra Haavisto Secretary • Gail Duke Vice President of Suppliers Council • Barry Savage
Apartments. We Live Here. We Work Here. We Spend Here.
a continuing effort to promote the apartment industry as a robust driver of economic growth, the National Apartment Association and the National Multi Housing Council unveiled a new public relations campaign designed to inform policymakers and the general public how, in communities across the country, apartments have a positive impact upon the lives of so many people. Apartments work – allowing individuals and families an opportunity to live in a home that’s just right for them. Renting is now viewed as a way for families to place roots in a community, with proximity to jobs, transportation or culture, yet have flexibility and mobility that helps people meet their diverse needs. Locally and nationally, communities grow stronger through apartment jobs, residents and dollars. Changing household demographics mean changing housing preferences. Among the fastest growing population segments are young adults in their 20s and empty nesters in their
50s. Renting is, more than ever before, viewed as an affordable and sensible housing choice. And demand for rental housing is projected to continue to grow at a rapid pace and currently outstrips supply. The shortage of affordable rental units is particularly acute. Apartments create communities and contribute to the economy. Up to half of all new households formed this coming decade will rent. That’s as many a 7 million new rental households by 2020. It takes at least 300,000 new apartments to be constructed yearly to meet demand, but only 157,000 apartment homes were built in 2012. $14.8 billion was spent on apartment construction in 2011. This apartment construction spending generated a total economic impact of $42.5 billion. Apartments spur community growth and support local jobs. 324,000 jobs are created by apartment construction. There are 19.3 million apartments in this country, and they come in all shapes, sizes, locations and demographic factors. 686,000 people work
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in apartment buildings. Many more people work in businesses that support the apartment industry. A total of 2.3 million jobs are supported by operating the nation’s apartments. $67.9 billion was spent on property operations in 2011, with a total economic impact of $182.6 billion from property operations. Apartments contribute to the fabric of life and allow people to live near their jobs, near family, near convenient transportation and near cultural or lifestyle opportunities. Apartment communities offer their residents numerous advantages. Not only do residents enjoy maintenancefree living, many also benefit from amenities and services increasingly offered by apartment communities. Renters generate jobs and dollars for their local communities, bringing valuable spending that supports local economies. All the construction spending, property operations and resident spending adds up to a total economic contribution of $1.1 trillion annually that the apartment industry contributes to the nation’s economy. Housing in the State of Washington is at a changing point. Economic concerns as well as shifting demographics have collided with new economic realities, challenging traditional concepts of home and work-life balance. Tomorrow’s households need flexible housing options to adapt to the ever-changing job market. These trends add up to more renters as a percentage of households. The percentage of those who choose to rent has steadily risen in the past several years. Yet, housing policy today hardly reflects these transforming fundamentals.
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Nationally, housing policy’s failure to recognize the growing demand for rental housing not only threatens the apartment sector’s ability to meet the nation’s growing housing needs but also hinders new job creation integral to economic recovery. We urge policy makers to adopt policies that respect people’s right to choose housing that best meets their financial and lifestyle needs and values apartment living as a sensible and practical choice. Apartments provide more than just shelter. Apartments represent fiscally responsible development. By tapping into existing infrastructure, apartments reduce the cost of providing public services. There are 35 million residents across the country, illustrating that millions build their lives around the apartment industry. We encourage everyone in the industry to invest in their future and promote the advantages of a vibrant industry through pro-growth public policies with regulations that encourage positive support for the multifamily housing industry. The Washington Multi-Family Housing Association is trying to do our part to improve the quality of life of those who choose this industry as a career. We thank everyone who continues to support our efforts to promote the industry and serve its employees and residents. For more information, we encourage you to visit www.weareapartments.org or visit our website at www.wmfha. org.
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Obama Administration Renews Funding for 19 More Homeless Projects in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington State $2 million in HUD Continuum of Care funds awarded recently is over & above $68.4 million in renewal funding awarded to 408 Alaska, Oregon & Washington homeless projects in March, 2013 U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan recently awarded an additional $2,070,603 in renewal funds to 19 homeless projects in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska in a second round of renewal grants under HUD's Continuum of Care. Recently's awards will ensure these HUD-assisted local homeless assistance projects remain operating in the coming year.
The renewal funds announced recently are over and above the $68,351,206 in renewal funds awarded to 408 homeless projects in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington awarded in March, 2013. HUD will make a third round of Continuum of Care funding to support selected new projects later this year. "We know these modest investments in housing and serving our homeless neighbors not only saves
money, but saves lives," said Donovan. "These local programs are on the front lines of the Obama Administrations efforts to prevent and end homelessness as we know it once and for all." "Even with an improving economy times remain as tough as ever for those without a place to call home," said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride. "These funds help hard-working local orga-
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nizations keep their doors open and services flowing to help homeless families and individuals put a roof over their heads and stability and opportunity back into their lives." The projects awarded renewal funding recently include: HUD's Continuum of Care grants are awarded competitively to local projects to meet the needs of their homeless clients. The grants fund a wide variety of programs from street outreach and assessment programs to transitional and permanent housing for homeless persons and families. HUD funds are a critical part of the Obama Administration's strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. While the Fiscal Year 2012 funds awarded today are not impacted by the automatic across-the-board budget cuts under sequestration that began March 1st, Donovan cautioned that future budget cuts may reverse significant reported declines in homelessness: "During this challenging budget climate, we must make certain that we don't balance our books on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. When we make even modest investments in these programs, we see a measureable decline in homelessness." HUD's Continuum of Care grants announced today will continue offering permanent and transitional housing to homeless persons as well as services including job training, health care, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and child care. Continuum of Care grants are awarded competitively to local programs to meet the needs of their homeless clients. These grants fund a wide variety of programs from street outreach and assessment programs to transitional and permanent housing for homeless persons and families. In 2010, President Obama and 19 federal agencies and offices that form the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) launched the nation's first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness. Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness puts the country on a path to end veterans and chronic homelessness by 2015 and to ending homelessness among children, family, and youth by 2020. HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is Continued on page 17
On-Site Northwest • May 2013
ON-SITE Obama ...continued from page 16 working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at
STATE PROJECT Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association / AKAK 500 - REN - 6-Plex Project
www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on Twitter at @ HUDnews or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD. or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.
Alaska Total ID ID
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Boise City Housing Authority / ID-500 REN - Landmark Project Idaho Housing and Finance Association / ID-501 - REN - Family Promise Transitional Housing Idaho Housing and Finance Association / ID-501 - REN - Freedom LZ Transitional Housing Idaho Housing and Finance Association / ID-501 - REN - Your Way Home Transitional Housing
Idaho Total Oregon State Health Authority / OR-503 Portland REN - Central Oregon CoC Washington County Department of Housing Hillsboro Services / OR-506 - REN - SPC TRA Homeless Families Renewal OR16C706004 Clackamas Women's Services, Inc. / OR507 - REN - Permenant Supportive Housing Oregon City Project for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence Oregon Total King County / WA-500 - REN - Sobering Seattle Support Center Low Income Housing Institute / WA-500 Seattle REN - One Heart Center YWCA of Seattle-King County-Snohomish County / WA-500 - REN - Transition Into Seattle Permanent Project (TIPP) Benton and Franklin Counties Department Kennewick of Human Services / WA-501 - REN Shelter Plus Care YWCA of Spokane / WA-502 - REN - YWCA Spokane DV SS #2 FY2012 Pierce County / WA-503 - REN - Bridges Tacoma Village Pierce County / WA-503 - REN - Manresa Tacoma Apartments Yakima County / WA-507 - REN - YNHS Yakima PSH1 WA0189B0T071104 Yakima Neighborhood Health Services / WA-507 - REN - 904 Transitional Housing Yakima WA0186B0T071104 Columbia River Mental Health Services / Vancouver WA-508 - REN - New Dreams Two Second Step Housing / WA-508 - REN Vancouver Story Street II Washington Total
$175,961 $16,301 $87,372
$59,837 $163,510 $624,566 $398,285 $167,867
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Three Effortless Ways To Win The Property Management Paperwork Battle! © By Ernest F. Oriente, The Coach Buried under mountains of property management paperwork? Do the projects seem to never end? Imagine how good you would feel if every day you could start with a clean and organized desk? Well dream no further! By following the three powerful tips listed below, your dreams will become reality! Setting up your system: Start by ordering two 8 ½ x 11 “flat desk files”. A flat desk file looks like an accordion file, except it lays flat on your desk and can be easily carried with you. One desk file should be tabbed A-Z, the second one should be tabbed 1-31. The A-Z desk file is perfect for hold the resumes of potential new hires, sorted by last name. This A-Z desk file is also great for keeping employee or resident “working” files, at your fingertips. The 1-31 desk file is ideal for organizing upcoming meetings or projects, by appropriate dates. Also, this tool is perfect for managing any projects you have delegated to be done by others. For instance, if you have a big project
due on the 18th and have assigned others to complete certain portions of the project by the 12th, then file your notes to the 12th and confirm on the 12th the work has been done. Then, re-file this project for completion on the 16th so you can do any last minute changes, before the 18th. Tip From The Coach: Remember, any organization system is only as good as you make it. It generally takes 21 days to incorporate a new idea into your current system. Stick with it…having a system for your paperwork is a real joy! Using the four D’s: The four D’s are DO IT, DELEGATE IT, DECIDE OR DUMP IT. These are your only four choices when handling any kind of paperwork. “Do It’ means exactly that…do it now and do not handle any piece of paperwork a second time. This means, read the information you’ve been sent and act on it. “Delegate It” requires you to ask the question…“who can help me complete this project or task so I can
stay focused on my responsibilities?” Once you have delegated a project to someone else, then use your desk file (1-31) to store your notes until the project is completed. “Decide” means the paperwork you have been sent will require your quiet and uninterrupted attention, like monthly financial reports or annual employee reviews. Put this type of work into a separate folder labeled “To Decide” and find a few quiet minutes early the next morning before your work day begins, and complete this project or task. “Dump it” means exactly that…dump as much as possible in the trash can, the first time you handle any paperwork. It’s that simple. Tip From The Coach: In addition to the four D’s, schedule an appointment with yourself twice a year when business is the slowest, to review all the paperwork you have filed in your office. Take the time to “dump” everything you no longer need. Each time you do this, it will further clarify for you which paperwork is important to
your property management company to save and which paperwork can be easily discarded. Scheduling your day: Schedule your day using some form of computer software/paper calendar or appointment book. Try to schedule important meetings early in the week so others can work on the assignments you have given them. Try and schedule all interviews early in the morning when you are the most rested and the least likely to be interrupted. By having a busy morning, you then have the freedom to plan the rest of your day more loosely. Use your calendar or appointment book to schedule both professional and personal activities as it is helpful to have everything in one place. Lastly, schedule an appointment with yourself for any projects you are working on. This is a simple way to manage your workload and a powerful way to have your “to do” list LIVE in your week’s calendar. Continued on page 19
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ON-SITE Three ...continued from page 18 Tip From The Coach: Now, once you have followed the tips above, schedule the things most important to you. Start by planning the time you are going to spend with your family, the time you are going to spend with those you love, and yes— time for yourself to relax and enjoy your life. Please know that having a rich and rewarding life starts with simplicity. Want to hear more about this important topic or ask some additional questions? Send an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and The Coach will E-mail back to you a free invitation to be a participant on a PowerHour conference call. I promise we will have great fun! Author’s note: Ernest F. Oriente, a business coach since 1995 [30,200 hours], a property management industry professional since 1988--the author of SmartMatch Alliances--and the founder of PowerHour...[ www.powerhour.com and www.powerhourseo.com and www. pirmg.com ], has a passion for coaching his clients on executive leadership, hiring and motivating property management SuperStars, traditional and Internet SEO/SEM marketing, competitive sales strategies, and high leverage alliances for property management teams and their leaders. He provides private and group coaching for property management com-
panies around North America, executive recruiting, investment banking, national utility bill auditing [ www.powerhour. com/propertymanagement/utilitybillaudit.html ] national real estate and apartment building insurance [ www. powerhour.com/propertymanagement/ insurance.html ], SEO/SEM web strategies, national WiFi solutions [ www. powerhour.com/propertymanagement/ nationalwifi.html ], powerful tools for hiring property management SuperStars and building dynamic teams, employee policy manuals [ http://www.powerhour.com/propertymanagement/employeepolicymanuals.html ] and social media strategic solutions [ http://www.powerhour.com/propertymanagement/socialmedialeadership.html ]. Ernest worked for Motorola, Primedia and is certified in the Xerox sales methodologies. Recent interviews and articles have appeared more than 7000 times in business and trade publications and in a wide variety of leading magazines and newspapers, including Smart Money, Inc., Business 2.0, The New York Times, Fast Company, The LA Times, Fortune, Business Week, Self Employed America and The Financial Times. Since 1995, Ernest has written 200+ articles for the property management industry and created 350+ property management forms, business and marketing checklists, sales letters and presentation tools. To subscribe to
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More Than A Quarter of Working Renter Households Spend at Least Half of Income On Housing Housing cost burdens among working renters rise for third straight year; cost burdens remain steady but challenging for working owners. The newest edition of the Center for Housing Policy (CHP)’s annual Housing Landscape report finds that severe housing cost burdens among working renter households have risen for the third consecutive year. Housing Landscape 2013 explores
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tween 2008 and 2011, roughly one in five working homeowners experienced severe housing affordability challenges throughout this period – despite falling home prices and mortgage interest rates. CHP, the research affiliate of the Washington-based advocacy group the National Housing Conference (NHC), charts the trends in housing cost burdens among working households from 2008 to 2011 in the latest edition of Housing Landscape. In addition to housing costs and income, the new report includes housing cost burden data from the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report defines a working household as one with an income less than 120 percent of the median for its area, and with members working at least 20 hours per week on average. The share of working renter households with a severe housing cost burden grew over the three-year period due primarily to falling incomes and rising rental housing costs. Nationally, working renters saw their housing
costs rise by 6 percent from 2008 to 2011, while their household incomes fell more than 3 percent. Lead report author Janet Viveiros says renters are stretched so thin by growing housing costs that many face impossible choices. “The growing rate of severe housing cost burdens among renters is not a new trend, but it is clearly an unsustainable one,” said Viveiros. “While rental costs have steadily risen over the last few years, wages for these working families have not fully recovered from the hit they took between 2008 and 2009. Spending most of your paycheck on rent means cutting back on other necessities, including healthcare and even food.” Co-author Maya Brennan noted that the causes of rising housing cost burdens among working renters include a difficult economy and an increased demand for rental housing, partly due to the crisis on the homeownership side of the market. “While the economy pushed both owners’ and renters’ incomes down, Continued on page 21
On-Site Northwest • May 2013
ON-SITE More ...continued from page 20 the shift away from homeownership is pushing rents up due to increased demand. What we’re seeing with the rental market is not explainable by population trends alone—it clearly reflects the movement of former homeowners into rentals as well as delays in home purchases by current renters,” Brennan explained. “But this increase in rental demand has not been matched by an increase in supply. This imbalance leads to rising rents in markets across the country.” Working homeowners may have dodged the upswing in housing costs that hit renters, but they have not avoided the effects of falling incomes. In fact, while housing costs among homeowners fell some 3 percent over the study period, household incomes among these homeowners fell even more than they did for renters, down more than 4 percent over the threeyear span. However, NHC President and CEO Chris Estes cautioned that a high and growing proportion of all working households—renters and homeowners combined—cannot afford their housing, and that little is being done to help. "The challenge we face is that despite the range of successful tools to help offset this crisis, we are still in a long trend of flat—and even slashed—funding for these important programs,” said Estes.
Estes notes that a recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission highlighted the success of federal housing programs like HOME, the housing voucher and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and encouraged expanded funding for these programs to help respond to the housing affordability crisis. Read the Housing Landscape 2013 report Key National Findings • Nearly one in four working households spends more than half of its income on housing. The share of working households with a severe housing cost burden increased significantly between 2008 and 2011, rising from 21.8 percent to 23.6 percent. • Declining incomes have exacerbated housing affordability problems for working renters. The median housing costs of working renters rose nearly six percent between 2008 and 2011 while their median incomes fell more than three percent. • Severe housing cost burden was most preva¬lent among working households earning less than 30 percent of area median income (AMI). Eight in ten working households earning less than 30 percent of AMI (but working an average of
at least 20 hours per week) were severely burdened in 2011, a much higher share than for other income groups. Increases in housing cost burdens occurred primarily among working households with incomes at or below 50 percent of AMI, but even some working households earning between 51 and 120 percent of AMI are faced with severe housing cost burdens. State and Local Findings • Between 2008 and 2011, the share of working households with a severe housing cost burden increased significantly in 24 states and decreased significantly in only one state: South Dakota. • Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the following five had the highest share of working households with a severe housing cost burden in 2011: o California - 34% o Florida - 32% o New Jersey - 32% o Hawaii - 30% o New York - 30% • Among the 50 largest metropolitan areas, the following five metropolitan areas had the highest share of working households with a severe housing cost burden in 2011:
o Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL - 41% o Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA - 39% o New York-Northern New JerseyLong Island, NY-NJ-PA - 35% o Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 35% o San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA - 34% • A closer look at the data reveals that the share of working households with a severe housing cost burden increased significantly over the three years studied in 18 of the 50 largest metropolitan areas, yet decreased significantly only in the Washington, D.C. and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., area. Of the 18 metro areas with rising cost burdens, nine are located in the South. Overall, the level of severe housing cost burden among working households displayed a high level of variation at the metropolitan level. Levels ranged from a high of 41 percent in the Miami area to a low of 14 percent in Pittsburgh. Methodology This report is based on American Community Survey (ACS) data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau Continued on page 22
On-Site Northwest • May 2013
More ...continued from page 21 in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Estimates in this report were generated using Public-Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) population and housing files made publicly available by the Census Bureau. Each file includes roughly 40 percent of the full ACS sample for its respective year, resulting in over 3 million records in each population file and over 1.2 million records in each housing file. There is a unique identifier that links individuals in the population file to households in the housing file. The only geographic identifiers are the state, the census re-
gion, and the Public-Use Microdata Area (PUMA) of residence. PUMAs are locally defined geographic areas that allow researchers to produce socioeconomic and demographic estimates with ACS data for sub-state geographies. Each PUMA has a minimum population of 100,000. For more information on how the PUMS files and constituent variables were used to develop the estimates in this report, see methodology details online at nhc.org.
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Notes: For purposes of this report, “working households” are defined as those with a household income of no more than 120 percent of the area median income in which the household members worked an average of at least 20 hours per week for the preceding 12 months. “Severe housing cost burden” is defined as monthly housing costs (including utilities) exceeding 50 percent of household income. About the National Housing Conference Since 1931, the National Housing Conference (NHC) and its members and partners have been dedicated to helping ensure safe, decent and affordable housing for all in America. We also look to
the future. By combining the expertise of NHC’s members with the research and analysis of the Center for Housing Policy (CHP), we develop ideas, resources and policy solutions to shape a new and brighter housing landscape. About the Center for Housing Policy As the research affiliate of NHC, the Center for Housing Policy (CHP) specializes in solutions through research, working to broaden understanding of America’s affordable housing challenges and examine the impact of policies and programs developed to address these needs.
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Published on May 15, 2013