Piece by Piece
HUD LAP Launch 

On July 16, HUD will launch a new tool, Location Affordability Portal (LAP) that will calculate transportation costs associated with housing choices. 

HUD LAP Launch 
7/16/14 - 9am 
Loudermilk Center 
40 Courtland Street 
Atlanta, GA

Atlanta leads underwater
Strange new housing market
SunTrust settlement
HUD HAWK pilot
Fulton featured with HUD
Opinion: Helping build houses, and homes
SEC drops objections
Housing challenges real
Spread of poverty
Tighter credit market, worse for some
Fulton rehab assistance
Calendar Items


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Piece by Piece Update

July 2014





Please take note of the following news and calendar updates:


Atlanta Leads Country in Underwater Homeowners  


(Courtesy of Haas Institute): Metro Atlanta, along with Las Vegas, leads the country with the highest percentage of "underwater" homeowners, homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. In the metro area, 35% of homes are underwater (home prices remain up to 45% below peak values).  In an analysis of US zip codes with the highest percentage of homes with negative equity, Lithonia, Forest Park, Union City and Stone Mountain are ranked among the top 15 most impacted zip codes in the country.   In fact, nine of the top 10 hardest-hit zip codes are in the Atlanta region.   Georgia had the greatest number of hardest-hit areas with 61 zip code hot spots identified.  MORE


Atlanta's Strange New Housing Market


(AJC): Despite falling foreclosure numbers, the metro Atlanta home market has not healed.  Home prices are rising but sales are flat.More homes are coming on the market, but the numbers are not matching demand.Because of high demand, houses that do hit the market often sell in a matter of days, especially in sought-after areas both inside and outside the Perimeter.  A normal housing market has a six- to seven-month supply of homes. At the end of April, there were 4.1 month supply in Atlanta.   In addition, equity investors have purchased 40,000 single-family properties in Metro Atlanta over the last two years. 

MORE  (Subscription Required) 


SunTrust $1 Billion Settlement Announced


(Courtesy of NHC's Washington Wire/Ethan Handelman): SunTrust Mortgage recently settled with the Justice Department, HUD, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the state attorneys general to resolve civil claims resulting from investigations by federal agencies into mortgage origination, servicing, and foreclosure abuses. The settlement terms reflect the similar National Mortgage Settlement (NMS), and Joseph Smith, the monitor of the NMS, will also monitor this settlement. The settlement includes $500 million in direct relief to homeowners through principal reduction, lower interest rates and other relief; $40 million in direct payments to borrowers and homeowners; adoption of new servicing standards; among other terms.  MORE  Justice Dept.


HUD Launches HAWK Pilot


HUD has announced the Homeowners Armed with Knowledge (HAWK) pilot program which will further integrate counseling into the home buying process for borrowers using FHA insured financing. The pilot proposes to reduce mortgage insurance premiums for borrowers who complete pre-purchase and post-purchase counseling.  To learn more about the HAWK pilot and to provide comments to HUD, click HERE.  MORE


County Land Banks Tackle Vacancy and Blight

HUD Policy Journal Shines National Spotlight on Fulton/Atlanta Land Bank


(Courtesy of HUD's "Evidence Matters"): Communities are increasingly turning to land banks to stem the negative effects of vacant and abandoned properties. While their geographic scope and authority varies across the country, land banks are proving to be a highly adaptable tool for responding to local real estate conditions and guiding strategic investments.  HUD's Evidence Matters periodical features Fulton County/City of Atlanta Land Bank an early example of a land bank developed to work across jurisdictions. MORE



AJC OPINION: Volunteerism

By Mark Waligore


Last year, on a crisp March morning, a group of volunteers from Cox Media Group, Publix and AT&T stood in the rain, ready to help build a home for Habitat for Humanity. 
As we huddled in the cold, Clark Howard walked us through a quick overview of the program and some safety instructions - all delivered from a portable microphone, which, he told us, cost only $29.95 from Costco.com (why, of course).

That's when I first met Monique Jones, who works at the Fulton County office of the Division of Family and Children Services. Back then, her soon-to-be house was simply a shell of what it would become.

The walls were still down to studs. Sheetrock hadn't been hung. And we were standing on a plywood subfloor.

But Monique had big dreams.

Last weekend, I was able to do something very few Habitat volunteers get to do - I was able to visit Monique a year after she had moved in.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE (Subscription Required)

SEC Drops Objections to Looser Mortgage Rule


(Courtesy of Wall Street Journal and Housing Matters): A relaxed rule aimed at improving mortgage quality moved closer to approval after the Securities and Exchange Commission removed a key objection, according to officials familiar with the process.  The standard, expected to be made final in the coming months, is much looser than what was first floated in 2011, when policy makers said borrowers would have to put 20% down to get a loan or lenders would have to retain 5% of a loan's risk once it was packaged and sold to investors.  Under the revised approach, regulators wouldn't require a down payment and would include a broad exemption for banks and other issuers of mortgage-backed securities from having to retain a portion of the credit risk on their books.  MORE


Housing Challenges Real for Many Americans 


(Courtesy of MacArthur Foundation): During the past three years, over half of all U.S. adults (52%) have had to make at least one sacrifice in order to cover their rent or mortgage, according to a new survey of housing attitudes released recently by MacArthur Foundation. The How Housing Matters Survey, the second annual national survey conducted by Hart Research Associates, found that while there are some indicators that the American public's views about the housing crisis are shifting toward the positive, large proportions of the public are not feeling the relief: seven in 10 (70%) believe we are still in the middle of the crisis or that the worst is yet to come.  MORE 


Spread of Poverty to Atlanta Suburbs 


(Courtesy of Brookings Institution and Politico Magazine): The growth of poverty in Metro Atlanta's Cobb County is a microcosm of the dilemma facing suburbs nationwide: a rapid spike in the number of poor people in what once were the sprawling beacons of American prosperity. Think of it as the flip side of the national urban boom: The poverty rate across all U.S. suburbs doubled in the first decade of the millennium-even as America's cities are transforming in the other direction, toward rising affluence and hipster reinvention.  MORE


ANDP foreclosure redevelopment model featured in Suburban Poverty blog. MORE


Tighter Credit Market Disproportionately Impacts African American Families


(Courtesy of Urban Institute): Credit for mortgage purchases has been very tight since the housing crash.  Limited credit has many consequences:  fewer individuals will become homeowners; the housing market will recover more slowly; and ultimately, the economy will suffer from fewer new home sales and the consumer spending that goes along with home purchases.   African Americans and Hispanics have been hit far more heavily than non-Hispanic whites and Asians.  Comparing 2001 to 2012, the number of purchase loans to African American and Hispanic borrowers declined by 55 and 45 percent, respectively while purchase loans to non-Hispanic whites and Asians dropped 41 and 15 percent respectively.  MORE


NEWS YOU CAN USE: Fulton Begins Accepting Pre-Applications for Housing Rehab Assistance


Fulton County will begin accepting pre-applications from Fulton County homeowners for Housing Rehabilitation Assistance beginning July 1, 2014.  Pre-applications will be accepted  for Deferred Payment Loans (DPL) through July 31, 2014, by the Housing and Human Services Department's  Housing Rehabilitation Program.  The program serves low and moderate-income homeowners.


The County is prepared to provide financial assistance to help bring substandard, single family, owner-occupied residential properties located in Fulton County into compliance with federal regulations and County code.  Properties located in the Cities of Atlanta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, and Johns Creek, are not eligible for assistance under this program. To obtain a Pre-Application Form,  residents in need of assistance must send their name, address, city, state, zip code and telephone number to:  Fulton County Housing Rehabilitation Program Attn:  DPL Project Manager, 5600 Stonewall Tell Road, Suite 204, College Park, GA 30349.  For more information, contact Community Development Manager Lolita Collins at 404-613-7944.  MORE



Share your calendar items with us! Please email Susan Adams at sadams@andpi.org with news of your upcoming events.


July 16; 9 AM to 12:30 PM:  Roll-Out of HUD's Location Affordability Portal (LAP), a new tool developed by HUD and DOT that calculates transportation costs associated with housing choices.  Event will take place at the Loudermilk Center, 40 Courtland Street, Atlanta.  Speakers include the Honorable Kasim Reed.  REGISTER ONLINE.  

Explore the LAP tool at http://locationaffordability.info/



September 10: The Center for Community Progress will present Regulation to Revitalization: The Role of Strategic Code Enforcement, a daylong workshop in Baltimore, MD that will challenge municipal leaders to think bigger about what code enforcement means - and what it can achieve.The cost of attending Regulation to Revitalization: The Role of Strategic Code Enforcement is  $200 until July 15, and $250 after August 16. Participants will be eligible to receive CLE credits. Additional information and registration are available on the IMLA Website.


November 18-20: National Housing Conference (NHC) Solutions 2014 Conference in Oakland, CA.  National conference on state and local housing policy will feature best practices in helping communities across the country meet affordable housing challenges.  Online registration is now available.  http://www.nhc.org/Solutions-2014.html





Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator