March 2017

 Obituary of Andrew Mazzone

“The Henry George School of Social Science mourns the loss of Andrew B. Mazzone, president and CEO of its board of directors. Andy, who was born in Massachusetts and resided in New York City, died February 21, 2017. His vision and passion heralded many successes for the school, founded in 1932 to establish economic justice and sustainable prosperity.”

Why Britain’s disastrous housing shortage is the economy’s top threat

House prices are far too high relative to earnings in most parts of the U.K., property costs are gobbling up too much of national income, reducing productivity and denting economic growth, and the latest homeownership figures make for grim reading.

The Housing Crisis Is Not Inevitable

New York City can’t tackle its housing crisis without taking on real estate speculation. The theory that an imbalance between supply and demand has created a housing crisis makes some intuitive sense. But this simplistic account overlooks the role of speculators and other producers, who play a major role in creating this demand and the rising prices that go with it, along with the inevitable gentrification and displacement of poorer residents that follows.

Gentrification and soaring rents are not inevitable. There is an alternative to de Blasio’s approach. But if the city is serious about bringing down housing costs, it has to be willing to acknowledge and take on speculative real estate development. In the absence of federal funds for public housing, the new buildings could be created as part of community land trusts, limited equity co-ops, or mutual housing — proven models that would keep the units off the commercial market and render them permanently affordable.

What is Indonesia’s Progressive Tax on Idle Land Ownership?

Sofyan Djalil, Indonesian Minister of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning, says the progressive tax on land that is deemed idle will not disturb the investment climate of Indonesia because industrial estates and land that has a clear development purpose are exempted from this tax (this includes land destined for property development projects). Through the progressive land tax, the government wants to combat speculative land buying, something that has become a problematic phenomenon in Indonesia.

New forecasting tool suggests one-quarter of single-family homes in Vancouver could be torn down by 2030

To create the teardown index, the researchers used municipal data and BC assessment records on Vancouver single-family homes purchased and sold between 2005 and 2015. With the data, they compared land value, building value and property sizes with factors including if the property was torn down a couple of years before or after being bought or sold.

With Vancouver’s recent rise in home values, the tool predicts one-quarter of detached homes in Vancouver could be torn down between now and 2030. Right now, half of single-family homes have relative building values (RBVs) below 7.5 percent, which is the value of the building relative to the total value of the land and buildings. Ideally, a new development’s RBV should be between 60 and 70 percent. The researchers discovered that when the RBV of homes drops below 10 percent, there’s a significant rise in the number of teardowns. “It’s a little bit more than one in four that get torn down at 10 percent relative building value.”

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