Winter 2012: Sustainable Housing

One might think that the decrease in real estate values the nation has experienced in recent years would lessen the need to focus on affordable housing. Yet, in spite of decreased prices of homes, housing affordability remains a major concern. For those trying to buy a home, more stringent lending standards and higher down payment requirements are making it difficult for moderate-income families to become homeowners. And a greater demand for rental housing has made rents unaffordable for many lower-income and working families. 

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In This Issue

Ensuring a community has an adequate supply of sustainable affordable housing is a complex task that requires the use of many strategies, in this or any economy. From On Common Ground

Communities are working to ensure affordable homeownership along transportation lines.


Emily Green enjoys being able to walk a few steps out of her condominium at Midtown Exchange in Minneapolis to hop on an express bus that gets her to downtown St. Paul in 35 minutes. When she gets home, she can pick up delicacies for dinner at one of the food stands in...

Fewer Americans are buying homes these days, but most believe now is a good time to try. What’s stopping them? They don’t have the money for a down payment or closing costs — and all the chatter from Washington, D.C., about requiring buyers to put 20 percent down makes many people fret they never will.

Proposals to eliminate the home mortgage interest deduction are...

Developers, nonprofits and government work together to provide urban living opportunities for lower to moderate income workers.


Cities from coast to coast have invested millions of dollars to make their downtowns a more attractive place to live. Now they’re scrambling to make them less expensive places to live — especially for people seeking...

Cities respond to increase in rentals with new regulations


For the last four years economic conditions and a surge in foreclosures have created an ongoing trend in America.

The number of renters is growing, while those owning homes has dropped, according to the 2011 State of the Nation’s Housing study published by Joint Center for Housing...

Employer Assisted Housing programs are helping to provide homes to working-class families 


Employers including global corporations, small businesses, nonprofits, hospitals and universities have encountered serious problems attracting and retaining employees because of affordable housing issues, especially in rundown inner cities and pricey suburbs....

Cities learn the ropes of neighborhood stabilization


Three years — and counting — into the foreclosure crisis, cities and suburbs across the country are fighting challenges on a scale not seen since “white flight” from central cities in the 1960s and 70s. In those days, the federal government attempted to help cities recover through...

Shared equity and trusts provide a path to affordable homeownership 


A lot of people who bought their first home about the same time as Colin and Sarah Robinson in 2008 — or maybe a little before — have already lost it. Others won’t own theirs much longer.

Those are the sad facts of the national foreclosure nightmare, but the...

Green-built affordable housing is not an oxymoron. Rather, backers say, it’s a common-sense way of constructing single family homes, duplexes, apartment buildings, other dwellings and even whole neighborhoods that conserves energy, water and provides a healthy environment in which to live.

And while it may cost a little bit more up front to build, it saves on utility bills over...

A retrospective on the last four decades


To say that today’s housing market is marked by turbulence and uncertainty would be one of the great understatements of the past several years. Almost weekly, news about home prices, home sales or foreclosures add to the angst and uncertainty that many homeowners feel about their investment in real estate....


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About On Common Ground

A free, semi-annual magazine published by NAR, On Common Ground presents a wide range of views on smart growth issues, with the goal of encouraging dialog among REALTORS®, elected officials, and other interested citizens.

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