Lending, Race, and High Income Households

UPDATE 2024-05-22: Added the Misc section to near the end of the post.

The Fair Housing Center of West Michign has published the "The Role of Mortgage Lenders In Shaping Our Neighborhoods" report. The document covers the deep and deepening economic chasm between white and non-white households, at least in terms of home ownership, in Kent County. And the report breaks down the city distinct from the county, and then down to the neighborhood level, which makes it ideal to look at here. It is a well written report, more readable and to-the-point than many housing policy documents.


The conclusion of the report begins with the words:

While the data may be bleak, ...

which, indeed, very much sums it up.

Of course, as a public document, it is obligated to end on some note of hopefulness. Yet the attempt at if-we-can-all-come-together rings very hollow; we have known, essentially, all of this for at least a decade. And for that decade we've accomplished nothing. We had almost a decade of ideal economic circumstances to fundamentally change the housing market during which we did very nearly nothing. Our leaders talked about "hard conversations"; what they did not do was make courageous decisions. Instead of leadership we had reports, such as the "Great Housing Strategies" (2015), and whatever "Housing NOW" was [and ultimately was not]. ๐Ÿ˜ข

The report is a truly depressing and infuriating read.

Some Miscellaneous Housing Data From The Zoning Reform FAQ

In response to the currently proposed zoning reforms the city has assembled ๐Ÿ‘‰an extensive FAQ๐Ÿ‘ˆ; I used data from that document as the basis for the ๐Ÿ‘‰"The Myth Of The Out-Of-State Housing Hoover"๐Ÿ‘ˆ post. That post lays out the data making it clear that the phenomenon of out-of-state developers collecting housing en masse has not happened here. Beyond laying that NIMBY trope to rest this document contains some particularly interesting nuggets which are worth calling out.

The Myth Of The Out-Of-State Housing Hoover

There is a common myth that "out of state" developers, generally from "Wall Street", are hoovering up Single Family Units (SFU). And in the era of free-money-for-those-with-money [interest rates sub-3%] this phenomenon did occur in some places where various other economic factors were in play. That's not in dispute. But, did it happen in Grand Rapids? And is it happening in Grand Rapids? To the data!


ACTION: Support Zoning Reform (City Commission)

On the fourth Tuesday of this month (2024-04-23) the City Commission will be voting on the suite of zoning reforms which have been in development since the joint meeting of the Planning Commission and the City Commission in July of last year (2023).

Grand Rapids "Gets" Housing

The 2024-04-11 meeting of the City Planning Commission was an update of the current Master Plan process, this being a recap of phase#3. There is one more phase (phase#4) to go.

A key result so far from the process is that the citizens of Grand Rapids understand the need for housing, and are ready for it. In many ways the citizens of this city are out ahead of their leadership, by a considerable distance.

Data Point: 2024-03-24, Revisting The ZORI

The ZORI is the Zillow Observed Rent Index from, you guessed it, Zillow, Zillow provides a variety of data at their Data page. We periodically check in on the ZORI to see what it says about rents in Grand Rapids.

Zoning Reform Conversation, 2024-03-05

UPDATE 2024-03-12: Zoning text amendment adoption vote [or not] has been moved out to April 23rd, which will be a 7pm evening meeting.

At the 2024-03-05 Committee of the Whole (COW) discussed the proposed zoning / land-use reform proposals from the Planning Commission.


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