Tag: Grand Rapids housing

The LIHTC Will Bring Balance to the Force in Real Estate for Grand Rapids, MI

In real estate there’s a tension between two categories of homes:  Market-Rate and Affordable Housing. It’s almost another way to say The-Haves and The-Have-Nots…or more accurately the Haves and the Hardly-Haves.

Yoda’s job was the train the one that would save the world from a great imbalance.  The federal government here acts as Yoda, training or giving money, to the States in order to prevent great imbalance in the housed versus the homeless.  Money from the feds pours into the state at $1.75 per resident and many states have a handler for this money and deals with the applications from the builder. Michigan’s handler is Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).  Out of every 4 application 1 is awarded the credit towards their property taxes, which generally is about 9% of their project cost IF somewhere around 40% of the apartments in the project will be rent-restricted for 18 years.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit for the High-Rise Builder

Some businesses have choosen Grand Rapids as their land for the plentiful, and just enough.  In 2015 there were 5 different LLCs, individuals or corporations who applied for this money for building projects in Grand Rapids.  The 20 East Fulton project, a mixed-use high-rise development, proposed by Midland-based Brookstone Capital, LLC was another benefactor in the past.  affordable housing

The LIHTC does nothing directly towards making buying a home more affordable for a lower-income-bracket family or individual.  The tax credit is for the builder. Directly it creates an incentive for builders (with extra time and knowledge of the application process) to create space for people or a restricted (disability, retired) or low-income (qualifies for public assistance). Without something like LIHTC there would be no force creating low-income housing, even though individuals with low-income have population growth just like upper-income or middle-income does.

The LIHTC keeps the light sabers at a stand-still. The rich do not push the poor totally away, and the poor do not kill the rich.  They live together in one apartment complex.  If you live with someone who pays way less rent than you do for the same apartment, the LIHTC might be why.  If you pay less than your neighbor does, don’t tell them.

If you still need housing click here...may the force be with you.

Driving Demand for Home Building in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Those surviving on low-income are driving the demand for home building in Grand Rapids, but indirectly. The MSHDA, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, comes in to give the businesses looking to expand a push in the right direction. Through a LIHTC, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit towards the property tax a business can make serving the demand profitable.

It’s not that Michiganders Are Lazy…

Low-income driving the demand for more, more-affordable, homes isn’t because too many people are sitting at home on their comfortable couch. Just in March 2016 the employment rate in Michigan dropped to a 4.8. That’s .2 below the National Average. That feels nice, but ‘averages’ when speaking to individuals sit with Diddy and Squat.  There’s Diddily, Squat and Average sitting on a couch..where is Tall? He’s working with you!

Meet the MSHDA:

There’s a movement around Grand Rapids to renovate old, unused spaces and create livable space. That’s a utopian dream, right. And it just so happens, there’s a high demand for low-income housing and there’s a benefit to the economy is people can live with expendable incomes. The MSHDA works on behalf of people earning too low an income to keep up, whether this is through single parent homes, disability, back-to-school (temporarily-under-employed) situation, temporary unemployment. Individually, Going the Mortgage route is one way. The MSHDA has stakes in another. Click here to read more about MSHDA. 

Meet the LIHTC:Money-Cycle-290x300

The fact that there is such a thing as market-rate rent and affordable rent is a sign, is it not? There’s a division in the market and the upper class has the money so claims the market-rent and the rest of the market can be subsidized somehow through government programs and legislation. It’s better than tearing down all the old buildings and putting up new, for only the wealthy-enough… actually even that will help. Those property taxes flow in and are turned into tax credits for OTHER businesses that will house at a rent-restricted rate. The symbiotic being of the government, business and people… amazing.

Places like Rockford Construction will come drive the Fulton stretch, Leonard St… and see an open space and throw up a new apartment complex…like the dozy going up across from adobe by GVSU and charge market-rate rent. Yeah these buildings will make it nicer, and then someone like Karl Chew with Brookstone Capital, LLC of Midland will come in and use the LIHTC to renovate an old building and have a 50-50 market-rate rent and affordable rent. Click here to learn more…

Click here to forget all that and buy a home…

 

Bridging the Gap Between Buyers and Builders in Grand Rapids, MI

If you are from the U.P. you call those residents under the bridge trolls.  If you are from Grand Rapids you know we don’t have real rapids, and we aren’t really trolls.  We have lots of bridges though: 6th street bridge, Gillette Bridge, the (rainbow) Blue Bridge, Fulton Street and the old railroad bridge with Punk Island, and maybe Gerald Ford’s S-Curve conglomeration counts?

There are lots of people considering the metaphorical bridges of Grand Rapids as well.  The Rapidian posted this article of one such group, the ADAPT theater company. Overall, the Grand Rapids landscape is broken into neighborhoods:

  • East Grand Rapids15551693870_6382dd2bc4_b
  • Easttown
  • Southtown
  • Cherry Hill
  • Heritage Hill
  • Southside
  • Heartside
  • Blackhills
  • Downtown
  • Westside
  • Fulton Heights
  • North side, etc.

Unfortunately and/or logically, the verdict is up to you on which, the neighborhood also correlates to race, a people-scape? This is highlighted by ADAPT in a play that performed in April 2016 at the Wealthy Street Theater called Lines: The Lived Experience of Race in Grand Rapids.  The play touched on many areas of life: religion, business, education but especially housing.

As a place grows in culture (shared ideas) and cultural diversity (different ethic groups) you are like a magnet for more culture and more immigration.  If you hit the 100,000 population the land becomes a city, and if you are in the city of Grand Rapids you have 188,040 as of the 2010 census.  Like every growing human endevour there are growing pains.  There is a tension between the newcomers and the ‘indigenous’ people. Familiar story right? There’s an awareness, an optimism in Grand Rapids that we don’t want to repeat the results of this historical story: The people with more money win and the indigenous people go on their new trail of tears.

Building Local Is The Next ‘Buy Local’

It would be pretty awesome if the new builders are the original homesteaders and outsiders came to their palace to enjoy the synecdoche (one part/you standing for the whole/Grand Rapids). Instead what we have is locals doing their small part to make Grand Rapids a great place on the whole and then outside investors want to come in and build new places for? Who? More outsiders?  This is Okay.  It’s not Grand Rapidian vs. everyone else. But what about the lower income population that did their part in giving Grand Rapids the reputation it has for that Big Wig’s profit?  There’s a gap.

South Division is a cool example, with a cool solution. The legend goes…Some low-income housing, especially for individuals with mental illness, was shut down in the late 1980’s. A big business moved in. The people had to go somewhere. The street Division in Heartside became the popular place.  Around the same time the LIHTC, Low-Income-Housing-Tax-Credit, became an option to give builders an incentive to keep part of their new buildings for a population who otherwise would be displaced.  The LIHTC helped a big business build in Heartside. Heartside grew and housed people, bridging that gap. The outside investors helps with urban decay, and the resident population is integrated into a thriving cultural life, with things like The Avenue and the Dwelling Place . Well, that’s the ideal.  Read more about LIHTC here.

Is a tax credit for investor the best way to ensure people with low-income don’t loose their place? No probably not. The builder can come in and promise that for 18 years 40ish% of his building will be stable affordable rent for those on disability, and get 9ish% of the project cost paid for the federal government.  That seems like a very convoluted way to help the poor…helping the rich get richer. Of course, the builder would be richer if it were 100% market-rate rent they were charging for 100% of a building. Does LIHTC help or hurt the Grand Rapids real estate market? Click here to read more. 

It definitely does something. The money from LIHTC, the $1.75 (adjusted for inflation)/resident, might be better spent donated to something like The Well House.

Click here…This can do something for you if you are in the real estate market.