Cities Growing Faster Than Suburbs

Cities Growing Faster Than Suburbs

For the first time since the 1920s, 27 of the nation’s 51 cities outpaced their suburban counterparts in growth– a result of shifting attitudes about urban life and a housing downturn that has made moving more daunting.  The changing urban attitudes go along with falling crime rates, growing cultural amenities, and fewer factories.  Cities also provide the convenience of ‘walkability’ to shops, entertainment, transit, and even work.  Even developers are picking up on this trend, putting more time into cultivating city dwellings than suburban homes.  Some experts believe, however, that once the market recovers suburbs will be on top again.

Do Vacation Homes Make a Profit?

Do Vacation Homes Make a Profit?

For many vacation property landlords, daily upkeep and cost can be stressful: maintenance costs can eat up 70% of revenue, and huge mortgage payments on prime properties can take the rest.  So is it worth it for vacation home owners to get into the business?  According to a recent article by Zillow, the costs outweigh the benefits by a lot, especially in today’s down vacation market.  Owning and maintaining even one property is very expensive and time consuming, from scheduling guests to advertising your property to being ready in emergencies.  And for year-round vacation rentals, landlords need to be doing these things constantly– even when the economy is sputtering and vacationers are canceling.  So while many believe that owning a vacation property allows for a more laid back, independent lifestyle, know this: it isn’t a vacation.

City of Niagara Falls Promises to Pay of Student Loans to Recent Grads

City of Niagara Falls Promises to Pay of Student Loans to Recent Grads

In the last 40 years, the city of Niagara Falls– once an industrial town– has lost half of its population.  To tempt young grads into moving there, the city has become one of a few across the country to offer to pay of student loan debt.  The City’s Urban Renewal Agency will sponsor up to 20 grads in its pilot program, paying them an extra $291 a month to live there: it’s an investment of $200,000 the city hopes will pay off big time.  The move is strategic because student loan debt and the prices of higher education continues to soar.  The average college graduate now has about $23,000 in debt.  Across the country, other communities are adopting similar programs, and the Kansas City program has already received nearly 350 applications.    Niagara Falls is hoping for similar, if not better, results, and also hopes that the famous Buffalo winters will not be off-putting.

The program is still in early development, but proponents hope that 2013 grads can be the first to test it.  Developers are paying specific attention to Niagara University and NCCC grads.  You can read more about the future of the plan here.

Is subsidized housing in your future?

Where can you turn if you are later in life and on a seemingly lower, fixed income and faced with ever increasing housing costs? The Federal government’s Section 202 program administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is designed to provide a rental subsidy for qualified people over the age of 62. There are literally thousands of apartments throughout the many towns of Erie and Niagara counties although ever increasing demand has resulted in significant waiting lists in many of the most desirable locations – some beyond a year in certain cases. It is quite prudent to be thinking ahead if you think this might be for you.

The Housing Act of 1959 established a methodology whereby non-profit organizations could apply to HUD for an “interest free capital advance” for construction of apartments serving the elderly. If the organization serves the senior population in this capacity at the specific site for 40 years, the loan does not need to be repaid. There have been several additions and modifications over the years to the basic format with additional funding streams for other needy populations such as the developmentally disabled, but the basic statute remains intact as written.

Qualifying income levels for participation in these programs is tied to the county’s median annual income. This measurement standard is the distinct data point created at which half of the population in a specified geographic area earns more and half earns less. For purposes of this program the qualifying amounts are based on both this income standard as well as family size. The income limit has evolved over the years and since 1981 this threshold has been set at 50% of a county’s median income. The actual numbers in Erie County: a single person must earn less than $23,150 annually in order to qualify; for couples, the amount is $26,450.

How much does one pay if accepted into senior subsidized housing? The total rental payment is limited to no more than 30% of an individual’s monthly adjusted gross income – both earned and unearned. For an online directory of all independent senior apartments sorted by town, visit www.erie.gov. You will find senior services by clicking the department tab and then go to independent senior housing. The apartments with the asteriks are subsidized. You can also call an outreach coordinator at your local community center for assistance or call Erie County Senior Services direct at 716-858-8526. All of these folks are extremely helpful and will gemoving the answers you need to make a good decision.

Elmwood Village Summer Concert Series

Elmwood Village Summer Concert Series

The Elmwood Village Association (EVA) announced its 2012 summer concert series earlier this week.  Concerts run on Tuesday nights in July and August, beginning on July 3rd.  All shows are free to the public and take place at Bidwell Parkway at Elmwood Avenue.  Below is a list of concerts.  More information about the artists can be found here.

July 3-The Shadows Motown & Soul Revue featuring Barbara St. Clair & Billy McEwen

July 10- The Skiffle Minstrels

July 17- Caitlin and The Moses Band

July 24-The Mick Hayes Band

July 31- The Outer Circle Orchestra

August 7- Neville Francis and The Riddim Posse

August 14- Kevin Doyle and Sol Y Sombra