Monday, August 4, 2008

Matt Strauss on saving urban housing stock

The following quote is from Matt Strauss, director of the Price Hill Housing Resource Center. I asked him what advice he would give to communities that are not so actively engaged in saving their housing stock. Sadly, I wasn't able to fit this answer into a Soapbox article I was writing, but I felt like it needed to be shared.

Q: What advice would you give other communities who are not so actively engaged in saving their housing stock?

A: Get started now. Now is the time to get people into houses. Home prices are amazingly low and new housing starts are in a big slump. This is a buyer’s market. Mortgage rates are low, too. And while it is much harder to get a loan these days, it isn’t impossible. We’re helping by working with both borrowers and lenders. With the borrowers we’re doing homebuyer training to get them ready for these loans. With the lenders we’re putting together Price Hill specific programs to get people into our homes. With gas prices, home prices and the slowdown in the economy, this is the best time to move back to the city. Getting closer to the action at a lower price is not only good for your budget, it’s also the green thing to do – walk to the stores, walk to work, take the bus, ride your bike. You can’t do that in the suburbs.