COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Annual Housing Report

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Report of 2008/09 Housing Initiatives

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. Tucker, Elliott, Davis, White

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:

August 5, 2009

 

ACTION:                INFORMATION:  X

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:              INFORMATION:   

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

The Albemarle County Housing Committee and the Office of Housing are charged with recommending policies which align with the Board’s Strategic Goal of increasing affordable housing opportunities for those who live and work in Albemarle County as well as implementing programs to achieve this objective. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009 the County continued operating assigned programs within the Office of Housing and partnered with nonprofit agencies to implement other programs to improve the safety and affordability of housing for lower-income residents of the County.

 

The Committee and staff are pleased to present the attached Housing Programs Performance Report which highlights housing initiatives in the County during fiscal year 2008/09.  Among the highlights for this past year was presentation of the Joint Task Force’s recommendations on Affordable Housing to the Board on February 4, 2009 and the Housing Committee’s subsequent discussions on identifying implementation measures for several recommendations included in the report. It is the Committee’s intent to update the Board on their actions in the near future and hold a strategic planning session on August 13, 2009 to further define and prioritize affordable housing goals and objectives for the next five (5) years. 

 

This year’s report does not include the level of detail on the housing market as has been provided in the past; however,  two reports from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS (CAAR) are provided, one for calendar year 2008 and one for the first half of calendar year 2009 that provide both local and regional market information.

 

Staff’s presentation to the Board will also include a short briefing by the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program (AHIP) in order to highlight for Board members the successes and challenges faced by one of the County’s long-term nonprofit partners in providing affordable housing opportunities and services to lower-income residents.

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goal 1:  Enhance the Quality of Life for all County Residents

Objective 1.2  By June 30, 2010, working in partnership with others, increase affordable housing opportunities for those who work and/or live in Albemarle County.

 

DISCUSSION:

Although the current real estate market and financial environment impacted outcomes in various housing initiatives during the year, housing programs funded by the County continued to leverage a significant amount of other public and private funding.  The County’s Homebuyer Assistance Program assisted 18 families (20 fewer than last year); however County funds leveraged 91.2 percent of the total costs versus 89 percent in 2007/08 resulting in a more efficient use of County funds. The County’s housing rehabilitation and emergency repair programs exceeded required leverage goals by 14 percent with a combination of funding from eleven sources and over 188 hours of volunteer labor.  Overall, County contributions funded fourteen percent (14%) of the total expenditures of $7,576,311 for affordable housing initiatives.  Total expenditures were down just over $4 million from the previous year’s high of $11,641,875 as a result of the reduction in the number of first-time homebuyers. 

 

Counseling programs saw an increase in the number of families seeking assistance with delinquencies and foreclosures. Piedmont Housing Alliance (PHA) reported one hundred and sixty-nine (169) new clients with fifty-seven (57), one-third of the total new clients, requesting assistance with mortgage defaults.  The Office of Housing worked with six default clients at the request of their lenders.  Twenty-five (25) Albemarle County families sought assistance from PHA for potential fair housing violations.  While this does not represent a large issue, the number of complaints appears to be increasing.  There is no evidence to point to the possibility of increased violations by landlords and lenders since most of the complaints were handled by educating the landlord/lender.  It is likely that increased fair housing education is making more families aware of their rights under fair housing laws.

 

The housing market continues to be in a correction mode making FY2008/09 data more difficult to compare to previous years.  With that said, some meaningful highlights from the CAAR reports are as follows:  

 

At this point in time both market analysts and industry observers are not ready to declare that real estate property values have stabilized.  The supply of housing on the market exceeds demand which may result in some additional price reductions.  The percent of reduction will likely differ in various market segments but may be in smaller increments than those seen over the past twelve to eighteen months.  The greatest negative impact of the market as it relates to the County’s affordable housing is that little or no new housing will be developed until there is a reduction in supply of available existing housing and/or a corresponding increase in demand for housing.  However, there is a possible silver lining as homebuyers have more access to housing options at prices under $200,000. This factor, coupled with the availability of low interest rates, tax credits and other incentives provide increased opportunities for homebuyers to weigh affordable housing options in the County. 

 

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

None

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

This report is for the Board’s information.  There are no actions requested or required.

 

ATTACHMENTS

A – Annual Housing Report

B – CAAR 2008 Report

C – CAAR 2009 Mid-Year Report

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