In the course of Community Development and Policy Studies (CDPS) field work throughout the Seventh District, CDPS contacts – in varying contexts – have voiced concerns. To gain a broader perspective on these concerns as well as other conditions impacting low- and moderate-income (LMI) populations and communities, CDPS conducts regular surveys of people representing organizations that serve LMI populations and communities in varying ways. Our survey respondents represent organizations in the fields of real estate development; facilities financing; financial counseling; economic development; banking; consumer advocacy; small business development; philanthropy; law; higher education; agriculture; manufacturing; and human services. This blog is a summary of responses from the latest CDPS Survey.
While the survey provides, by virtue of its nature and scope, more qualitative than quantitative insights, contacts noted many issues impacting (mostly) distressed single family (1-4 units) housing markets in their region. With one or two exceptions, most of the housing market stresses mentioned in the January 2014 are still impacting the housing market (see chart). Respondents still perceive the overall foreclosure rate as a serious problem (despite region-wide data indicating leveling or decreasing of both foreclosure start and inventory rates). More in line with data tracked by CDPS, respondents perceive a degree of improvement in homeowners reaching agreement with lenders on workouts and modifications. Respondent comments suggest the increase in the “other” category may relate to shortages of affordable rental property, population loss in certain areas, or lack of financing available for multi-family property.
Respondents’ perceptions around business loan demand in LMI communities differ by location as well as loan type. Contacts noted a shortage of start-up and expansion financing for small businesses. Others noted that banks were raising credit standards for small business, auto, mortgage, and agriculture loans.
The survey ended with a general question about the biggest challenges or opportunities to sustained growth or revitalization in the communities served. The responses varied greatly, but included:
- A need for long-term strategies to address: poverty; high vacancy rates; and job creation programs;
- Lack of skilled workers;
- Concerns about high agricultural land prices;
- Long-term unemployed;
- Rural depopulation; and
- Availability of capital.