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1. The construction and marketing of housing is Adequacy of Housing and Community followed closely by economic policymakers as
Development Statistics a key sector of the national economy for which policy action has frequently been taken in The adequacy of the basic programs providing order to help counter excessive expansion or statistics relevant to housing and community contraction of general economic activity; development is discussed under four broad headings:
housing need, allocation of block grant funds, 2. Detailed local data on housing and community
housing market analysis, and community development are required by HUD and other development. An introductory section discusses the Federal agencies for the distribution of Federal Federal role in the provision of local area data. grant funds, the underwriting of mortgage insurance, and the orderly functioning of The Federal Role financial markets; and
Federal requirements for local area statistics on 3. State and local governments are concerned
housing and community development include
detailed data for selected localities for the analysis of with data comparing their situation with other communities and for determining priorities in
current housing market activity and for the analysis
of community development block grants. Data are government efforts to improve housing and
also required to assess the viability and effectiveness neighborhoods.
of proposed projects, such as major home improvement loans and low and lower income housing assistance. Before addressing the requirements for the four broad areas mentioned above, it would be useful
to consider the degree of Federal responsibility for Groups involved in every phase of housing and providing local area data. (For related discussion see community development activity are concerned with the chapter on Federal/State/local cooperative the availability of data in their areas of particular systems of data collection.) concern. These groups include associations of State,
The alternatives for dealing with the requirements county and local governments, including regional
for local area data range from making do with organizations; organizations of government officials
present data programs which means basically relying and others with concern for public housing, urban
on periodic censuses, to the initiation of a vast new development and planning; organizations involved in all aspects of building and marketing; and groups
Federal effort to supply local area data on a current
basis either directly or through underwriting locally concerned with the housing of particular population
initiated contracts. Somewhere in between these groups, such as the elderly, the handicapped, and American Indians. On a continuing basis their data
extremes are Federal efforts to help improve the
useability of data produced as a byproduct of local needs are made known to HUD and other agencies through extensive interaction at national and
programs, such as code enforcement, developing regional conferences. Additional opportunity for
some local data by minimal expansion of current
national and regional data programs and by using discussion of data needs is provided by the
privately produced data. establishment of Census advisory Committees to facilitate suggestions from outside experts concerning
Without Federal interest and support, the the content of quinquennial censuses of housing. development of comparable local data sets would be Periodic conferences to discuss the content of the slow. Yet the totality of local area data which might Annual Housing Survey with outside experts are be useful to some analyst is virtually limitless. Under conducted by HUD. Occasional reviews of selected these circumstances the Federal Government should aspects of housing and community development provide some encouragement for the improvement of policy have helped to clarify the Federal role and to local area data without becoming committed to identify data needs. The most recent of these, and providing a major share of the local area data that it perhaps the most important in terms of the would be useful to have for analytical purposes. The implications for housing statistics, was an in-house recently authorized mid-decade census program effort conducted by HUD in 1973 (Housing in the provides a promising step in this direction. The midSeventies, a Report of the National Housing Policy decade program should provide benchmark data Review). In the late 1960's the Douglas and Kaiser useable for updating the data employed in formula Commissions' reports also addressed the need for grants to minimize any gross inequities which may statistics within the context of broad reviews of urban have resulted from the allocation of funds on the policy and housing.
basis of decennial censuses.
The Federal Government should resist pressure to play a significant financial role in providing additional local area housing and community development data, much of which would be of low priority to many communities. A more promising approach for helping to satisfy local data needs in this field is to continue to encourage local governments to make the maximum possible use of data produced in the course of local government administration. Consideration should also be given to the use of data produced by utilities and firms specializing in the production of local data. Locally produced data, available in a conceptually standardized form and benchmarked to mid-decade or decennial censuses, should provide an adequate basis for determining local priorities involving housing and community development.
Current Federal requirements for data concerning housing need derive from the Housing and Community Development Act of 1968 which stated the goal "...of a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family.' Monitoring of progress towards that goal requires periodic detailed information concerning the characteristics of the population and its housing. For many purposes the decennial censuses of population and housing and the Annual Housing Survey are adequate vehicles for obtaining data broadly descriptive at the national level. However, there are important shortcomings in the data presently collected through these programs for assessing the adequacy of the housing inventory.
Assessment of progress toward the national goal requires reevaluation of what constitutes the attributes of adequate housing and neighborhoods. The former measures of physical condition which users combined in a concept of "standard housing” which were used with relatively minor variations in the censuses of 1940, 1950, 1960, and 1970 dealt only with certain of the physical attributes of individual structures. A new measure (or measures) should include: (1) the physical characteristics of the structure and its equipment, (2) objective measures of the environment of the neighborhood including community facilities or services, and (3) occupancy characteristics such as crowding, economic burden, suitability, and occupant satisfaction. Moreover, the former measure is obsolete in that: (1) research during the mid-1960's demonstrated that it was not possible to produce consistent ratings for individual housing units and areas smaller than census tracts and (2) it cannot be adapted to the self-enumeration techniques currently employed in the census.
Orderly progress in the development of measures of housing and neighborhood adequacy requires a continuing developmental effort. This effort should include the coordination of the investigation of the relationships between housing and neighborhood characteristics and a variety of social and economic phenomena which have a significant relationship to Federal policy issues. Among these are the relationships between housing and health, crime and neighborhood change, crowding and housing deterioration. Priority for study of the relationships should be given to the geographic areas of greatest concern, for example, the core census tracts of central cities, and rural communities.
The HUD Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research should coordinate a continuing interagency effort to develop measures of housing and neighborhood adequacy which have a significant relationship to Federal policy issues. This effort should include investigation of the relationships between housing and neighborhood characteristics and a variety of social and economic phenomena which are included in the HEW Survey of Income and Program Participation.
Assessment of progress towards the national goal also requires improved measures of the economic resources available to families in relation to their demographic characteristics, life stage and satisfaction with housing. This will permit assessment of the balance between the supply of housing of various types in relation to the ability to pay for it, including estimation of the amount of shortfall in economic resources for various groups in the population. With respect to economic resources, the decennial census and the Annual Housing Survey provide estimates of family income, but do not provide estimates of wealth. Improvements in the estimates of income and of wealth are part of the developmental program for the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) under development within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW). Improved estimating procedures for data on income and wealth which are used in the SIPP should be introduced into the Annual Housing Survey as soon as possible after development. Data relating to the cost of housing to the occupant should be improved through the introduction of estimates of the cost of maintenance and repair into the Annual Housing Survey program, or alternatively by adding data on household characteristics to some vehicle such as the Survey of Residential Additions, Alterations, Maintenance and Repair.
Another aspect of statistics related to meeting housing need concerns the value placed by the
occupants on the stream of housing services received the data among localities, it is necessary to employ from renter and owner occupied subsidized housing. data obtained from a common source. Current popSubsidized housing is a significant type of “in-kind" ulation estimates are used by HUD to update the income for which the recipient's valuation is needed population factor; however, the most recent source of as an important input to the determination of an comparable data for the remaining factors is the 1970 optimal mix of cash and in-kind aid. At the present decennial census. As the age of the census data time, little is known about the recipient's valuation of increases, the data are becoming increasingly less assisted housing. In order to provide data in this area, descriptive of the actual distribution of these factors. HUD should work closely with DHEW's developmental effort related to the Survey of Income
Title II of the 1974 act imposes two additional data and Program Participation.
requirements as a basis for determining the allocation
of housing assistance to local governments. Housing Data on the inventory of mobile homes used or vacancies and substandard housing are specifically intended for use as residences is another area in mentioned in addition to population, overcrowding which available data are deficient for assessing the and poverty, which are used for title I. For small adequacy of the housing stock relative to need. Im areas, the additional information is available only proved data on the housing role played by mobile from the 1970 decennial census. Moreover, the homes is of great importance because mobile homes usefulness of vacancy data is relatively shortlived and are an essential source of new private housing for subject to rapid change due to changing market and families in the lowest third of the income distribution. seasonal conditions. In order to minimize the HUD should play a major role in developing a follow inequities resulting from the allocation of funds on the on survey to the 1980 census to obtain detailed basis of decennial censuses, the mid-decade census procharacteristics of mobile homes and their occupants. gram should be used to provide benchmark data for
updating the data employed in formula grants. In order to monitor changes in the housing stock relative to need, policymakers need to go beyond a purely descriptive approach to current data about the Housing Market Analysis process through which change takes place. Change in the housing stock takes place through the addition,
Concerns with both the supply and demand for loss, division or combination of housing units. It is housing are included in this topic. HUD and other also frequently associated with changes in the pop
agencies have a need to monitor changes in both sides ulation living in units basically identifiable as the
of the market in order to develop policies for the same units over time. Data concerning the process of
national as well as the local housing market that will change is provided on the national level by the help assure a reasonable balance. On the supply side "components of inventory change" of the Annual
of the market, data are needed on interest rates, the Housing Survey. The "components” fill what was
volume and terms of transactions in existing units, previously a serious gap in current data by making it
costs of housing production and construction possible to follow annual trends in the location,
activity. On the demand side, data requirements inmagnitude, and characteristics of housing losses and
clude demographic estimates and projections, additions, and to evaluate requirements for new units
detailed estimates of the economic status of families, in relation to the overall housing stock. The process
characteristics of market transactions and current of change in the population associated with the same
intentions with respect to moving. Since much of the units can be analyzed using data based on
data of importance for analyzing the balance between reinterviews of a fixed panel of the Annual Housing
the supply and demand for housing is covered in Survey, thus providing data relevant to the analysis
other chapters, only those aspects not covered of factors associated with the maintenance or
elsewhere will be reviewed here. deterioration of housing over time.
At the broadest level of analysis, currently
available data generally provide a moderately Allocation of Block Grant Funds
adequate overview with respect to major trends in
housing supply and demand. Demographic estimates Title 1 of the Housing and Community and projections indicate the trend of family Development Act of 1974 provides for the formation and increases in the population; series on distribution of significant funds to local areas in family income and factor costs indicate short- and cluding metropolitan cities and urban counties ac long-term trends in the ability to pay for housing; and cording to a three-factor formula involving popula data series on construction starts and market tion, extent of housing overcrowding, and extent of absorption pinpoint current construction activity. In poverty. In order to maintain the comparability of addition, the Annual Housing Survey provides
information on the major components of change in the housing stock, vacancy rates, and trends in the balance between the housing stock and the population to be housed.
While data are generally useful for an overall assessment of trends, important specific weaknesses exist in a number of areas. The housing situation of particular population groups of concern such as the elderly and welfare recipients is known only in the most general terms due to the difficulty of sampling groups that form a fraction of the overall population. Little is known concerning the market for housing of special types, such as housing limited to occupancy by the elderly, or seasonal housing. Information concerning mobile homes and their occupants remains fragmentary. Another area of data weakness relates to the charateristics of transactions involving the sales of existing homes, which is the way many families accommodate their need for a change in housing.
In spite of the areas mentioned above in which the lack of data hampers analyses of situations with broad national policy implication, the data on a national basis are incomparably better than for local areas. Federal agencies require reasonably current housing related data for local areas in order to assist in reviewing the viability of local government and private plans for building or rehabilitating housing with direct Federal subsidies, Federal mortgage insurance or guarantees, or with loans from federally regulated financial institutions.
Every 10 years the decennial census provides a rich source of comparable data for all localities. Beginning in 1985 much local data should become available as part of the quinquennial census program. As mentioned earlier, in 60 Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSA's) data are available every 3 years from the Annual Housing Survey. For markets other than the 60 SMSA's housing permits constitute the principal data series developed on a comparable basis for all active housing markets. For current data in the balance of the metropolitan areas, only local data of variable quality are available. The middecade census provides an opportunity to replace the present 3-year cycle of data for 60 SMSA's with a 5. year cycle for all SMSA's.
The need for improved current data for market analysis at both the national and local level is particularly evident with respect to (1) vacancy data, (2) existing home prices, and (3) the volume of transactions and characteristics of buyers and renters of existing units.
Data giving the characteristics of vacant units available for rent or sale are among the most im
portant indicators of the operation of local housing markets. In determining the ability of local markets to absorb new units, Federal agency field staffs are required to approximate vacancy rates from sources such as utility meter hookups and postal vacancy surveys.
Information on existing home transactions, including selling prices, and rental transactions in existing units is fragmentary. The only available current monthly series is derived from a sample of real estate brokers and provides data for the United States and four regions on the number of transactions and sales prices. Owner and renter transactions in existing housing are several times more numerous than new home purchases and thus should provide a sensitive indicator of the extent of choice for all segments of the housing market.
The need for improved data for housing market analysis should be met through more frequent updating of data, which can be used to benchmark local data series through selective improvements in current data series, and through additions to survey programs focusing on subgroups of the population. The requirement for improved benchmark data for local areas should be met by the inclusion in a middecade census of basic housing data such as occupancy status, value, rent, and housing expense. To provide current vacancy data on a local basis consideration should be given to the use of existing commercial directory services and encouragement of the standardization of local utility data and local occupancy permits. In special situations of unusually active local markets consideration should be given to one-time surveys conducted by the Bureau of the Census.
The requirement for separate tabulations for SMSA's as part of the Annual Housing Survey should be reevaluated with respect to the mid-decade census program and the benchmarking of local data series.
The need for data on existing housing transactions should be met through the initiation of a HUD sponsored survey conducted by the Bureau of the Census and providing data for selected individual active market areas as well as for the Nation. Comparable data should be provided for existing mobile home transactions. Special-purpose surveys such as the periodic surveys of the aged and disabled should be more fully utilized as possible sources on the housing situation of special groups.
Federal requirements for data concerning community development are considerably less well
determine the optimal means of meeting requirements for urban land use data including the need for a multipurpose land data system, the use of special purpose studies and the possible establishment of a Federal/State/local cooperative system. The Department of Agriculture should play a similar role with respect to rural land use data as a natural outgrowth of its role as the lead agency for conducting a feasibility study under the provisions of section 4(d) of the International Investment Survey Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-472). The Bureau of the Census, as the most likely data collection agency, should play an active role in the developmental effort. Consideration should also be given to the initiation of a national survey of land use to provide data relevant to national energy, environment, housing and community development policy formulation and monitoring foreign investment in land during the period in which a cooperative statistical program is being established.
developed than for housing. At this time one area of statistics relating to community development has been identified for investigation. The inclusion of a requirement in the International Investment Survey Act of 1976 that the “the President shall conduct a study of the feasibility of establishing a system to monitor foreign direct investment...including the feasibility of establishing a nationwide multipurpose land data system...” provides a mandate for the examination of the extent of Federal needs for land use data. The need for urban and rural land use on a comparable basis derives from concerns with environmental quality, energy conservation, transportation, the provision of community services, and the preservation of farm land. Currently available land use data on a comparable basis across jurisdictions were developed for limited purposes such as tax assessment or single-time transportation studies and are not comparable from area to area. Sources of land use data include local governments, special transportation studies, studies of the Corps of Engineers, maps of the National Geodetic Survey and the Geological Survey, studies conducted by the Department of Agriculture, data collected in the housing census and the shelter survey conducted by the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency.
While of unknown extent, existing duplication of data gathering efforts for direct Federal purposes or local purposes partly financed through Federal funds is probably considerable. The outlays of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency are illustrative. It is estimated that in the mid 1970's $1 1/2-$2 million was spent annually in updating the inventory of shelters. Since the buildings in which shelters are found are located on parcels of land, it is conceivable that an inventory of shelters could be accommodated as part of a general land use inventory. Although quantitative data are not available, it is safe to say that an even more important use in terms of dollar outlays is the employment of land use data in land use planning, especially in transportation planning.
A program which would provide a significant portion of the urban and rural land use data needed for the multiplicity of uses would be a large undertaking involving extensive Federal and local cooperation. Because of this, a developmental program is needed which will experiment with alternative frameworks for what could become a multipurpose vehicle having both local and national uses. Consideration should also be given to a national survey of land use to provide data relevant to national energy, environment, housing and community development policy formulation.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development should establish a developmental effort to
Two areas stand out as being in need of more coordination to ensure that the statistical needs outlined in this chapter are addressed. The first need is for the initiation of a sustained effort to improve the comparability of locally generated data on housing and community development. A second need is for an agency to exert broad leadership in the development of housing and community development statistics needed for broad analytical purposes. Each of these areas is discussed in turn.
In the discussion of Federal requirements for local area data, a recommendation was made that local area data be relied on as much as possible to provide updates of data produced through the decennial and mid-decade programs. Implicit in this recommendation is the notion that systematic exploitation of data for statistical purposes would be possible for data that are produced as a part of the operation of local governments. As indicated in the chapter on Federal/State/local Cooperative Systems of Data Collection, a significant degree of such cooperation exists. However, relatively little in the way of Federal/local cooperative statistical efforts is to be found in the area of housing and community development statistics. Differences in definitions, methods of data collection, the extent of quality control and differences in the geographic boundaries of administrative subdivisions generally preclude meaningful comparisons between communities, or even within the same community over time.
Difficult as the problem may be of introducing a minimal degree of standardization into selected local statistics of housing and community development,