Friday@Five

April 21, 2017

The Next Evolution

There have been several recent publications unpacking the post-repeal dynamics of HB2.

Bob Joyce at the UNC School of Government published some omnibus guidance on the existing state of the law and how local governments can respond and comply. 

Bob’s colleague, Norma Houston, also posted specific guidance on how local government contracting limitations–some of the lesser covered elements of the bill–are affected by the repeal.

Additionally, Yale Law professor Stephen Carter posted a short piece examining the use of corporate pressure in the HB2 debate. 

Dropping Knowledge

The Urban Land Institute recently published two noteworthy pieces: a report on the effects of immigrants and housing demand and its annual Consensus Forecast of real estate trends.

Home in America looks at housing trends, particularly around homeownership, of immigrants. In addition to providing a national overview, the report profiles and provides specific data on five metro regions, including Charlotte. The Queen City is used to exemplify its “emerging gateway” sub-category. Several interesting points:

  • Homeownership among first generation immigrants is increasing (51%) but still lags the native born (66%).  However, by the second generation, home ownership levels for immigrant children is consistent with the native born number. 
  • While still drawn to the historical “gateway cities,” the foreign-born population is increasingly moving to other metropolitan areas that do not have the same presence of national or ethnic enclaves.  
  • In the Charlotte region, half of the foreign-born population arrived in the United States after 2000. More than half is from Latin America and a quarter is from Mexico.  Another quarter is from Asian countries which have contributed to the recent growth. 
  • The median household income of foreign-born households in Charlotte is similar to native-born households with Asian immigrant households earning significantly more than native-born households and immigrants from other geographic areas earning less. 

The ULI Real Estate Consensus Forecast is a combined report based on survey data from national real estate firms as well as a number of standard economic indicators.  The April report provides several noteworthy findings:

  • Commercial property transactions peaked in 2015 at $546 billion and declined to $489 billion in 2016.  The forecast is for continued decline to $450 billion and $430 billion in 2017 and 2019 respectively.
  • Commercial real estate prices are expected to grow below the long-term average growth rate of 5.8%.  Estimates are for growth rates of 5 percent in 2017, 3.5 percent in 2018, and 3 percent in 2019. 
  • Single-family home starts are projected to increase from 718,500 units in 2016 to 920,000 units in 2019.

Need To Know

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer launched a new venture, USAFacts, that is “a new data-driven portrait of the American population, our government’s finances, and government’s impact on society.” The goal of the site is to provide and reframe publicly available government data–primarily federal–as a way to enhance the public policy debate. The project will offer “annual report, a summary report, and a “10-K” modeled on the document public companies submit annually to the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) for transparency and accountability to their investors.”

An exploration of the site gives an appreciation for the tech CEO’s vision for accessing government data. It is best used when you have something specific to look for or you have 15 to 20 minutes to go down research rabbit holes. For a good slideshow overview of the effort, check out the Summary Report. Our favorite way to explore is through the Missions tab to find data organized by the purposes of government as defined by the Constitution.

Quick plug: The Center and EdNC have partnered with Engaged Public to bring a similar, state budget-oriented tool to North Carolina. As we head into the depths of budget season, be sure to check out Balancing Act.

Making News

Pew released some survey data this week that looked at Americans’ top frustrations with the tax system. Best datapoint: People continue to think that corporations or the wealthy pay their fair share.