Morning Headlines: Housing Auction Confuses and Brings Treasured Memories

It took some time, but the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) finally decided to sell some 196 properties the agency has owned since the 1960s and ’70s that were bearing no revenue fruit. Yesterday morning PHA held an auction, and while some people were glad to get an opportunity to bid on beloved homes, others felt unprepared.

“The toughest thing about these auctions is they won’t let people into the properties,” one developer told City Paper. But another bidder said he was able to inspect the properties, and indeed the list of homes to be auctioned was made public well before yesterday.

That’s how Laverne Simms knew to come to the auction to bid on a row home on North Etting Street in North Philadelphia. It was Simms’ family home until seven years ago, when her elderly mother moved out; she won the home for $9,000. “I can’t wait to get her back there,” Simms told the Inquirer of her mother, whose home it will be once again.

Here’s what else is news this morning:

• Longtime Francisville residents are worried about changes to the neighborhood. The Daily News’ Valerie Russ talks to people like schools administrator John Jackson, who says, “We are paying the price for investment in this area where everybody who is buying here now will have a 10-year tax abatement, while our property taxes are being tripled. Our own kids will not be able to buy a home in this area, and that’s very disturbing.”

• Trends in the housing market: This headline from The Street is a little hard to hear: “Fear and Greed Return to the Housing Market.” Those could be bubble poppers, but on the other hand, “the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index rose by six points to 57 in July, the strongest reading since January 2006…indicating that home builders are seeing improving demand for newly-built single family homes.” So it’s not all venal news.

• The Northeast isn’t as homogenous as people seem to think. The Central Northeast–Fox Chase, Burholme, Rhawnhurst, Lexington, Bells Corner, and others–“have a growing population and twice as many immigrants as the city average,” PlanPhilly reports. PlanPhilly quotes city planner Michael Thompson as saying, “The Central Northeast District is a melting pot, with a rich, cultural mix of attractions, as indicated through the vigorous range of culturally oriented retail stores found in neighborhood corridors: West Indian, Chinese, Brazilian, Russian, Latino, Ukranian, just to name a few.”