Bronzeville on Chicago’s southside is experiencing a resurgence, while holding onto its identity as one of America’s historic Black neighborhoods. What new opportunities will emerge in 2023 in revitalizing communities across the country? Time will tell.
“Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day.”
The past year was tough in many communities across the country, and we’re sort of glad it’s over. But as we look ahead to work on our plans for 2023, we’re excited to see the many ways our clients will find to convert last year’s challenges into this year’s opportunities!
Doubtless, all of those in the community development community had the challenge of trying to adapt to some or all of the obstacles that reared their heads in 2022. Pandemic-induced supply chain and labor force problems lingered, hampering housing production and limited housing options. A lack of decent affordable housing elevated to crisis levels in most U.S. cities and started bleeding into rural communities, where housing is usually more affordable. Investors gobbled up an increasing share of housing, including single family housing converted to rentals. The Federal Reserve pushed up interest rates to slow inflation, but higher rates made buying a home much more expensive across the country, pushing many first-time home buyers back to the sidelines. The silver lining, however, is that without the massive federal recovery effort, things could have been much, much worse.
In response to these challenges and many other run-of-the-mill obstacles for community development practitioners, eProperty Innovations worked hard in 2022 to improve and refine our offerings to support our clients working at the front lines of revitalization and recovery. The year saw a major UI update for ePropertyPlus along with a slew of minor enhancements and updates, affecting services, applications, document generation, the mobile app, and more. We relocated our business to Chicago, just in time to host our community partners at the 2022 Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference. We were also able to support and attend state land bank association events in New York, Ohio, and Michigan; and lean further into our community of practice approach for connecting people and ideas to promote positive change. Check out our recent blog post for more details about all of the eProperty enhancements in 2022.
2022’s Challenges to Community Development Present 2023’s Opportunities
The forecast for 2023 calls for a slow and steady recovery, especially if the Federal Reserve starts to ease off on interest rates. The good news, as far as we are concerned, is that foreclosures will likely remain well below historic averages and property owners will have an abundance of equity in their homes to withstand economic pressures, rising housing costs, and further instability from climate change and COVID. We also expect to see positive results from the federal ARPA funds that were awarded in 2022- new community investments and developments from those awarded funds should start to come to fruition in 2023 and 2024.
Here are some of the questions that are on our radar for 2023:
- With many workers staying remote, cities have a glut of empty office and commercial space. Will some of that get converted to housing or other uses?
- Many cities still have lots of vacant land. Will urban farming provide a viable and scalable commercial reuse? What about urban orchards or other green infrastructure?
- Will modular housing start to supplant stick-built housing as an affordable housing solution and where?
- What is the future of land banking, as the stream of tax delinquent, foreclosed, or otherwise distressed real estate remains a trickle?
- What will the GOP-led House of Representatives deliver when it comes to housing and community redevelopment?
In addition to emerging news about our most pressing questions, we’re keeping our eye out for new ideas and useful strategies for community development. We’ll continue to share our industry’s important news through our email updates, website blog posts, and social media channels to help keep everyone in our community of practice informed.
Let’s wish 2022 well and look ahead to 2023!