Lisa Chow is the economics reporter at WNYC. She tries to explore in her stories surprising aspects of New York’s many economies—in plain view or hidden, in neighborhoods or sectors.
Overall home lending fell last year in New York City, but not for low and moderate income buyers, according to a new report by New York University's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.
The number of home loans issued to low and moderate income families increased by six percent in 2009, accounting for one in 10 mortgages, while the total number of loans fell 26 percent.
The report said government agencies like the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Veteran Affairs played a greater role in the local mortgage market, backing 16 percent of all loans. "As private lending has declined, I think the government wanted to try to insure that credit continued to flow," said Ingrid Gould Ellen, co-director of NYU's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. In 2007, FHA and VA only backed 1 percent of home loans in New York City.
The NYU report also found that refinancing activity across the city's five boroughs grew 70 percent last year. In Manhattan, the number of refinance loans nearly tripled from 2008 to 2009. The increases were driven mostly by white and Asian homeowners.