UGA conference to focus on returning properties to tax rolls

UGA conference to focus on returning properties to tax rolls

Athens, Ga. – Real Estate Solutions: Best Practices for Today’s Housing Market-a daylong conference designed to help community leaders throughout Georgia return to the tax rolls abandoned, foreclosed and vacant homes, unfinished subdivisions, and abandoned developments-will be held Thursday, Dec. 17, at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel.

“Few communities in Georgia have been spared from the housing crisis,” said Anne Sweaney, chair of the department of housing and consumer economics and director of the Housing and Demographics Research Center in the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “Most communities have large numbers of unsold, unoccupied houses, and many have one or more partially developed subdivisions with vacant lots and vacant homes. In planning this conference, we have found some excellent strategies to deal with these challenges. Vacant homes and vacant lots take a toll on property tax revenue and can result in blight. Many communities, though they would not have chosen the crisis, are making it work for them.”

Among the speakers at the conference will be Dan Immergluck, associate professor of city and regional planning at Georgia Tech. Immergluck is the author of Foreclosed: High-Risk Lending, Deregulation and the Undermining of America’s Mortgage Market, which was published this year. He also has conducted extensive research in the areas of housing and mortgage market finance; subprime lending; foreclosures and their community impacts; community reinvestment and fair lending; and the impacts of tax increment financing and related policies.

The conference also will include talks by Patricia Hoban-Moore, deputy regional director of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development department, and Shirley Sherrod, who is the state director of rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They will each provide their perspectives on housing issues following a video presentation by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson.

According to Sweaney, several speakers from throughout Georgia will discuss how they are restoring properties to the tax rolls in their communities. For example, the city of Fitzgerald has taken advantage of the reduced price of foreclosed properties to improve housing affordability.

“Because Georgia benefited so greatly from the housing boom, we’re also in the top percentage nationwide in foreclosures,” she said. “However, leaders throughout the state have developed effective, sustainable strategies are addressing these issues and are eager to share their successes and discuss their challenges with their colleagues.”

In addition to local elected officials and government employees, the conference also will benefit real estate agents, mortgage bankers and lenders, homebuilders, developers, apartment property managers, non-profit housing organizations and others interested in housing and community development.

Elected municipal officials attending the conference will receive a six-hour credit that can be applied toward certification from the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute. Registration for the conference is $45 on or before Dec. 1 and $55 after Dec. 1. To register, call 1-800-884-1381 or 706/542-2134 or go to http://www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/conferences/2009/Dec/17/housing.phtml.

In addition to the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, the conference is sponsored by the UGA Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the Georgia Municipal Association, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and the Georgia Department of Labor. Additional partners include U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Georgia State Trade Association of Non Profit Developers.

For more information, contact Karen Tinsley at 706/542-4949 or klt@uga.edu.