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Friday, September 25, 2020
Robin Azougi 1st R, a licensed real estate salesperson with Douglas Elliman Real Estate, talks with prospective buyers at a house for sale in Floral Park, Nassau County, New York, on Sept. 6, 2020. Wang Ying | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images Fierce competition for a limited supply of homes for sale has caused a surge in prices. Now, potential buyers, some fleeing urban areas hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, are facing a national affordability crisis. The median prices of single-family homes and condos in the third quarter are less affordable than historical averages in 63% of U.S. counties, up from 54% a year ago, according to Attom Data Solutions, a property data-base. It calculates affordability for average wage earners on the income needed to make monthly mortgage, property tax and insurance payments on a median-priced home with a 20% down payment. It also assumes homeowners will pay no more than 28% of their income on those payments. Price appreciation is now outpacing wage appreciation in 90% of housing markets nationally. A pandemic-induced run on housing began in earnest in May and has not let up. Home sales in August were
General view of WeWork Weihai Road flagship is seen on April 12, 2018 in Shanghai, China. World's leading co-working space company WeWork will acquire China-based rival naked Hub for 400 million U.S. dollars. (Photo by Jackal Pan/Visual China Group via Getty Images) VCG | Getty Images LONDON — Office space provider WeWork has sold a majority stake in its China business to existing shareholder Trustbridge Partners for $200 million, after the coronavirus pandemic intensified its financial difficulties.   The New York-headquartered company, which buys and leases prime real estate in the world's biggest cities, has been cutting costs globally ever since its botched IPO last year. WeWork said it will retain a minority stake in WeWork China and that it will continue to receive an annual license fee for use of its brand and services. It will also keep a board seat.  Having once held a private valuation of $47 billion, the company was valued at just $2.9 billion in May. Indeed, WeWork's China business was valued at $5 billion in a 2018 funding round that involved Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek and the SoftBank Vision Fund.  Now 80% owned by SoftBank, WeWork is
Eric Trump speaks in Portsmouth, NH on Sept. 17, 2020. Eric Trump, son of President Donald Trump, makes a stop in Portsmouth during one stop on his 'Make America Great Again!' tour. Erin Clark | Boston Globe | Getty Images A lawyer for the New York attorney general's office argued Wednesday that President Donald Trump's middle son, Eric Trump, has no right to delay a subpoena for his testimony as part of an ongoing investigation until after the presidential election in November. The lawyer, Matthew Colangelo, said during a court hearing that there is no good reason why a witness can stall complying with a subpoena demanding his testimony "on a claim of personal inconvenience." Eric Trump has pushed to delay his testimony until after Election Day. "We simply can't delay compliance for another two months," Colangelo said. The hearing in Manhattan court is being held to address Attorney General Letitia James' demand that the Trump Organization, top executive Eric Trump, and lawyers comply with subpoenas seeking documentation and testimony related to several Trump properties. James is investigating whether the New York-based Trump Organization improperly inflated the values of several real estate assets
People wait to visit a house for sale in Floral Park, Nassau County, New York. Wang Ying | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images After a brief lull to start the month, mortgage demand surged ahead yet again — even with the highest interest rates in several weeks. Total mortgage application volume increased 6.8% last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted index. Refinance demand came roaring back, up 9% for the week and 86% annually. While millions of borrowers already have refinanced over the past year, millions more could benefit, as rates bounce around near record lows. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 64.3% of total applications from 62.8% the previous week. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances of up to $510,400 increased to 3.10% from 3.07%, with points and origination fee increasing to 0.46 from 0.32 for loans with a 20% down payment. The rate was 92 basis points higher a year ago. "Mortgage applications activity remained strong last week, even as the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and 15-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to their highest levels since
A home for sale is seen in Santa Monica, California. Lucy Nicholson | Reuters After a record-setting July, the housing market still shows no sign of cooling off. Sales of existing homes rose 2.4% to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 6 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales were 10.5% higher compared with August 2019. This is the highest sales pace since December 2006, before the Great Recession. Sales were hampered only by lack of supply. There were 1.49 million homes for sale at the end of august, down 18.6% annually to a 3.0-month supply. The supply of homes for sale when sales were last this robust, in 2006, was more than double the current supply. That tight supply pushed the median price of an existing home sold in August to a record high of $310,600. That is up 11.4% annually. In the third quarter of this year the housing wealth will have increased by $1.5 trillion from the second quarter. "The imbalance of supply and demand will hurt affordability soon. Once that appears it will hinder home ownership rates," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors.   Tough
Scott Heins | Getty Images News | Getty Images Mom-and-pop landlords are in a worse financial position relative to their higher-earning peers as unemployment remains elevated and Americans continue to struggle to pay rent, according to a new analysis. Roughly a third of individual landlords who own residential property are from low- to moderate-income households (those with incomes of less than $90,000 a year), according to researchers at the Hamilton Project, an economic policy arm of the Brookings Institution, a left-leaning think tank. Such landlords derive a greater share of their income from rent relative to others. For example, rent makes up 19% of household income for those making less than $50,000 a year, and 15% for those making $50,000 to $89,000 a year, the analysis found. By comparison, residential landlords who make more than $200,000 a year derive about 5% of their annual income from rent. Unemployment This dynamic is concerning, as millions of workers remain unemployed and may have trouble paying their rent from month to month, which may place disproportionate strain on mom-and-pop landlords, according to Wendy Edelberg, director of the Hamilton Project and a co-author
Retirement village in Florida. Ron Levine | Image Bank | Getty Images Where to live in one's golden years is one of the most significant decisions a new retiree has to make, and the traditional notion of retirement is changing.  The old formula of cookie-cutter retirement communities is being challenged by the rise of customizable living arrangements. Sprawling housing developments in retirement havens like Florida are becoming less desirable and, as people live longer, they want their retirement to reflect their lifestyle choices. One of America's largest and most influential generations is leading the evolution of retirement communities: Baby boomers.  The oldest boomers are already retired. The youngest are now entering their retirement years, in some cases, whether they like it or not, as the Covid-19 pandemic has forced companies to cut staff and shrink costs. America, as a society, is getting older. The number of households with people age 80 and over rose 71% from 4.4 million in 1990 to 7.5 million in 2016, according to Harvard's "Housing America's Older Adults" report. The report predicts that within the next 20 years, the number of households in this group will double.  "Housing America's Older Adults"