The death of big box stores could lead to a new kind of homeless housing. Here's what that might look like
- The steep decline of big box stores like Kmart and JCPenney has made way for a host of new development.
- Recently, developers have begun to view these spaces as a possible solution to a growing national housing crisis.
- In Southern California, architecture firm KTGY sees big box stores as a way to accommodate the region's thousands of unsheltered homeless residents.
- In early September, the firm unveiled the designs for Re-Habit, a housing concept that would transform an 86,000-square-foot department store into a transitional space for the homeless.
- In June, the site of a former Macy's department store in Alexandria, Virginia, became a temporary homeless shelter that provides beds, hot meals, and showers for at least 60 local residents.
- The project is designed to scale far beyond pilot programs found in cities like Los Angeles or Seattle.
These are the best — and most affordable — suburbs for retirement
- First, GOBankingRates came up with a list of the best suburbs for retirees, which looked at neighborhoods with at least 1,000 households and ranked them based on taxes, living expenses, retirement income and livability.
- Then, accounting for rent, utilities, groceries and health-care expenses, the personal finance site found the overall annual income needed to live there.
- Capturing the top spot was Sun City, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, which has an average monthly rent of $1,196 and the lowest cost of living overall.
- An earlier report by GoBankingRates compared average expenses for people age 65 and older, including groceries, housing, utilities, transportation and health care, in every state to come up with how long a nest egg of $1 million would really last during retirement.
Lower lumber prices hold homebuilder sentiment steady, for now
- Home builder sentiment in September held steady at 67 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, or HMI.
- Home builder sentiment is up from 64 one year ago, but down from its most recent high of 70 in May. Confidence among builders has been under pressure from rising costs and a continued shortage of skilled labor.
- While lumber prices are down from their record highs last spring, the survey was conducted just as the threat of new tariffs on Chinese products was rising.
- Of the index's three components, current sales conditions rose one point to 74 and the component gauging expectations in the next six months increased two points to 74.
- Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose one point to 54 and the South remained unchanged at 70.
ACLU Says Facebook Ads Let Employers Favor Men Over Women
- In recent years, Facebook has faced lawsuits, media exposés, and even federal charges alleging that its ad-targeting tools help advertisers discriminate based on age or race for jobs, housing, and credit.
- On Tuesday, the ACLU filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that Facebook violated labor and civil rights laws by allowing employers to target ads to (mostly younger) men, to the exclusion of (mostly older) women and gender-nonbinary job-seekers.
- Outten & Golden and the CWA have been pressuring Facebook on permitting discrimination in advertising for years, including ongoing lawsuits that allege race discrimination in job, housing, and credit ads, as well as a lawsuit filed in December around age discrimination in job ads and a related EEOC charge that is still pending.
Higher interest rates, debt putting pressure on Canadians’ finances
- Environics Analytics says rising housing prices are inflating the net worth of the average Canadian, but higher interest rates and debt are putting pressure on discretionary spending.
- The research firm estimates the average Canadian’s net worth rose by 8.5 per cent to almost $808,000 in 2017, but much of that wealth was tied up in assets that are difficult to cash in, such as real estate.
- Meanwhile, debt climbed by 4.5 per cent in 2017 while the average interest-expense-to-income ratio rose 40 basis points to 6.4 per cent, the first increase in a decade.
- Increasing debt levels coupled with rising interest rates meant the average Canadian household spent $544 more on interest charges last year.
- Household debt has been identified as a key vulnerability for the financial system by the Bank of Canada, which has raised its key interest rate four times since mid-2017.
I crossed the Alps on a space hopper
- I am not religious, but I thought a 200-mile walk across southern England would give me time away from my troubles and help me decide where my life was going.
- I also started spending some of my free time working on projects to help homeless people in Chichester, where I live.
- “It’s like trying to cross the Alps on a space hopper.” I had been wondering what I could do for my next journey – and there it was.
- I had planned my route so most of the toughest bouncing took place at the start, but by noon the temperature was 30C.
- Travelling at a little over half a mile an hour and putting in eight or nine hours a day, I usually made my target, although a couple of times I had to sleep rough.
- In Grenoble, I posted a video explaining my motivation and encouraging followers to approach homeless people with offers of help.
Homeowners are sitting on $6 trillion in available cash, but they're not tapping it
- Homeowners withdrew about $65 billion in home equity in the second quarter of this year.
- Homeowners withdrew just 1.13 percent of tappable equity, the lowest share since the start of 2014.
- Part of the reason may be that homeowners today remember what happened to the housing market a decade ago and have no desire to treat their homes like ATM's.
- And the expectation is that homeowners will start to tap more equity in the coming year, especially for home renovation projects.
- In 2018, remodeling spending by homeowners is estimated to increase by at least 5 percent in 41 of the 50 metropolitan markets tracked by Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, and by 10 percent or more in 11 of these major metros, led by Kansas City, Charlotte, San Antonio, Dallas, and Sacramento.
- That is likely because homeowners there have less mortgage and more equity in their homes.