FT Seasonal Appeal auction: have lunch with an FT writer
- This year, in aid of the FT’s staff-voted Seasonal Appeal partner, Habitat for Humanity, we will be auctioning lunch with some of our award-winning writers.
- Discuss business, world politics or cricket with the FT’s Editor.
- Talk luxury travel destinations and the latest watch recommendations with How to Spend It’s Editor.
- Talk about the economy and all things US with our US Managing Editor and award-winning author.
- The ultimate personal finance duo will provide sound advice along with excellent company.
- Habitat for Humanity is a leading charity focused entirely on home building, housing and every issue related with it, working in more than 70 countries.
- Through the Financial Times Seasonal Appeal you can support their vital work to fight the global housing crisis.
- A matching scheme for donations has been generously provided by the Hilti Foundation, a charitable organisation.
Higher Rents Correlate to Higher Homeless Rates, New Research Shows
- In communities where individuals spend a third or more of their income on rent, rates of homelessness are likely to accelerate, according to new research funded by real estate listings database Zillow.
- The study validates what has long been a rule of thumb among real estate professionals—the idea that generally speaking, people shouldn’t spend more than a third of their income on rent.
- The study, conducted by (z) Zillow Research, is an attempt to quantify the size, as well as identify some of the root causes, of the nation’s homelessness crisis.
- The study identified two rent burden thresholds—22% and 32%—which can affect homelessness in a particular community.
- When rent affordability rises more than 22%, more people in a community experience homelessness.
- When the rent burden rises more than 32%, the overall rate of homelessness is likely to rise much faster in a particular area.
Goodbye to bidding wars: Some of the hottest housing markets are falling the hardest
- Home values in Seattle were the hottest in the nation last spring, up 13 percent annually in April, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index.
- Housing inventory in the large metropolitan markets Redfin tracks was up 5 percent in November annually, the largest supply boost in three years.
- The inventory in November was up 54 percent from a year ago and sales were down 12 percent, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.
- In Denver, another market that was incredibly competitive last year due to very short supply and high demand, inventory in November jumped nearly 47 percent annually, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors.
- Even in Dallas, where demand is still quite strong due to a healthy local economy, inventory is up over 15 percent, and 14 percent of listings saw price reductions in October, according to Realtor.com.
There are reasons to be optimistic about real estate in 2019
- Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) expects housing prices to move in step with economic fundamentals.
- Housing prices (measured as a composite index) in Vancouver, B.C.’s largest housing market, have been growing at a slower rate since 2016 when British Columbia imposed new transaction taxes on foreign homebuyers.
- At the same time, we are mindful of the concerns about the housing markets in the U.S. Writing in the New York Times, Robert Shiller, a Nobel Laureate in Economics, warns that there is a “limit on how much the prices of existing homes can increase.” He observed that the rapidly accelerating “prices of single-family homes may fall soon” in the U.S. Canadian housing markets avoided the fallout from the last housing market crash in the U.S. In a post-NAFTA world in which Canada is less reliant on the U.S. for trade, it is likely that a future slowdown in the American housing market would be even less of a concern for Canadian housing markets.
Homebuilders are not getting a bump from lower mortgage rates
- Mortgage applications to purchase a newly built home dropped 11 percent in November, compared to a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
- Given the drop, MBA economists predict that sales of newly built homes in November fell 5 percent annually.
- This drop is surprising, given the sharp drop in mortgage rates in November, and therefore underscores the fundamental weakness in the housing market today.
- The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage started at 5.05 percent in the first week of November and fell throughout the month, ending at 4.86 percent by November 30th, according to Mortgage News Daily.
- While mortgage rates did drop back slightly in November, they are still higher than they were one year ago, and the expectation is that they will rise again going into 2019.
Toronto and Vancouver most ‘vulnerable’ to interest rate hikes as personal debt soars, CMHC warns
- TORONTO — Canadians living in two of the country’s largest cities may find themselves more “vulnerable” to interest rate increases as personal debt levels in Toronto and Vancouver continue to hit record-levels, warns a report by Canada Mortgage Housing Corp.
- The housing agency says the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio for those living in Vancouver climbed to 242 per cent in the second quarter, which ended June 30.
- The report noted that higher interest rates means that households could see an increase in the amount required for debt repayment, which could exceed their original budgets.
- The DTI ratio have decreased in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, Halifax, and Sherbrooke, Que. It is the lowest in Saint John, N.B., where it declined to 106 per cent in the second quarter.
Oakland official: “We want to get Americans out of their cars and solve racism”
- Oakland is just one of many cities across America that is trying to sort out how it will manage the rapid influx of shared electric scooters on its streets.
- Ars Technica Live How to make elections secure in the age of digital operatives How Oakland sets the new standard for meaningful police tech oversight Gig economy 101—“I came to this bar in a Lyft, should I feel guilty about that?” How does the third-party doctrine apply to future autonomous robots?
- Russo was the latest guest at Ars Technica Live, our weekly event held monthly at a local bar in Oakland.
- Russo said that, given the city’s commitment to social equity, it is particularly interested in making sure that there are adequate scooters in portions of the city that lack many mass transportation options—notably East and West Oakland.
8 cities and towns where you can buy a home for free — or at a massive discount
- The list includes small towns like Tulsa, Oklahoma, as well as major urban areas like Baltimore, Maryland and Tokyo, Japan.
- First-time homebuyers in New Haven are eligible to receive up to $10,000 to cover the closing costs or down-payment on their home.
- The Tulsa Remote program is offering a small group of digital nomads — people with the freedom to work from anywhere — up to $10,000 to move to their city.
- The Baltimore Homeownership Incentive Program offers a number of discounts for local residents, including $5,000 for first-time homebuyers who earn at or below 80% of the area median income, and a $5,000 incentive for city employees.
- The program's biggest subsidy comes in the form of $10,000 for residents who purchase a vacant home.
- Residents of Harmony can receive a cash rebate of up to $12,000 for building a new property in town.
Review: Nomad leather AirPod Rugged Case
- In my never-ending quest to wrap everything in brown leather, I’m pleased with this AirPod case from Nomad.
- It’s simple: just a plastic case covered with brown (or black) leather.
- But I like it.
- The Nomad AirPod Rugged Case adds a little character to the sterile AirPod housing.
- Instead of medical-grade white, the case covers the AirPods in pleasant leather.
- The case does two things.
- One, it makes your AirPod case stand out from the rest, ensuring a friend doesn’t mistake your AirPods for their AirPods.
- Two, the leather adds nice texture to the case making it a bit easier to grasp.
- That’s it.
- For $29.99, the Nomad AirPod Rugged Case is a lovely upgrade for the AirPods.
Mortgage applications rise 1.6% as interest rates drop to lowest level since September
- A sharp drop in interest rates drove mortgage application volume up 1.6 percent last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted index.
- Mortgage applications to refinance a home loan increased 2 percent last week but were still 34 percent lower than a year ago, when interest rates were 72 basis points lower.
- Rates have fallen 21 basis points in the past two weeks, and while refinances are highly sensitive to weekly rate moves, millions of borrowers have already refinanced to record-low interest rates in the past few years, so the pool of potential refinancers is relatively small.
- The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 41.5 percent of total applications, the highest level since March, from 40.4 percent the previous week.
- The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity increased to 7.6 percent of total applications.