Posted in home improvement loans

US new home sales surge to fastest pace since 2006 as housing market shines through pandemic



a car parked in front of a sign: Associated Press


© Associated Press
Associated Press

  • Sales of new US homes accelerated by 4.8% to an annual rate of 1 million units in August, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.
  • That pace is the highest since 2006 and marks four consecutive months of increasing sales.
  • The agency’s estimate of new homes for sale fell to 282,000, reflecting 3.3 months of supply at the current pace of sales. That’s the shortest period in data going back to 1963.
  • Though the housing market has been one of the few bright spots in the virus-rattled economy, some fear dwindling supply will soon halt the sector’s rally.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

The US housing market extended its winning streak into August as Americans continued taking advantage of record-low mortgage rates.

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Sales of new homes leaped 4.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.01 million units, the Census Bureau announced

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Posted in home

Working From Home in a Pandemic Is Not Shirking It

(Bloomberg Opinion) — Working from home, once jokingly dismissed as “shirking” from home, is back as a pandemic lifeline for economies amid a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Europe. Governments in Britain and France, having goaded workers back to the office after lockdown, are now urging them home again. The sound of frustrated bosses gritting their teeth can be heard across the City of London, as big firms from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Citigroup Inc. pause the back-to-work push while keeping the office open.



a person sitting in a room: No shirking here.


© Bloomberg
No shirking here.

There’s a sense of whiplash among white-collar workers, who just weeks ago were told that it was time to put the economy first and get back to their cubicles and open-plan desks. There should also be palpable relief. Being able to pull in a salary while safe at home is a privilege hospital staff, care workers and supermarket cashiers can’t

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Posted in home improvement loans

Home prices up more than 14% during pandemic in Massachusetts

New real estate data shows that despite the pandemic, real estate prices are experiencing growth not seen since the bubble years of the mid-2000s. After a slow spring, the quest for more personal space during the pandemic has led to single-family home prices climbing more than 14%, according to data compiled by The Warren Group’s August Sales Report.But the communities with the biggest gains are not the usual suspects. For example, Littleton is the Boston suburb with the biggest price increase in August, despite a location that would make a commute into the city more difficult than other suburbs. Home prices there are up 29% compared to a year ago. “People are reacting to wanting less dense places, perhaps to retreat to in times of high infections,” said Timothy Warren, CEO of The Warren Group.According to the sales report, the median price for a single-family home jumped to a record … Read More

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Posted in home improvement loans

Renovation loans get pandemic boost as homeowners want home offices

HW+ house roof

Vexed by work-from-home arrangements owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, homeowners are taking the long view and rethinking floor plans. The reality is, home offices are no longer a luxury.

In the initial three weeks of public health lockdowns in March, according to Gallup, the percentage of employed Americans working from home doubled to 62%. Of these workers, three in five said they’d prefer to work from home when restrictions are lifted. Homeowners are serious about dedicating room for work.

There’s a mainstay in mortgage finance poised to help in working from home. The Federal Housing Administration’s 203(k) rehabilitation mortgage insurance program is designed for borrowers to renovate when they purchase or refinance.

For over 40 years with Section 203(k) of the National Housing Act, FHA has been protecting lenders with fully-insured mortgage loans even as renovations are underway. In turn, the program opens access to much-needed renovation capital for borrowers.

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Posted in renovation

Hotel Del Coronado doesn’t let a pandemic slow its $400M renovation

Even as hotels confront the new reality of a pandemic that has stifled tourism, San Diego County’s most iconic property, the Hotel Del Coronado, is not slowing its years-long renovation that is expected to cost $400 million.

The latest phase of the project to make its debut encompasses an expansive rooftop bar and restaurant overlooking the hotel pool and beachfront, an updated pool area, and a complete redo of its 97 cabana guestrooms, some of which directly face the ocean.

Shown here is one of the remodeled oceanfront cabana rooms at the Hotel Del Coronado

Shown here is one of the remodeled oceanfront cabana rooms at the Hotel Del Coronado

(Courtesy of Hotel Del Coronado)

The ongoing $400 million renovation, billed as the most costly upgrade since the hotel opened in 1888, got under way in early 2019, and a significant portion of it is expected to be completed by April . While all the resort changes envisioned as part of the hotel’s original master

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Posted in home repair

Parenting And Working From Home During A Pandemic? You Can Do It!

Jan Dubauskas is the Vice President of Healthinsurance.com.

Simultaneously working from home and parenting during a global health pandemic is a challenge none of us were expecting to face. To call it stressful is an understatement. It requires adapting to a totally different environment, learning new software tools and collaborating differently with colleagues.

Many of us are also working at home with a spouse or partner, who is experiencing the same real-time adjustments and stresses. While it can be exciting and refreshing to work alongside one another, it’s also a significant adjustment for both people. With summer coming to a close, many working parents are undoubtedly anxious for their kids to head back to school. But even that will come with new challenges, as most students will still spend a lot of time doing “virtual learning” at home.

In the spring, distance learning was difficult for parents and kids.

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Posted in contractions

Did The Pandemic Destroy The World Economy As Much As We Think?

Did the pandemic destroy the world economy as much as we think. That depends on who you ask. Barclays Capital economists, led by Christian Keller, say no.

“The pandemic is not over, but (economic) activity data in recent months provided good news,” says Keller. “The growth contractions in the second quarter were typically less severe than feared and the subsequent recovery, at least in its initial phase, has surprised on the upside.”

This has been particularly true in the U.S. and in China, where the economy is on the upswing. China, in fact, is expected to register positive growth this year. It won’t be over 5%, as was expected. But it won’t be negative, either, assuming economies remain as is for

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Posted in home

Cities Struggle As Household Trash Piles Up During Pandemic : NPR

A man wearing a protective mask looks at piled-up trash in New York City on April 24. Cities are struggling with collection as the volume of residential garbage surges during the stay-at-home era.

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A man wearing a protective mask looks at piled-up trash in New York City on April 24. Cities are struggling with collection as the volume of residential garbage surges during the stay-at-home era.

Cindy Ord/Getty Images

From empty pizza boxes to Amazon cartons, household trash cans are overflowing with the refuse of our new, stay-at-home era — and cities are struggling to keep up.

Residential trash volume spiked as much as 25% this spring, according to the trade group Solid Waste Association of North America. It has shrunk a bit since then but remains well above pre-pandemic levels.

For garbage collectors, that means longer workdays and more

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Posted in kitchen remodel

Pandemic drives kitchen remodeling projects

People are “forced to be home” and are “sick of their kitchens,” said Alicia Molenaar, a designer and co-owner of Kitchen Fair in Willmar.

During the pandemic, Kitchen Fair has been swamped with requests from customers looking for a new look and ways to improve functionality and efficiency in their kitchens. “We are really busy,” Molenaar said.

While updating paint or adding a colorful backsplash can be handled by a weekend do-it-yourselfer, a kitchen makeover can benefit from a professional designer.

The process begins with taking measurements of an existing kitchen space and an interview with the homeowner to find out how they use their kitchen, how many people typically cook there at one time and what they want in terms of style and functionality.

Giving a kitchen a new look can be as simple as installing new hardware – where the trend is for larger handles that can fit

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Posted in home

Startup Opportunities Driven By The Pandemic And A Stay At Home Consumer

While the pandemic has caused major disruption in most people’s lives and habits, consumers are without a doubt shifting their mindset on several key aspects of their lives, which will affect some trends. Whether it is how consumer’s grocery shop, work from home, prepare their food, get their exercise, travel more locally and have a renewed focus on what “clean” means, behaviors and attitudes have changed, some permanently.

Of course, as we learn and understand how consumers are acting in the present situation of the pandemic, we must also anticipate what the future may hold after the pandemic. And, as consumers continue to adapt and change their way of living, marketers and potential startups, especially small businesses, are challenged with figuring out what actions will last long after COVID-19 is over and the economy has re-opened. Stay-at-home may

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