Home & Leisure

US tax refunds declined 3.3% this year in run-up to deadline

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Fewer U.S. taxpayers have received a refund this year in the run-up to tax day compared to 2023, signaling some consumer spending may be disrupted.

Data from the Internal Revenue Service showed that 66.8 million taxpayers were reimbursed through April 5 compared to 69.1 million through April 7 last year. That means that 3.3%, or roughly 2.3 ...Read more


GM says it will move headquarters from RenCen to Hudson's site in 2025

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

DETROIT — General Motors Co. on Monday said it will move its global headquarters to the Hudson’s Detroit development next year as it works with billionaire mortgage mogul Dan Gilbert's real estate firm to redevelop the Renaissance Center, its current home a mile away.

GM CEO Mary Barra alongside Gilbert, Mayor Mike Duggan and Wayne County ...Read more

Marilyn Gould/Dreamstime/TNS

How to save money at the pharmacy counter

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Steve Wexler has experienced the trouble of finding affordable prescription drugs.

A few years ago, the 70-year-old Plymouth, Minnesota, resident opted to cut short his prescription for Eliquis, a popular blood thinner, rather than pay nearly $1,000 out-of-pocket for his final month on the medication.

Smart shopping can't always tame high ...Read more


Cheap mortgages deter workers from relocating for $250,000 jobs

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Manager recruits in the industrial Midwest are shunning offers to move to the American South — in part because they’re locked into super-low 30-year mortgages.

A tight labor market that’s allowing workers to stay closer to home, rising housing costs and a post-pandemic shift toward remote or hybrid-work arrangements are making it a ...Read more

Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/TNS

Hudson Yards Vessel to reopen three years after spate of deaths

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The Vessel at Hudson Yards will reopen later this year, it was announced on Friday, three years after it was shuttered following a spate of suicides.

The honeycombed installation opened in March 2019 as the centerpiece of the new Hudson Yards neighborhood in Midtown Manhattan. But it quickly gained notoriety after several visitors took their ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: How can we get rid of our rowdy renters?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Lately, some of the renters in our townhome community have been disruptive. There have been noise disturbances, domestic violence, unleashed pets, and even open drug use. When some homeowners raised their concerns, the association said their ability to address the problem was limited, and changing rental bylaws was almost impossible. What can...Read more

E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Zombie malls and other retail centers getting extreme makeovers to keep up with the times

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Denise Richardson took her kids to Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee, Illinois, so often that at Christmas time, the Santa Claus there recognized them by name. She remembers when department stores moved out of Elgin, then a city of 64,000 people in the exurbs of Chicago, to the mall when it opened in 1980, and it was the place to be.

But the mall...Read more

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Downtown Chicago's condo development boom has ended. Here's why

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

For the first time in years, there are no new large condo projects under construction in downtown Chicago.

Roughly 2,500 condos have been developed downtown since 2015 as multiple towers were constructed, and about 600 of those units are still available, said Gail Lissner, managing director for Integra Realty Resources.

But the high cost of ...Read more


Sorry, home sellers: The 6% commission isn't going anywhere

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Negotiation is an essential part of buying or selling a home. But for nearly a century, there’s been one part of the process where haggling doesn’t fly: the 5% to 6% standard commission charged by U.S. realtors. Now, in a dramatic turn of events, the National Association of Realtors has settled a class-action lawsuit that targeted the ...Read more

Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Upscale Westside LA neighborhoods hit hard by State Farm home insurance cancellations

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Thousands of Californians who won't see their home insurance renewed by State Farm this summer are homeowners in Los Angeles County, with some upscale Westside neighborhoods hit hard, according to the insurer's recent filings with the Department of Insurance.

A majority of the insurer's customers in neighborhoods in West Los Angeles as well as ...Read more

Jeannette Marantos/Los Angeles Times/TNS

15 best native plants to grow in your yard if you also want fragrant bouquets

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Attention, anyone who thinks native blooms are brilliant in the wild — or our yards — but don't work in bouquets.

Boy, are we wrong.

This isn't an invitation to trample wildflower fields to pick bouquets — our precious wildflowers need to stay unpicked so their seeds will produce blooms in the future — but it is notice ...Read more

Joe Burbank/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS

If US inflation reflected rising home insurance costs, it'd be even higher

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If the rising price of homeowners insurance were factored into the U.S. Consumer Price Index — a key metric of inflation — it could have added 80 basis points, or about 0.8%, to last year’s CPI increase of 3.4%, according to an analysis from Bloomberg Intelligence.

By not including home insurance, the CPI “ignores climate costs,” ...Read more

Richard Sheinwald/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS

Home insurance cost hikes slowed at the end of 2023. Some say the crisis may be nearing its end

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Home insurance rates in Florida far outpaced inflation over the 18 months that ended on Dec. 31, but the rate of increase slowed in the fourth quarter of 2023 to its lowest point of the period.

And many insurance insiders are optimistic that rates will continue to stabilize this year and next, barring a big costly you-know-what.

According to ...Read more


Could AI start replacing real estate agents?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LAS VEGAS — Bruce Hiatt is hoping the integration of artificial intelligence will help take his real estate company to the next level, and in turn, could require fewer in-person agents in the process.

Hiatt, a Las Vegas-based broker who is also the owner of Luxury Realty Group, is currently beta testing an AI conversational avatar that speaks...Read more


Which debts can be consolidated? Here are 4 types to consider combining

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Debt consolidation can make repayment easier by consolidating multiple accounts into a single one. Consolidating debt also can save you money on interest and help you get out of debt faster, depending on your situation. Here are four ways to do it:


You can consolidate credit card debt

Paying down your monthly credit card balance on ...Read more

Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times/TNS

California is building fewer homes. The state could get even more expensive

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Ken Kahan makes a living building homes.

A specialty? Luxury apartment complexes in Los Angeles neighborhoods such as Palms and Silver Lake filled with mostly market rate units, but with a handful of income-restricted affordable ones as well.

It can be a good business, but lately less so.

"We have pulled back," said Kahan, the president of ...Read more

Courtesy Foster + Partners and Television City/TNS/TNS

Studio owners revise plans for $1 billion update of historic Television City

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES — The owners of Television City have scaled back their plans to enlarge and modernize the landmark Los Angeles studio where CBS began making shows to broadcast nationwide at the dawn of the television age.

Formerly known as CBS Television City, the studio sits next to popular tourist attractions the Original Farmers Market and the...Read more


The year of the 'mansion tax': Hundreds of millions raised, but a chill to LA's luxury market

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

One year ago, Los Angeles' "mansion tax" took effect. It has either been a godsend or an absolute disaster, depending on who you ask.

The transfer tax, formally known as Measure ULA, levies a 4% charge on all property sales above $5 million and a 5.5% charge on sales above $10 million, with proceeds funding affordable housing and homelessness ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: How I can find ex so I can sell condo we bought together?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I bought a condominium with my live-in girlfriend about a decade ago. When we broke up a few years ago, I stayed in the apartment and kept paying the mortgage and the bills. I just remembered her name was even on the deed when I recently decided to sell it. I have no idea where she is now. How can I reclaim my property? — Kevin

A: When you...Read more

Jeff Wheeler/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

Pickleball craze breathes new life into old downtown Minneapolis office buildings

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In a fever-dream phase of the pandemic, commercial real estate broker Mike Marinovich used electrical tape to draw out three pickleball courts on the sprawling second floor of his vacant downtown Minneapolis office building.

The space at 1200 Washington Av. S. had just been vacated by a supercomputing center, and Marinovich was having no luck ...Read more