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Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Housing costs trouble Bay Area residents more than elsewhere in California, new poll finds

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As the Bay Area struggles to confront a chronic housing shortage and million-dollar home listings, a new poll indicates residents here are more concerned than most Californians about the high cost of housing.

The survey by the nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California, found 80% of Bay Area residents see housing affordability as a big ...Read more

Jerry Holt/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

Outdoor shopping centers are hot, even in the cold

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Strip malls and other outdoor shopping centers throughout the Twin Cities suburbs are busier than ever.

Demand from retailers has driven nationwide shopping center occupancy to its highest level since 2007, when commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield first started collecting the retail data.

Local real estate brokers and property ...Read more

Mortgage rates in the US slip for a fourth week, hitting 6.09%

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Mortgage rates in the U.S. fell for a fourth straight week.

The average for a 30-year, fixed loan was 6.09%, down from 6.13% last week, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday.

Mortgage costs have come down almost a full percentage point from their recent high, giving hope to some would-be homebuyers looking for a way into a deal. The ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Do I have to pay special assessment for project I think is a waste of money?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Our condo recently passed a special assessment to make us pay for some improvements to the pool area that are a waste of money. What happens if I refuse to pay since I disagree with how the money will be used? — Alfie

A: Community associations, including homeowners, condominium, and cooperative associations, have the power to pass “...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

Here's how much profit sellers made on Florida homes last year

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Home sellers in South Florida made record profits last year, even with the housing market slowing down in the later half.

In South Florida, home sellers made about $159,300 profit on the typical sale, a 51% increase from the year before, according to a year-end report released by ATTOM Data, a nationwide provider of property data.

It ...Read more

Carline Jean/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS

High-end RV resorts grow popular amid the housing crunch. Some deem it an 'affordable luxury'

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Overlooking the New River in Fort Lauderdale not far from million-dollar homes situated across the waterway lies a well-kept secret: a luxury RV resort.

It offers what many think of when they visit South Florida: gorgeous waterfront views, lush greenery and million-dollar yachts floating by, but with a twist.

Instead of condos or sky-high ...Read more

Anna Moneymaker/New York Daily News/TNS

Tenants' lawsuit against management company owned by Kushner family allowed to proceed, appellate court rules

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

BALTIMORE — A lawsuit alleging that a Baltimore-area apartment management company owned by former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law illegally charged additional fees on late rent payments can proceed, the Appellate Court of Maryland ruled this week.

The ruling by the state’s second-highest court is a loss for Westminster Management LLC,...Read more

Curtis Compton/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS

PulteGroup reports robust growth to finish 2022; net income up 33%

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Atlanta-based PulteGroup on Tuesday reported net income of $882 million for the last quarter of 2022, up 33% from the same period a year earlier.

Revenues during the quarter were $2.6 billion, 19% higher than during the same three months of 2021 — news that sent shares of company stock to their highest level in more than a year during ...Read more

US housing market cools with prices down 2.5% from peak in June

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The US housing slump stretched into a fifth month, sending a measure of prices down 2.5% from a peak in June.

Prices also fell roughly 0.3% in November from a month before, according to a seasonally adjusted data of national prices from S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller.

Last year’s run-up in mortgage rates cast a chill on the housing market, ...Read more

Even on $100k plus, more Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The share of Americans who say they live paycheck-to-paycheck climbed last year, and most of the new arrivals in that category were among the country’s higher earners, a new study shows.

Some 64% of US consumers — equivalent to 166 million people — were living paycheck-to-paycheck at the end of 2022, according to the survey by industry ...Read more

Dude, you owe me $2: 'Venmo Vultures' scrape for small debts in a tight economy

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

See them circling? Feel their gaze?

The "Venmo Vultures" are out there — and they want their money.

Say your pal laid out the cash for your latte at the place near the thing where you went that time. Your share came to $4. Not long ago, your ol' buddy would have channeled their inner Bezos and swallowed the cost, no problem.

But inflation ...Read more

As many work from home, office landlords roll out entertainment to entice tenants

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As landlords struggle to get people back into office buildings that emptied during the pandemic, some are turning to entertainment and other enticements such as yoga classes to woo wary workers.

At the Water Garden office complex in Santa Monica, a dance troupe has taken up residence and puts on free performances and classes for kids. Flower ...Read more

Phillip Molnar/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

San Diego has declared 'housing as a human right' but does it mean anything legally?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

San Diego City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to declare housing as a human right, a rare move for a city with a lot of housing issues.

San Diego's resolution states housing is a "fundamental human right and reaffirms its commitment to providing more housing and services geared toward putting a roof over the head of every San Diegan." ...Read more

'High anxiety' in Miami's Little Haiti, after developers snap up properties at big auction

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Already reeling economically from the COVID-19 pandemic, rampant real estate speculation and looming gentrification, residents and business owners in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood are now confronting a new source of worry and uncertainty: The purchase by developers of a significant slice of properties along its main commercial street.

...Read more

Nike's exit shows just how far downtown Seattle is from a comeback

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Just before noon last Friday, a crowd gathered quietly on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Pike Street, waiting to pay their last respects to the downtown Seattle Nike store before it closed for good.

"I'm heartbroken," said Richard Green, who had come up from Tacoma and who, despite being entirely outfitted in Nike (including, he attested, ...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

A huge chunk of land in Bel-Air is going up for auction

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Thanks to its impressive list of celebrity residents and impressive collection of record-setting mega-mansions, the Los Angeles Westside neighborhood Bel-Air has developed a reputation as one of the ritziest enclaves in the country.

A 260-acre property that spans 6% of the famed neighborhood is being auctioned off to the highest bidder.

The ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: What should I do if condo manager doesn't respond to emails?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Several months ago, I discovered a large hole in the building’s exterior that exposed the inside of the wall in behind my apartment. I emailed our condominium’s manager a few times and have not gotten a response. What should I do? — Steven

A: It is good that you are taking damage to your condominium building’s condition seriously. It...Read more

High Orlando rents are 'a new normal,' expert says

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The explosive cost of rent around the country continued to cool in December, according to a report released Thursday, but one expert says the high prices of the past two years are likely to be “the new normal” for Orlando, Florida.

The median rent in metro Orlando was $2,130 per month in December, up about 2% from November, according to the...Read more

Spencer Platt/Getty Images North America/TNS

White House directs FTC, CFPB to probe housing rental market practices

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Landlords will face greater federal scrutiny from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Trade Commission and other agencies amid rapidly rising rents under a plan that President Joe Biden released Wednesday.

The plan, described as a blueprint, along with actions by federal agencies, are meant to “advance a stronger, more equitable...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

Lessons learned from a heat pump water heater home installation

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A few weeks ago, I had just finished writing my last story of 2022 — about how aging gas water heaters are prone to sudden failure, so don’t wait to upgrade to an electric heat pump model — when I heard the sound of a waterfall cascading through my Berkeley, California, home. Without warning, my nearly 17-year-old heater had burst, and I ...Read more