Mortgage and refinance rates today, February 25, 2021

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates nudged higher yet again yesterday. Of course, these rates remain exceptionally low by historical standards and are at dream levels for most. But they’re not like they were in 2020 and early January.

First thing, it was looking likely that mortgage rates will rise again today, partly because this morning’s weekly job figures were better than many expected. Read on for a fuller analysis.

Find and lock a low rate (Feb 26th, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 2.982% 2.985% +0.02%
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.488% 2.497% Unchanged
Conventional 20 year fixed 2.894% 2.901% -0.03%
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.556% 2.58% -0.01%
30 year fixed FHA 2.762% 3.438% +0.02%
15 year fixed FHA 2.517% 3.099% Unchanged
5 year ARM FHA 2.5% 3.201% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 2.372% 2.544% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.571% Unchanged
5 year ARM VA 2.5% 2.379% Unchanged
Rates are provided by our partner network, and may not reflect the market. Your rate might be different. Click here for a personalized rate quote. See our rate assumptions here.

Find and lock a low rate (Feb 26th, 2021)


COVID-19 mortgage updates: Mortgage lenders are changing rates and rules due to COVID-19. To see the latest on how coronavirus could impact your home loan, click here.

Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

On the one hand, investors want to believe that the pandemic will soon be over and the economy will boom. And they like that’s looking increasingly probable. But, on the other, they fear that a boom will unleash inflation, something that very much bothers those who hold fixed-interest bonds — including mortgage-backed securities.

The trouble is, both that belief and that fear tend to push up mortgage rates. And it’s that double-whammy that’s currently driving those rates higher.

Maybe some momentous news will come along that drags mortgage rates lower again. But it’s hard to imagine what might do so quickly. But read on for something that just possibly could.

Still, my personal rate lock recommendations remain:

  • LOCK if closing in 7 days
  • LOCK if closing in 15 days
  • LOCK if closing in 30 days
  • LOCK if closing in 45 days
  • LOCK if closing in 60 days

But, with so much uncertainty at the moment, your instincts could easily turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So be guided by your gut and your personal tolerance for risk.

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Market data affecting today’s mortgage rates 

Here’s a snapshot of the state of play this morning at about 9:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared with roughly the same time yesterday, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasurys edged up to 1.45% from 1.43%. (Bad for mortgage rates) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields, though less so recently
  • Major stock indexes were mostly lower on opening. (Good for mortgage rates.) When investors are buying shares they’re often selling bonds, which pushes prices of those down and increases yields and mortgage rates. The opposite happens when indexes are lower
  • Oil prices rose to $63.02 from $62.25 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates* because energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.) 
  • Gold prices inched higher to $1,785 from $1,784 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) In general, it’s better for rates when gold rises, and worse when gold falls. Gold tends to rise when investors worry about the economy. And worried investors tend to push rates lower
  • CNN Business Fear & Greed index — Climbed to 69 from 57 out of 100. (Bad for mortgage rates.) “Greedy” investors push bond prices down (and interest rates up) as they leave the bond market and move into stocks, while “fearful” investors do the opposite. So lower readings are better than higher ones

*A change of less than $20 on gold prices or 40 cents on oil ones is a fraction of 1%. So we only count meaningful differences as good or bad for mortgage rates.

Caveats about markets and rates

Before the pandemic and the Federal Reserve’s interventions in the mortgage market, you could look at the above figures and make a pretty good guess about what would happen to mortgage rates that day. But that’s no longer the case. The Fed is now a huge player and some days can overwhelm investor sentiment.

So use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong (rates are likely to rise) or weak (they could fall) to rely on them. But, with that caveat, so far mortgage rates today look likely to move higher.

Find and lock a low rate (Feb 26th, 2021)

Important notes on today’s mortgage rates

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. The Fed’s ongoing interventions in the mortgage market (way over $1 trillion) should put continuing downward pressure on these rates. But it can’t work miracles all the time. And read “For once, the Fed DOES affect mortgage rates. Here’s why” if you want to understand this aspect of what’s happening
  2. Typically, mortgage rates go up when the economy’s doing well and down when it’s in trouble. But there are exceptions. Read How mortgage rates are determined and why you should care
  3. Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
  4. Lenders vary. Yours may or may not follow the crowd when it comes to daily rate movements — though they all usually follow the wider trend over time
  5. When rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
  6. Refinance rates are typically close to those for purchases. But some types of refinances are higher following a regulatory change

So there’s a lot going on here. And nobody can claim to know with certainty what’s going to happen to mortgage rates in coming hours, days, weeks or months.

Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

Today and soon

I’m expecting mortgage rates to rise today. But, as always, that could change as the day progresses. Indeed, such intraday swings have become an irritating feature of markets.

Yesterday and recently, we’ve been saying that mortgage rates are unlikely to fall soon, absent some terrible news, such as a vaccine-resistant strain of SARS-CoV-2 emerging. Well, also yesterday, The New York Times reported:

A new form of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly in New York City, and it carries a worrisome mutation that may weaken the effectiveness of vaccines, two teams of researchers have found.

The new variant, called B.1.526, first appeared in samples collected in the city in November. By the middle of this month, it accounted for about one in four viral sequences appearing in a database shared by scientists.


A New Coronavirus Variant Is Spreading in New York, Researchers Report — NYT, Feb. 24, 2021

The research is yet to be peer-reviewed and may turn out to be nothing. But the report does underline the uncertainty that we all have to contend with at the moment.

If I were you, I wouldn’t delay locking just on the basis of one story. It could take months before markets take the threat seriously — and even then only if it proves accurate. In the meantime, it currently looks more likely that rates will rise or remain close to current levels between now and when you have to close.

For more background on my wider thinking, read our latest weekend edition, which is published every Saturday soon after 10 a.m. (ET).

Recently

Over much of 2020, the overall trend for mortgage rates was clearly downward. And a new, weekly all-time low was set on 16 occasions last year, according to Freddie Mac.

The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, when it stood at 2.65% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. But rates then rose. And Freddie’s Feb. 25 report (today) puts that weekly average at 2.97%, up from the previous week’s 2.81%, and the highest it’s been for a year.

Expert mortgage rate forecasts

Looking further ahead, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) each has a team of economists dedicated to monitoring and forecasting what will happen to the economy, the housing sector and mortgage rates.

And here are their current rates forecasts for each quarter of 2021 (Q1/21, Q2/21, Q3/21 and Q4/21).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s and the MBA’s were updated on Feb. 18 and 19 respectively. But Freddie now publishes forecasts quarterly and its figures are from mid-January:

Forecaster Q1/21 Q2/21 Q3/21 Q4/21
Fannie Mae 2.8% 2.8% 2.9% 2.9%
Freddie Mac 2.9% 2.9% 3.0% 3.0%
MBA 2.8% 3.1% 3.3% 3.4%

However, given so many unknowables, the current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual. And there’s certainly a widening spread as the year progresses.

Find your lowest rate today

Some lenders have been spooked by the pandemic. And they’re restricting their offerings to just the most vanilla-flavored mortgages and refinances.

But others remain brave. And you can still probably find the cash-out refinance, investment mortgage or jumbo loan you want. You just have to shop around more widely.

But, of course, you should be comparison shopping widely, no matter what sort of mortgage you want. As federal regulator the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says:

Shopping around for your mortgage has the potential to lead to real savings. It may not sound like much, but saving even a quarter of a point in interest on your mortgage saves you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

Verify your new rate (Feb 26th, 2021)

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Mortgage rate methodology

The Mortgage Reports receives rates based on selected criteria from multiple lending partners each day. We arrive at an average rate and APR for each loan type to display in our chart. Because we average an array of rates, it gives you a better idea of what you might find in the marketplace. Furthermore, we average rates for the same loan types. For example, FHA fixed with FHA fixed. The end result is a good snapshot of daily rates and how they change over time.

Source: themortgagereports.com

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Men wallpapering a home
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Your home might be your biggest asset — and yet, you could be inadvertently making it less valuable. Some updates and renovations can backfire when it comes time to sell.

“What I have seen a lot of people do is rip out a closet,” says Steven Gottlieb, a licensed real estate salesperson with Warburg Realty Partnership in New York City.

Where he works, space is at a premium. That means eliminating a closet can be a costly mistake.

“I don’t know that it detracts from the [appraised] value,” he tells Money Talks News, “but it inevitably shrinks the [buying] audience.”

And with fewer people interested in a property, the chances of a quick sale or a full-price offer can decrease.

From removing closet space to painting walls garish colors, here are some dumb ways you could be dragging down your home’s resale potential.

1. Selecting the wrong color paint

Woman painting a wall
dotshock / Shutterstock.com

You may think neutral is boring, but buyers could be turned off by brightly colored walls.

That may seem silly, since it’s relatively easy to repaint. But some people don’t want the hassle, says Keri Rizzi, a real estate salesperson with HomeSmart in White Plains, New York.

“Buyers will judge based on paint alone,” she tells Money Talks News.

So, consider yourself forewarned if you decide to paint your rooms every color of the rainbow.

2. Using bold and busy designs

Living room with ugly wallpaper
ariadna de raadt / Shutterstock.com

It isn’t just colorful walls that can derail a potential sale. Busy or bright patterns on wallpaper, tiles or flooring can be a problem for some people.

“Those are much harder to change than just paint and can have more of an effect on value,” says Amanda Rogers, a Realtor with Rogers Real Estate Group in Ada, Michigan.

If you don’t have any reason to think you’ll be moving, go ahead and be creative. Otherwise, think twice about loud designs and bold colors.

“Always choose neutral options for permanent items, and add your personal style with accessories, furniture pieces, wall art, etc.,” Rogers tells Money Talks News.

3. Removing closets

Clothing rack
Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock.com

“In an urban setting, especially New York City, space is at a premium,” Gottlieb says. An apartment with minimal closets might not get a second look from buyers.

Even in a suburban or rural setting, storage space often is highly valued. Consider carefully before converting closets to living space or removing a rarely used pole barn from your property.

4. Ripping out bathrooms or laundry rooms

Older worker demolishing bathroom tiles
sima / Shutterstock.com

If you have a small household, you may be tempted to rip out a rarely used bathroom for closet or living space. Don’t do it, Gottlieb says.

“A bathroom is worth a lot,” he explains.

Even in urban areas, bathrooms and laundry hook-ups trump closet space.

5. Making trendy updates

Room with blue carpet
Artazum / Shutterstock.com

Renovating a home with the latest trends can backfire if the look becomes dated or is not the preference of a potential buyer. Rizzi has seen this happen when sellers install new wall-to-wall carpeting only to find that buyers really want hardwood flooring.

If parts of your house are looking tired and worn, consider giving buyers a credit to do their own work. Don’t sink money into updates that may not boost value.

6. Adding too much tech

Woman using a smart home control system
Andrew Angelov / Shutterstock.com

Technology changes quickly, which means an expensive smart home system may be obsolete in just a few years.

“People invest too much for the most current electronic system,” Gottlieb says. “Then, they are often disappointed in five to seven years when [buyers] are not impressed.”

Go ahead and install the latest bells and whistles for your own use and enjoyment. Just don’t expect such upgrades to boost your home’s sale price down the road.

7. Lowering ceilings

Workers plaster a ceiling
Daniel Besic / Shutterstock.com

Some people might want to lower their ceilings to accommodate lighting, but avoid that if possible, Gottlieb says. Ceilings on a main floor of 9 feet or more were among the most desirable features and design trends for 2020, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

By some estimates, high ceilings can add as much as 25% to the value of a home.

8. Failing to control landscaping

Man mowing weeds in an overgrown lawn
sherwood / Shutterstock.com

Curb appeal isn’t necessarily reflected in a home’s appraised value, but it can make or break a sale, according to real estate professionals.

“Make that first impression the best impression,” Rizzi says.

Clear out debris, trim overgrown bushes and pull weeds to create a clean exterior.

9. Letting your home fall into disarray

Plumber at work
Nor Gal / Shutterstock.com

Keep a home’s interior clean and well maintained.

“If something breaks, fix it,” Rogers says. “If you don’t know how to fix it, hire it done.”

Neglecting plumbing and electrical work could have dire consequences to your home’s value if it leads to structural damage.

Bottom line, according to Rogers: “Clean sells.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Rent Prices Have Dropped in These 9 Formerly Hot Markets

Women carrying moving boxes
Photo by Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

You may have heard or seen firsthand how fast home prices have risen. In January, home value appreciation was 9.1% higher than one year prior, the largest annual increase since 2006, according to new data from Zillow.

Perhaps less known is this: The cost of renting is affected, too. But unlike with home prices — rising across most of the country — rents are up in some cities and down in others.

Overall, the cost of renting was relatively stagnant in the United States last year, say Zillow economists. The company, a real estate website, tracks and analyzes home prices and rents. The typical rent this January, $1,721, was up just $9, or 0.5%, from January 2020.

But that flat line masks big changes.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and widespread changes to work-from-home policies have also pushed many to reconsider what they want and need in their living space, and where it should be,” says Zillow.

Many workers were freed to work from home and live virtually anywhere, at least while pandemic lockdowns lasted.

Rents in pricey, formerly desirable coastal meccas — especially New York City, Boston and the Silicon Valley centers of San Francisco and San Jose — saw the most dramatic drops in rents.

Below, listed by the change from January 2020 to January 2021, are the nine major metropolitan areas where rent costs are down, according to the Zillow Observed Rent Index. Even with reductions, rents in these metros remain steep:

  1. San Francisco: $2,876 (down 9.2% from January 2020)
  2. New York City: $2,465 (down 8.8%)
  3. San Jose, California: $2,892 (down 7.2%)
  4. Boston: $2,277 (down 6.3%)
  5. Seattle: $1,866 (down 5.5%)
  6. Washington, D.C.: $2,006 (down 3.4%)
  7. Chicago: $1,614 (down 2.9%)
  8. Austin, Texas: $1,511 (down 1.2%)
  9. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California: $2,542 (down 0.8%)

In the rest of the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S., rent increased on Zillow’s index between January 2020 and January 2021. These increases were as small as 0.1% in Denver and as big as 10% in Memphis, Tennessee.

A recent analysis by MyMove, a website that helps people relocate, also found that many people who moved during the pandemic left crowded urban areas for (often nearby) smaller cities and suburbs.

MyMove analyzed U.S. Postal Service change-of-address requests filed from February through July 2020. It found that the number of requests for temporary moves — meaning requests from people who planned to live at the new address for less than six months — increased about 27% compared with the same period in 2019.

New York City (110,978 people moved), including its borough of Brooklyn (43,006), lost the most residents to moves, followed by Chicago (31,347), San Francisco (27,187) and Los Angeles (26,438).

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

744: Big City Brokers: What It’s Like Selling Real Estate in NYC with Jay Glazer

Have you ever wondered what it’s like selling real estate in the big city? Jay Glazer runs a highly successful brokerage in New York City and joins us today to discuss what it’s like working as a real estate professional in the nation’s biggest, busiest city. Listen and learn about the distinct challenges agents face in cities like New York, what it takes to qualify buyers for multi-million-dollar apartments, and why Jay wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. Don’t miss it

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15 Cities With the Oldest Populations

Happy seniors exercising with hula hoops
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This story originally appeared on Filterbuy.

One of the most impactful demographic trends across the United States in the coming decades will be the growth in the population aged 65 and older.

Much of the country is graying as more baby boomers, who were until 2019 the U.S.’s largest generational cohort, reach retirement age. The boomers — more than 73 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 — began hitting retirement age more than a decade ago and will continue to age into the 65-and-up bracket until the end of the 2020s.

Thanks to advances in health care and medicine, these older Americans are projected to live longer on average than their predecessors. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030 those aged 65 and older will constitute more than 20 percent of the U.S. population, and they are projected to remain between one-fifth and one-quarter of the U.S. population through at least 2060.

The U.S. is already seeing signs of these effects. A wave of retirements will leave labor shortages in some industries, while many of the occupations with the greatest growth potential are in health and social services, driven by the elderly’s greater need for care.

Experts believe that GDP growth is likely to slow as a result of lost productivity and increasing costs of care. Government social insurance programs like Medicare and Social Security have seen their expenditures balloon as more retirees shift from paying into the system to receiving benefits from it. Nationally, within states, and at the community level, the U.S. will continue to experience the socioeconomic implications of an increasingly older population.

To find the cities where these trends will be most apparent, researchers at Filterbuy used 2019 Census data to identify which metro areas have the largest share of residents over 65. The researchers also found the city-level old-age dependency ratios as well as the percentage of the senior population with a disability to understand where the burdens of care might be even higher.

Here are the large cities (those with 350,000 residents or more) with the largest percentage of the population 65 and older.

15. Wichita, KS

Wichita, Kansas
Gary L. Brewer / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 14.4%

Total population 65 and older: 55,352

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 37.7%

Old-age dependency ratio: 24.0%

14. Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville, Florida
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 14.4%

Total population 65 and older: 127,758

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 35.9%

Old-age dependency ratio: 22.8%

13. Baltimore, MD

Baltimore
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 14.4%

Total population 65 and older: 84,165

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 38.5%

Old-age dependency ratio: 22.3%

12. Tulsa, OK

Tulsa Oklahoma
Valiik30 / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 14.7%

Total population 65 and older: 58,686

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 33.4%

Old-age dependency ratio: 24.8%

11. Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas neighborhood with desert hills beyond.
Christopher Boswell / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 14.8%

Total population 65 and older: 95,394

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 34.9%

Old-age dependency ratio: 24.4%

10. New York, NY

New York City coastline
IM_photo / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 15.0%

Total population 65 and older: 1,242,566

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 34.6%

Old-age dependency ratio: 24.0%

9. Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Springs, Colorado
photo.ua / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 15.1%

Total population 65 and older: 70,512

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 31.3%

Old-age dependency ratio: 23.6%

8. New Orleans, LA

New Orleans, Louisiana at night
f11 photography / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 15.3%

Total population 65 and older: 59,203

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 35.9%

Old-age dependency ratio: 24.0%

7. Virginia Beach, VA

Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 15.4%

Total population 65 and older: 65,405

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 31.2%

Old-age dependency ratio: 23.3%

6. Tucson, AZ

Tucson
Chris Rubino / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 15.5%

Total population 65 and older: 82,197

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 38.8%

Old-age dependency ratio: 23.7%

5. Louisville, KY

Louisville, Kentucky
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 15.6%

Total population 65 and older: 95,530

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 34.8%

Old-age dependency ratio: 25.5%

4. San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, California
IM_photo / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 15.9%

Total population 65 and older: 139,273

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 34.2%

Old-age dependency ratio: 22.7%

3. Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque, New Mexico
BrigitteT / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 16.2%

Total population 65 and older: 90,429

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 33.4%

Old-age dependency ratio: 26.5%

2. Mesa, AZ

Mesa, Arizona
Tim Roberts Photography / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 16.5%

Total population 65 and older: 85,337

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 31.9%

Old-age dependency ratio: 28.5%

1. Miami, FL

Miami
Kamira / Shutterstock.com

Percentage of population 65 and older: 17.5%

Total population 65 and older: 81,251

Percentage of population 65 and older with a disability: 34.6%

Old-age dependency ratio: 27.1%

Methodology & Detailed Findings

Working on computer data analysis on a laptop
Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock.com

Researchers used the most recent population data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates. Cities were ranked according to the percentage of the population 65 and older. Researchers also calculated the total population 65 and older, the percentage of the population 65 and older with a disability, and the old-age dependency ratio for each city.

For relevance, only cities with at least 100,000 residents were included in the report, which grouped them into cohorts of small, midsize, and large metros.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

The 10 Worst Climate Disasters in U.S. History

Woman outside her ruined home after a natural disaster or fire
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This story originally appeared on Porch.

One impact of climate change is that the number and severity of climate-related disasters is on the rise.

With the warming of the planet, several factors combine to make extreme weather more common.

Higher temperatures are more likely to produce heat waves and drought conditions, which increase the likelihood of wildfires. Warmer air can hold more water vapor, which leads to wetter storms, and with them, more flooding. Increased heat and evaporation have also combined to make tropical cyclones more common and more severe in recent years.

The financial consequences of these trends are enormous. Loss of life, property damage, infrastructure failures and business interruptions are some of the widely felt direct consequences when more intense natural disasters occur.

In the U.S., the costs associated with so-called billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events — those in which total damages exceeded $1 billion in today’s dollars — have grown sharply over the last decade, from a five-year annual average of $29.2 billion in 2010 to $121.4 billion in 2020.

Apart from direct damages, even the threat of weather disasters can have financial impacts. Property values in vulnerable areas may shift downward as severe weather disasters become more likely. Insurers can charge higher rates or make coverage harder to obtain for properties that could be at risk. And property owners may find themselves paying a premium for structures that are resistant to weather-related damage.

To find the worst disasters, researchers analyzed data from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information and ranked events based on their estimated cost in 2020 dollars.

Following is the list of the worst climate disasters in U.S. history.

10. U.S. drought/heatwave

Hot sun
aapsky / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: 2012
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $34.5 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $30 billion
  • Number of deaths: 123
  • Most impacted area: Midwest and West

High temperatures and low moisture brought on the most severe drought the U.S. had seen in decades during the summer of 2012. Drought conditions and more than two months of heat waves were directly responsible for more than 100 deaths and billions in economic losses due to failed harvests for crops like corn and soybeans.

9. Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Ike causing flooding in Florida
forestpath / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: September 2008
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $36.9 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $30 billion
  • Number of deaths: 112
  • Most impacted area: Texas

After hitting Cuba as a Category 4 storm several days earlier, Hurricane Ike made landfall as a Category 2 storm near Galveston, Texas, on Sept. 13, 2008.

Ike damaged or destroyed more than 75% of the homes in Galveston and brought widespread damage elsewhere in eastern Texas. Damage totaled $30 billion.

8. Midwest flooding

Flooding
Brymer / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: Summer 1993
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $38.1 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $21 billion
  • Number of deaths: 48
  • Most impacted area: Midwest

The Midwest experienced unusually high precipitation from rain and snow in 1992 and the first half of 1993.

As a result, parts of the Upper Mississippi River were at flood levels for almost 200 days in some locations, while the Missouri River basin experienced flood levels for nearly 100 days.

The ongoing floods destroyed tens of thousands of homes and inundated millions of acres of farmland.

7. U.S. drought/heatwave

high temperatures
Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: Summer 1988
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $45 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $20 billion
  • Number of deaths: 454
  • Most impacted area: Midwest, West, Southeast

As the worst drought the U.S. had seen since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the drought of 1988 covered nearly half of the United States at its peak, and continued as late as 1990 in some locations.

The persistent hot, dry conditions led to billions of dollars in losses from crops and livestock, along with wildfires in Yellowstone National Park that burned nearly 800,000 acres.

6. Hurricane Andrew

Homes destroyed by Hurricane Andrew
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: August 1992
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $50.8 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $27 billion
  • Number of deaths: 61
  • Most impacted area: Florida and Louisiana

The 1992 Atlantic hurricane season’s first major storm was one of the most powerful on record. Andrew is only one of four hurricanes ever to make landfall in the U.S. as a Category 5 storm, with winds reaching nearly 174 miles per hour.

The storm ripped through southern Florida before re-emerging in the Gulf of Mexico and making a second landfall on the Louisiana coast several days later, causing more than $27 billion in damage.

5. Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma flooding in Florida
FotoKina / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: September 2017
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $52.5 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $50 billion
  • Number of deaths: 97
  • Most impacted area: Florida and South Carolina

2017’s hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season remains the costliest on record, and Hurricane Irma is one of the major reasons why.

After making landfall as a Category 4, Irma carved a path northward through the heart of Florida and into the southeastern U.S., bringing coastal flooding to Georgia and South Carolina as well. The storm’s damage totaled $50 billion.

4. Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane
Harvepino / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: October 2012
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $74.8 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $65 billion
  • Number of deaths: 159
  • Most impacted area: New York and New Jersey

At more than 900 miles in diameter, Hurricane (or Superstorm) Sandy was felt in 24 states, but Sandy is most remembered for its damage to the Mid-Atlantic region. After following a path north along the Atlantic coast, Sandy made an unusual westward turn into New York and New Jersey before merging with another storm system. Flooding and storm damage in New York City and other major East Coast metros contributed to Sandy’s $65 billion in damage.

3. Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria damage in Puerto Rico
Sheryl Chapman / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: September 2017
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $94.5 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $90 billion
  • Number of deaths: 2,981
  • Most impacted area: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Another one of 2017’s major hurricanes, Hurricane Maria brought catastrophic damage to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

With the region still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Irma from two weeks prior, Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a powerful Category 4 storm.

Storm surge, heavy rains, and high winds leveled neighborhoods and destroyed much of Puerto Rico’s power grid, causing $90 billion in damage and nearly 3,000 deaths.

2. Hurricane Harvey

storm
AMFPhotography / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: August 2017
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $131.3 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $125 billion
  • Number of deaths: 89
  • Most impacted area: Texas

The costliest of the storms from the catastrophic 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, Hurricane Harvey also holds the distinction of being the wettest tropical cyclone on record.

Harvey made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, but it was the storm’s prolonged stall over Houston and the Gulf Coast that made Harvey so expensive.

Over several days, Harvey dropped more than 5 feet of rain in some locations, causing floods that produced $125 billion in damage.

1. Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina flooding damage
Stratos Brilakis / Shutterstock.com
  • Date: August 2005
  • Estimated cost (2020 dollars): $170 billion
  • Estimated cost (actual dollars): $125 billion
  • Number of deaths: 1,833
  • Most impacted area: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama

Hurricane Katrina is perhaps remembered more for the infamously mismanaged government response than for the damage of the storm itself, but Katrina brought widespread devastation to the Gulf Coast. After reaching Category 5 strength in the Gulf of Mexico, Katrina eventually made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 3. Storm surge and heavy rains led to catastrophic failures in New Orleans’ flood protection infrastructure, leaving most of the city underwater for weeks. At $170 billion in 2020 dollars, Katrina remains the most expensive climate disaster in U.S. history.

Methodology and detailed findings

A man studies financial data at his computer
NicoElNino / Shutterstock.com

To determine which climate disasters were the worst in U.S. history, researchers analyzed data from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information’s (NCEI) U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2021) report. Weather events were ranked according to their CPI-adjusted estimated cost (adjusted to 2020 dollars).

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Home Decor – Rents, Home Prices In New York City Drop At Steepest Pace On Record In January – Fintech Zoom

Home Decor – Rents, Home Prices In New York City Drop At Steepest Pace On Record In January

Topline

Rents and home prices in New York City fell at the fastest annual rate on record in January, largely due to an inventory glut that may take the city’s housing market years to recover to pre-pandemic levels of activity.

Key Facts

Rents in New York City dropped by the largest year-over-year pace on record in January, plunging 15.5% in Manhattan and 8.6% in both Brooklyn and Queens, according to StreetEasy, an online real estate marketplace.

The median asking rent (the rate offered by a landlord to a prospective tenant) in Manhattan amounted to $2,750 in January — the lowest level since March 2010, when the city’s economy was emerging from the financial crisis.

The median asking rent in Brooklyn in January was $2,395 while in Queens, it was $2,000.

StreetEasy attributed the falling rents to excessive supply, as there are twice as many rental properties available in Manhattan and Brooklyn compared to a year ago, and almost that many in Queens.

With respect to home sales, Manhattan and Brooklyn again witnessed record year-over-year price declines in January — down 6.2% and 5.4%, respectively.

The median asking price for a home in Manhattan was $1,350,000 in January; in Brooklyn, $925,000.

Surprising Fact

Despite the significant drops in prices, pending sales activity – meaning property transactions that have entered into a contract – have jumped 17.3% and 30.8% year-over-year in Brooklyn and Manhattan, respectively, due to a 57% year-over-year surge in contracts for luxury properties (defined as the top 20% of the market, or valued at a minimum of $3.7 million). However, the rapid increase in signed contracts still failed to offset the rise in available inventory, meaning the average price on homes still declined. Even at the luxury tier, there’s 25% more inventory than last year. “It’s rare that we see record high price drops in both the rentals and sales market, but landlords and sellers are dealing with the same issue right now: a surplus of competition and not enough demand,” said StreetEasy economist Nancy Wu in a statement. “Asking prices and monthly rents are coming down quickly, which means that landlords and sellers are finally facing reality. With inventory levels as high they are, there’s currently no end in sight when it comes to falling [New York City] real estate prices — good news for buyers and renters hoping to secure a good deal this year.” 

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What To Watch For

New York City property sellers may have to brace for even more price reductions, Wu warned. “There’s no end in sight for how long prices will continue to decline,” she added. “This 6% drop in Manhattan [sales] seems to be the first milestone of what’s yet to come.”

Key Background

The pandemic hurt New York real estate industry in 2020 as at least 300,000 city dwellers fled either because they lost their jobs or sought to move to the suburbs for larger living spaces. Unemployment in the city reached 12% in November, before edging down to 11.4% in December (still almost double the national jobless rate). Even after city residents undergo mass vaccinations, it might take years for rental prices to return to pre-pandemic levels due to permanent losses in jobs and inventory overhang, Wu told the New York Times. A somewhat similar scenario is playing out on the other coast in San Francisco, where a mass exodus by tech workers led to a 35% drop in rental prices over the past year. 

Crucial Quote

“Inventory has been at record highs, and buyers have had more options. What’s happening now is that sellers seem to be coming to terms with the fact that there’s record inventory on the market, and unless they reduce prices significantly, it won’t sell,” said Nancy Wu.

Home Decor – Rents, Home Prices In New York City Drop At Steepest Pace On Record In January

Tags: Home Decor

Source: fintechzoom.com

Why I did a staycation in Times Square during the pandemic

Why I did a staycation in Times Square during the pandemic


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Northwestern Mutual Expands New York City Presence

MILWAUKEE, Feb. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Northwestern Mutual, a financial security company focused on comprehensive financial planning through both insurance and investments, is announcing the opening of two new offices within the New York City area in Harlem and Cedarhurst.

Northwestern Mutual. (PRNewsFoto/Northwestern Mutual)

“This exciting expansion is an opportunity to deliver financial planning solutions to historically underserved communities,” said Tim Gerend, chief distribution officer, Northwestern Mutual. “We’re looking forward to developing deep community relationships in both Harlem and Cedarhurst – providing meaningful financial guidance to clients and offering rewarding career opportunities to current and future advisors.”

Financial Advisor Anthony Williams will oversee the Harlem office, comprised of several financial professionals who grew up in the neighborhood or nearby in the Bronx. The group plans to draw on their understanding of area residents to identify opportunities for financial education and support for businesses owned by Black, Latinx and other historically underrepresented groups. As the team works to grow its presence in the area, they will focus recruiting efforts locally and within Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Financial Advisor Moshe Alpert will lead the Cedarhurst office in the predominately Orthodox Jewish community of Five Towns Long Island.

Williams and Alpert will work in close partnership with Managing Partner Steve Abbass, who collaborated with Northwestern Mutual’s new Distribution Growth Ventures group to identify the opportunities in Harlem and Cedarhurst. Northwestern Mutual Distribution Growth Ventures is focused on underpenetrated market expansion, competitive recruitment and other innovation within the company’s distribution system.

About Northwestern Mutual
Northwestern Mutual has been helping people and businesses achieve financial security for more than 160 years. Through a holistic planning approach, Northwestern Mutual combines the expertise of its financial professionals with a personalized digital experience and industry-leading products to help its clients plan for what’s most important. With $290.3 billion in total assets, $29.9 billion in revenues, and $1.9 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers financial security to more than 4.6 million people with life, disability income and long-term care insurance, annuities, and brokerage and advisory services. The company manages more than $161 billion of investments owned by its clients and held or managed through its wealth management and investment services businesses. Northwestern Mutual ranks 102 on the 2020 FORTUNE 500 and is recognized by FORTUNE® as one of the “World’s Most Admired” life insurance companies in 2021.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM)(life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries in Milwaukee, WI. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (investment brokerage services), broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company® (investment advisory and trust services), a federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company.

SOURCE Northwestern Mutual

For further information: William Polk, 1-800-323-7033, mediarelations@northwesternmutual.com

Source: news.northwesternmutual.com

Manhattan Couple Ditch Apartment, Buy RV. Was It Worth It?>

When Jess Glazer and her husband Mike DeRose traded their Manhattan apartment for a 40-foot motor home last fall, they imagined crisscrossing the U.S., camping by peaceful lakes and mountain streams. Last week, via Zoom, Ms. Glazer showed me the Arizona RV park where they’ve been stationed since the start of the year.

“It looks like a parking lot,” she said, surveying the vast expanse of gravel crowded with hundreds of motor homes. “Well, it is a parking lot.”

Like many young professionals, Ms. Glazer and Mr. DeRose fled Manhattan during the pandemic for greener pastures. Only in their case, the new location can change weekly or daily. After leaving last October, the self-described “digital nomads” motored down the East Coast before heading west through Alabama, Texas and Arizona. And life on the road is nothing like what they envisioned.

Mike DeRose, in Texas en route to Arizona.

Photo: Jess Glazer

RV life has many advantages over Manhattan life, they say. It’s cheaper, for one. They were renting a 1,100 square-foot two-bedroom in Hell’s Kitchen for $5,800 a month. Now, they’re paying $2,000 a month on a loan for their $412,000 Tiffin Phaeton. Even factoring in insurance, fuel and site fees of about $700 a month, their expenses are roughly half what they were in New York City. “We’re saving a lot of money,” Mr. DeRose says.

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While the motor home is about 450 square feet, they’ve shared small apartments in Manhattan before, so it doesn’t feel like a squeeze, they say. Plus, the RV includes features their city digs never had—a washer and dryer, heated floors, a central vacuum, and four built-in televisions. “It’s so silly!” says Ms. Glazer. “We don’t even watch TV.”

They enjoy their revolving cast of new neighbors. Living in Manhattan, they didn’t know who lived down the hall. But RV folks are friendly and chatty, they say, and it’s easy to strike up a conversation about someone’s license plate.

What they most enjoy, of course, is the freedom to travel and explore. They’ve taken their Jeep, which they hitch to their RV, off-roading on the beach and in the mountains. They’ve explored obscure Texas hamlets, national forests and Arizona ghost towns. “Now my hiking shoes are my favorite shoes that I have. It’s so funny—I was little Miss Stiletto,” Ms. Glazer says.

The couple never expected to join the nation’s RV herd. This time last year, Ms. Glazer, who is 36 years old, was happily working at home, building her fast-growing business-coaching service. Mr. DeRose, 37, loved his job managing a territory of financial centers for Bank of America.

They enjoyed long weekend walks exploring the city. On Saturday nights, they’d typically meet friends for dinner, drinks at a rooftop bar and dancing.

Jess Glazer and Mike DeRose hiking outside of Austin, Texas, in November.

Photo: Jess Glazer

Then the pandemic hit. Suddenly, everything they loved about Manhattan—the restaurants, the theaters, the crowds—vanished. “It lost its sparkle and uniqueness,” Mr. DeRose says.

They hit on the RV idea last summer on a networking Zoom call for entrepreneurs. The host, who lived in California, recently bought an RV, and his tale was inspiring. Within two weeks, Mr. DeRose and Ms. Glazer purchased their motor home. Mr. DeRose gave several months notice to his employer so he could join his wife’s company as its CFO and COO after they hit the highway.

But even getting on the road was a challenge. You can’t just drive an RV into Manhattan and load up your things. They had to rent an RV-size parking spot near Princeton, N.J., and hire a moving van to transport their belongings, stowing the majority in a self-storage unit they’re renting for $150 a month.

They also were surprised to learn that a lot of people had the same pandemic plan. According to the RV Industry Association, RV shipments rose 34% in the second half of 2020, to 254,000.

Many RV parks were totally booked months in advance. Mr. DeRose took to putting parks on speed dial, making call after call until he got through.

And they’ve discovered they’re not welcome at the many parks reserved for guests 55-plus. Which explains why they’ve spent the last six weeks at a site that has a nice clubhouse and pool, but looks like a giant parking lot.

The couple traded their Manhattan apartment for a 40-foot motor home last fall. ‘Now my hiking shoes are my favorite shoes that I have. It’s so funny-I was little Miss Stiletto,’ Jess Glazer says.

Photo: Jess Glazer

Life on the road is more chill than life in the city where everyone’s hustling, they agree. But this presents the opposite problem: It’s hard to clock your usual 10-hour workday when most of the people around you are retired or on vacation.

And it’s even harder to work when the Wi-Fi crashes—a reality that has led to several meltdowns. Ms. Glazer typically schedules back-to-back Zoom calls for her business, which employs a team of 11. But she’s found that some RV parks advertising Wi-Fi have spotty service at best. They’ve had to subscribe to and install a bewildering array of services and backup devices to compensate.

They miss New York—walking to Central Park, Friday night Thai delivery and Sunday grocery delivery. Now, every errand and expedition requires a drive. “And we’ve been to a lot of Thai places along our journey. It’s not Thai food!” Ms. Glazer laments.

After venturing north through Utah and Wyoming this spring, they plan to return to the East Coast in the fall to settle down and start a family.

Will they return to the city? Probably not. “Our Manhattan time has passed,” Mr. DeRose says.

“But who knows?” says Ms. Glazer of their plans. “Because if you told me a year ago we’d be living in an RV, I’d tell you you were crazy.”

Write to Anne Kadet at Anne.Kadet@wsj.com

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Source: wsj.com