recessionFrom staff reports

About two-thirds of homeowners who are still living the same house they were in 10 years ago when the Great Recession began have reported that their home is worth more now, a new Bankrate survey revealed.

The survey found that 23 percent said the value is about the same as it was in December 2007, while 11 percent said their home is worth less now.

Forty-six percent of homeowners said their property lost value from December 2007 to June 2009. More than 20 percent who reported that their home lost value during the Great Recession said the home never regained its pre-recession worth. One in 10 whose home value depreciated said they don’t want to own a home now, and 23 percent said they now have a more affordable home and/or mortgage. (more…)

homesIt was a Tweet that had us sitting up and paying attention, as the National Association of Home Builders pointed out last week that although homes got slightly larger from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019, sizes are still declining.

Size, you see, matters. NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz explained in a research note that the post-recession increase in home size was expected — homes generally get bigger as the economy emerges from a recession. (more…)

emergency

Photo courtesy Flickr

From staff reports

It takes more than two years to sock away enough money to address a six-month emergency fund in the Dallas metro area, a new Bankrate.com report revealed.

The area ranks 15th hardest of the top 50 metros when it comes to building a six-month emergency savings fund. That fund would be able to pay for housing costs (mortgage or rent, insurance, property taxes) as well as living expenses like groceries, transportation, utilities, etc.

Factoring all that in, Dallas-area household can theoretically save up to $9,704 of its $56,671 annual take-home pay, Bankrate said, which means it would take 29 months to achieve the area’s average recommended emergency fund of $23,484, enough to cover these expenses for six months. (more…)

business

Photo courtesy Pixabay

From staff reports

Thanks to the Internet, you can start a business just about anywhere, but 20 cities are better for budding entrepreneurs — and Dallas-Fort Worth appears there, WalletHub said this week.

Fort Worth ranked 11th on the list of 100, while Dallas and Irving were 15th and 17th, respectively. Three more North Texas cities made the 100-city total list: Arlington ranked 31st, Plano was 68th, and Garland 76th. (more…)

housing affordabilityFrom staff reports

Although housing affordability is at an all-time low in Dallas, home price appreciation has decelerated recently, the latest report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas revealed.

The report, released March 14, also revealed that Dallas-Fort Worth employment grew by 2.5 percent in 2018.

(more…)

Carla Gallardo never thought she’d love a job in construction. She wanted to be an architect until her engineer father swayed her to civil engineering. Besides, no one in her family ever worked in construction, so Carla was coming into the industry blind.

Sort of. In 2008, a construction internship caught her eye while still in school at the University of Texas at El Paso. The internship, working with project engineers for over a thousand military housing units at Fort Bliss, began her career with Balfour Beatty Construction and later McCarthy Building Companies, where she works now.

Carla is one of many young female professionals entering the heavily male-dominated construction industry, which is one of the least gender-diverse industries. Women comprise 47 percent of the country’s workforce, but only nine percent of the construction industry.

Only three percent of women are employed in hands-on production roles, as opposed to administration, human resources, and marketing that make up the bulk of jobs in construction. (more…)

mortgageIt’s not unusual to see GoFundMe or other crowdfunding efforts for someone who, facing a catastrophic health crisis, can’t afford to pay their rent or mortgage. But until now, those incidents remained anecdotal.

But a study released this year by Emily A. Gallagher, Radhakrishnan Gopalan, and Michal Grinstein-Weis, professors and researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business, Washington University’s Olin Business School and Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work (Grinstein-Wise is also the Associate Dean for Policy Initiatives at Washington University), respectively, reveals that data clearly indicates a relationship between having health insurance and being able to make your rent or mortgage payment.

But the data doesn’t just tell the story of people with catastrophic illnesses, but also the cascading issues that can occur from just being sick and missing work a few days, when an insured person might be able to see a doctor for more immediate relief.

“When people think of health insurance, they often think of its effect on health. They may even they go a step further and think about its effects on a person’s medical expenses and their medical debt,” the three explained in a synopsis of the study. “Our study says that health insurance has significant downstream benefits to a person’s finances that show up in their home payments.”

“These indirect benefits may not be so salient to health policymakers, but they are extremely important to the overall financial stability of the person,” they continued. “On top of this, they carry broader economic implications.” (more…)

Freelance

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

From staff reports

The gig economy means that more and more people are taking the plunge and working for themselves — often in a freelance capacity. The freedom of choosing projects, being your own boss, and working from home can be attractive to many.

But how much do you need to work to be able to afford to live in your city? A recent COMMERCIALCafe study compared average monthly housing expenses and a variety of coworking options that freelancers might choose in different metro areas. The results were enlightening.

Census data shows states like Texas, Florida, Nevada, Utah and Colorado’s population growing by double-digits since 2010,” the company said. “In Texas, six counties―Harris, Tarrant, Bexar, Dallas, Denton and Collin — are among the top 10 net gainers in terms of numbers.”

The south had the most freelance workers — 37 percent of those responding said they worked in the region. Plano and Houston were among the best picks, in fact, for those who wanted access to a private office at an affordable price. (more…)