Americans Saving on Gas, Spending on Fun and Food

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As Americans continue to enjoy a 23 percent drop in gas prices from this time a year ago, a new study conducted by Bloomberg Business has revealed that many consumers are using the extra cash on a range of other categories – most notably fun and food.

According to Bloomberg, sporting and book stores are enjoying the largest jump in sales, with spending there representing 1.67 percent of the total pie, as opposed to the 0.65 percent we saw in June 2014.

With that said, however, consumer spending is still weaker overall than what many economists had hoped to see, accounting for just about 70 percent of the total economy.

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Turmoil in Chinese Stock Market: Will It Affect U.S. Housing?


As you’re likely aware, the stock market in China is currently experiencing a bit of turmoil.

And with so much Chinese money tied up in U.S. real estate investments, many experts are led to wonder what sort of effect this will have on our country’s housing market.

“My conclusion on China is that those who are buying U.S. real estate are doing it with a very long-term view – to diversify their assets, provide a safe haven in case something happens at home,” said John Burns of California-based John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “I don’t think a 30 percent stock correction after a relatively recent 150 percent boom changes much of that. If you told me the economy was going negative, their shadow banking system was exploding, or the government clamped down on foreign investment, then I would be concerned.”

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New York City Townhouse Owned by Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick Sells for $18.25M


According to real estate website Zillow, betrothed actors Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick have just sold their New York City townhouse for $18.25 million.

Despite the hefty selling price, the couple actually lost a bit of cash on the deal, as they reportedly purchased the home four years ago for close to $19 million.

the impressive structure is located in NYC’s Greenwich Village neighborhood and boasts six bedrooms, five full bathrooms, three half-bathrooms, a dining room, a library and a state-of-the-art kitchen, all spread out over multiple floors.

Image via Elliman Real Estate

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Bloomberg Business Reveals the Effects of Booming Technology Market on Real Estate


Reporter Cory Johnson made an appearance on Bloomberg Markets on Tuesday and revealed that the booming tech industry in the San Francisco area has led to giant gains in the housing market there.

According to Johnson, in the slower months this year (like January and February), the average Bay Area home sold within 50 days, whereas in June, the turnaround was more like 28 days.

“The pace of sales, not just the price, is happening at a break-neck speed, and that’s leading to a lot of action in the housing market,” he said. “Buyers are being asked to do things like write letters or show pictures of their family and make videos and present themselves to the sellers. It’s not enough to just have enough money to buy the house or mortgage and be approved to do so.”

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Homeowners Making the Shift to Condos


When the S&P/Chase-Shiller home prices indices report for April was released at the end of last week, it showed strong gains in the construction of new housing, with 34 percent of housing starts coming in the form of apartments and condos.

The good news, though, is that despite the shift toward condo living, prices for such housing units is not expected to rise.

“While the shift in consumer preferences for condos versus single family homes seen in the housing starts data may be a change in people’s housing preferences or housing affordability, it does not appear to be changing the patterns of price movement,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones. “Moreover, the shift to condominiums isn’t likely to make home prices more or less volatile than in the past. It certainly won’t reduce the risk of another housing boom-bust cycle in the future.”

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Tampa: Home Prices Soaring, Housing Supply Remains Low


CNBC reporter Diana Olick revealed on Thursday that, despite the short supply of housing in Tampa, Fla., the area is currently experiencing a surge in home prices.

According to Olick, who referenced the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors, the median price for a home sold in Tampa in May jumped 12.4 percent from a year ago to $204,000.

Similarly to the rest of the country, however, the number of homes on the market in Tampa remains low, with inventory down nearly 5 percent from 2014.

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Actor Johnny Depp Selling Entire French Village


Actor Johnny Depp – known for his roles in Pirates of the Caribbean and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, among many others – has just put an entire French village up for sale.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Depp is selling the 27-acre estate called Plan de la Tour for close to $26 million.

The property, which boasts more than a dozen buildings, is located approximately 17 miles from Saint Tropez and was initially purchased by Depp in 2001. In his time as owner, Depp has spent $10 million on updates.

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Bank of America and Citigroup Funding Affordable Housing in New York Settlements


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Wednesday that Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. will be providing $75 million to rehabilitate 2,200 rental units statewide.

The hefty sum is part of a settlement stemming from an agreement to help resolve mortgage-bond practices that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

“New Yorkers were hurt in many ways by the housing crisis,” Schneiderman said. “My office has been creative in finding new ways to help New Yorkers recover.”

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CNBC Uncovers America’s Most Expensive States to Live In


On Friday, CNBC revealed the most expensive states to live in in 2015.

According to the news source, Hawaii topped the list, with California and New York following closely behind.

“The Ahola State is living proof that you get what you pay for,” the report states. “The quality of life in Hawaii is second to none.”

In addition to many foods costing more than twice what they would cost on the mainland, the average home price in Honolulu Metro is $868,317.

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Rental Demand Likely to Hit Historic Highs This Decade


It’s no secret by now that rental prices have been skyrocketing nationwide for months upon months.

Now, CNBC financial reporter Diana Olick has taken another look at the rental market and found that – despite the growing costs – rental properties are becoming more in-demand than ever before, suggesting that we’re likely to see a record high number of renters by the end of this decade.

“Surprisingly, it will not all be driven by millennials,” Olick explained. “So far, households aged 45 to 64 have accounted for twice the share of rental growth as households under the age of 35. So as we talk about higher rents, it’s the middle-aged middle-class that’s getting squeezed too.”

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