If you're thinking of getting into the real estate market – be it looking for a new home or seeking to sell – knowing where your city falls on the spectrum from best to worst real estate markets is not only wise, but can make a big difference in how things pan out for your purchase or sale.
Thanks to a recently released report by WalletHub, you can now see where your city and state rank based on 16 key metrics the site found to be the best indicators of market value. Each metric was given a grade on a 100-point scale – 100 being the best, 0 the worst.
300 U.S. cities across the country were measured, using key factors such as maintenance costs, city size, how long it takes for a home to be sold in the area, negative equity, home-price appreciation, and more. These factors folded into two key dimensions: real estate market and affordability and economic environment. This lead to two comprehensive lists – one naming the 10 best real estate markets of the 300 cities, and 10 naming those at the bottom of the barrel.
Being that the housing market is on the upswing, as per WalletHub, this is a particularly popular time to review such findings to stay abreast of the current real estate atmosphere. Now seems to be the time to buy or sell, so by understanding value, location, and what's to be expected puts you ahead of those going in blindly.
Drum roll please… Here are the 10 best and 10 worst. Did your area of interest make out on top?
Best Real Estate Markets:
1. Frisco, TX
2. McKinney, TX
3. Richardson, TX
4. Murfreesboro, TN
5. Austin, TX
6. Allen, TX
7. Overland Park, KS
8. Thornton, CO
9. Plano, TX
10. Arvada, CO
Worst Real Estate Markets
291. Baltimore, MD
292. Waterbury, CT
293. Hartford, CT
294. Fall River, MA
295. Flint, MI
296. Cleveland, OH
297. Elizabeth, NJ
298. Detroit, MI
299. Paterson, NJ
300. Newark, NJ
As evident, Texas is doing it right. 6 of the top 10 cities for real estate are located in the state. When they say, "Don't mess with Texas," it's true! New Jersey didn't fare well overall, with three Jersey cities falling flat in the bottom 10. That said, there are areas of the state with far better rankings, all of which can be found in the in-depth report.
See the entire report and learn how your area of interest fared in this WalletHub study here:
When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.