Connect with us

Personal Finance

Is There a Lesser Evil Between Buying and Renting?

Avatar

Published

on

Most people are excited to move out of their parents’ home and gain a little independence. The only major downside is having to pay a mortgage or monthly rent. The big question is whether to buy or rent. No matter which you go for, the rule of thumb is always to keep your housing costs to no more than 30% of your monthly income.

Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies states that over 21 million tenants who rented in the last year spent much more than 30% of their monthly income. About a quarter of these people experiences a higher degree of a financial burden because over half of their monthly income goes to rent. In those cases, these individuals have to compromise the remainder of their budget. The study states the result is a 55% drop in healthcare spending and a 40% in grocery shopping to compensate. The primary reason that so many people are struggling is rental prices are climbing higher than ever while wages are on the decline.

From 2001 until 2014, the average household income decreased by about 10% while rental prices inflated 7%. Last year, the average apartment cost $1,380 to rent, which is a 25% increase compared to prices three years ago. Even so, there is still an incredible demand for apartments, and the national vacancy rate has been pushed to a 30-year low. Nowadays, low-income households are not the only ones struggling; about 20% of middle-class households find themselves in the same predicament. As if things couldn’t get any worse, experts, like chief economist of Zillow, Svenja Gudell, speculate that prices will only go up over the next year, by about 3% to 5%.

Still, not all hope is lost for those that are looking for something cheaper. Interestingly enough the head of strategic marketing at Zumper, Devin O’Brein, states that prices will be more leveled out in metro hot spots like New York City, San Francisco, and Boston. O’Brien believes that there will be price gains in Oakland that will outpace those in San Fransico in 2016. He also suspects that there will be an increase in growth around Dallas, Miami, Austin, and Houston.

Is there a lesser evil between buying and renting?

If you had to make a smart move between one of the two, it might be a better option to purchase a house this year. Although mortgage interest rates are also expected to climb for the first time in about a decade, there is still a chance you might find a bargain on a home. House prices are expected to drop this year; the opposite of rentals. If you have been contemplating purchasing a home, but you have been stuck in the wave of high prices, it may be your only chance for a while to find a deal.

Around six million homes are projected to be sold from April through September alone this year, and not everyone will be able to take advantage of what is out there. Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Realtor.com, stated the slowdown in home prices will push more homeowners to list their houses, which means you will have plenty of options. It is also believed that new home markets will climb next year with builders keeping a watchful eye on both starter and middle-range homes. There will likely be a significant amount of homes listed, so the amount of bidding will decrease.

With increased interest rates on the way, the window for record low mortgage rates will soon end. Higher rates will push up borrowing costs and monthly mortgage payments. If you are considering to buy or have a rental contract that is almost up, it won’t hurt to look into becoming a homeowner. Housing Economist at Trulia, Ralph McLaughlin, stated that mortgage interest rates would need to rise as high as 6.5% for the cost of buying a home to equal the cost of renting. Are you happy where you currently live?

Economy

The Next Generation of Sin Stocks to Ride Out a Bear Market

Avatar

Published

on

The Next Generation of Sin Stocks to Ride Out a Bear Market

While the recent stock market rally has technically pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average out of a bear market, many investors aren’t convinced it will last.

They expect that once the euphoria surrounding the $2 trillion stimulus plan wears off, the market will resume its slide downward as the economic impact of the coronavirus takes hold in the next few quarters.

Sin stocks, so named because they are things that we should go without but can’t seem to part ways with, are historically a great investment during downturns.

The added stress and uncertainty means an uptick in business for the companies producing these sinful indulgences.

Things like alcohol, cigarettes, weapons and gambling all fall under the umbrella of sin stocks, so companies like Altria (NYSE:MO), Diageo (NYSE:DEO), Sturm Ruger (NYSE:RGR) and MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) are all widely considered to be sin stocks.

And while they can make great investments during times of uncertainty, there’s a new breed of sin stocks that could generate even larger returns over the coming months as Americans turn to their (new) favorite vices.

Here’s a short list of “next gen” sin stocks that we expect to do very well.

Marijuana stocks

While this is by no means a “new” vice, it is only in the last few years that it’s been possible to directly invest in companies that produce and sell marijuana. That wasn’t possible during the 2008 financial crisis, so it will be interesting to see how the major players do during their first economic downturn.

Just like smoking, we expect demand to hold up very well, if not increase, during times of turmoil.

Consider the larger companies like Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), GW Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:GWPH) and Cronos Group (Nasdaq:CRON).

Video Games

Being a “gamer” is a lifestyle now, with livestreaming on YouTube and Twitch and professional Esports leagues formed around the most popular titles like Call of Duty and Overwatch.

Video games are big money now, and the larger production studios will continue to generate massive revenues as the culture grows in the years ahead.

Look at the big studios with strong franchises like Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq:ATVI) which has the Call of Duty and Overwatch franchises and Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:EA) which has the Madden, Battlefield and FIFA franchises.

Social Media Platforms

If you have a child or grandchild under the age of 30, you are probably very aware of the effort it takes to get their attention away from their phones and all the social media apps or platforms that they are using.

Tik-Tok, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all designed to keep users engaged and spending as much time as possible on their platforms. The publicly traded ones are Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Facebook, which also owns Instagram (Nasdaq:FB)

While there are no guarantees when it comes to investing, as the coronavirus causes more people to spend time at home, they’ll be spending more time using the products and services of these next generation sin stocks, and that should translate to more revenues and higher profits for the companies.

Continue Reading

Economy

Dow and S&P Post First Back-to-Back Gains Since February

Avatar

Published

on

Dow and S&P Post First Back-to-Back Gains Since February

While it may be a small victory, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 managed to post their first back-to-back positive days since February.

The Dow closed 2.39% higher, gaining 495 points to close at 21,200. The S&P was up 1.15%, closing 28 points higher at 2,475.

The Dow was helped by a massive 24% rally in Boeing shares and a 9.2% gain for Nike stock.

The Nasdaq slid 0.5% yesterday as the tech-heavy index saw Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet all close in negative territory.

Stock gave back part of their gains right before the market closed when Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said he was ready to “put a hold” on the $2 trillion stimulus bill currently working its way through the Senate.

Sanders is looking for tighter restrictions on companies receiving aid from a taxpayer pool of $500 billion.

While the market has used the likely passage of the stimulus bill as a catalyst for the massive rally over the last two days, at least one investor says the stimulus is reassuring Wall Street, not Main Street.

“What the fiscal and monetary stimulus has done is to allow the market to recover,” said Justin Hoogendoorn, head of fixed income strategy at Piper Jaffray in Chicago. “It’s not because the main street community is coming back. It’s the institutional crowd being able to say, ‘the world isn’t falling apart’.”

Others are worried that the euphoria over the stimulus bill is driving the market higher in the same way it originally drove the market down.

Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, said in a note:

“The stimulus measures will continue acting as equity tailwinds as they seep into corners of the credit market presently locked.”

But he added that the market “is clearly moving much faster than underlying fundamentals and just as sharp declines on prior sessions exaggerated economic conditions, the rebounds will too.”

On Wednesday, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that he expects the U.S. economy will have a quick rebound after a “very sharp” recession.

“If there’s not too much damage done to the workforce, to the businesses during the shutdown period, however long that may be, then we could see a fairly quick rebound,” Bernanke said while appearing on CNBC’s Squawk Box.

He added “This is a very different animal from the Great Depression” which he said “came from human problems, monetary and financial shocks. This has some of the same feel, some of the feel of panic, some of the feel of volatility that you’re talking about. It’s much closer to a major snowstorm or a natural disaster than a classic 1930′s-style depression.”

In order for the markets to avoid a “snowstorm” turning into a recession, Peter Oppenheimer, chief global equity strategist at Goldman Sachs, said there are four “components” needed for stabilization:

″(i) A sign that the policy intervention is sufficient to prevent severe second- and third-round economic shocks; (ii) A sign that the infection rate is reaching a peak; (iii) A sign that the economic downturn may be slowing; and (iv) Cheap valuations,” Oppenheimer wrote in a note to clients. “In reality, we believe it will be a combination of these, and in some cases there are already signs these are in place.”

Continue Reading

government

Stimulus Checks: How Many Months Until Payments Go Out, and What Could You Receive?

Avatar

Published

on

Stimulus Checks

Millions of Americans will receive direct payments from the federal government thanks to a $2 trillion federal funding package that was agreed to early Wednesday morning.

The bill, which could be signed by President Donald Trump later Wednesday, is in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered non-life sustaining businesses nationwide and led to thousands if not hundreds of thousands of new unemployment claims.

Here are the details you need to know about when, and how much, you might receive.

When will the money go out?

According to CNN, relief may still be a couple of months away, as the outlet reports that checks or direct deposits might not go out until May.

“First, the IRS will have to calculate each person’s payment amount,’ CNN writes. “Then, it will need the correct direct deposit information or mailing addresses.

“To get the money to people who don’t usually file tax returns, it might have to request that information from the Social Security Administration or Veterans Affairs. In 2008, those people were required to file a return anyway in order to get their rebate.”

That, of course, will take time, and keep in mind that the IRS is still receiving tax filings, as well, even if the federal government and also Pennsylvania, among many other states, have pushed back the deadline to file.

For those looking for an optimistic timeline, mid-April seems to be the absolute earliest that checks could go out.

More: Pa. unemployment claims skyrocket to 540,000 since statewide coronavirus shutdown, shattering records

How much will I get?

Here is what the New York Times says:

“A $1,200 payment for each adult — and $500 per child — in households that earn up to $75,000 per year for individuals or $150,000 for couples. The assistance phases out for people who earn more.”

CNN has more details on what the phase-out threshold might look like.

“The payments would start to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000, and those making more than $99,000 would not qualify at all,” CNN writes. “The thresholds are doubled for couples.

“Qualifying income levels will be based on 2019 federal tax returns, if already filed, and otherwise on 2018 returns.”

What happened the last time this happened?

This package marks the third time since 2000 that the federal government has approved payments to citizens based on special circumstances.

As CNN notes, it took six weeks for checks to go out under a 2001 plan for tax rebates that were authorized by then-president George W. Bush. Checks during the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008 didn’t go out for three months, however.

Experts believe that an increase in electronic tax filing and the use of direct deposit for refunds could lead to expedited payments this time around, and those who have that set up are likely to receive their money faster than those who will be waiting on a check.

More: These central Pa. businesses are still open during the coronavirus pandemic

Where is the money coming from?

Syracuse.com has details:

“Taxes, essentially,” its Geoff Herbert writes.

“CNBC reports it’s unclear whether the money will be considered a loan or a gift, in which case some of it may have to be paid back.”

Why only one check?

Previous proposals that were discussed as the spread of COVID-19 continued to hurt the economy mentioned the possibility of two checks being sent out, but the agreement reached Wednesday calls for just one. It’s possible that a second round could go out, however, if schools and businesses must remain closed into the summer.

How will businesses be helped?

This part of the package is still being finalized, but Yahoo reports that the Small Business Administration will handle some requests while a new, still-to-be-named agency will handle others, likely for larger businesses and corporations. It was referred to as ‘a big credit facility’ by Pennsylvania senator Pat Toomey over the weekend.

“The facility will have two components: One will be administered by the Treasury Secretary with direct loans for a short list of “seriously distressed and absolutely essential companies,” likely including airlines,” Yahoo writes.

“The second component will be much bigger and be “a broad-based credit facility that will be available across categories, across sectors and industries.” Toomey said this program will give loans that will have to be repaid. “None of this is grant money,” he said.”

More of PennLive’s coronavirus coverage:

Why social distancing works, as demonstrated with Skittles

Pa. school districts prepare for possibility of students not returning to classrooms

Governors, still trying to flatten the coronavirus curve, balk at Trump’s Easter Sunday timeline

___

(c)2020 The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.)

Visit The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.) at www.pennlive.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 The Capitalist. his copyrighted material may not be republished without express permission. The information presented here is for general educational purposes only. MATERIAL CONNECTION DISCLOSURE: You should assume that this website has an affiliate relationship and/or another material connection to the persons or businesses mentioned in or linked to from this page and may receive commissions from purchases you make on subsequent web sites. You should not rely solely on information contained in this email to evaluate the product or service being endorsed. Always exercise due diligence before purchasing any product or service. This website contains advertisements.