Home sales ring in stronger than ever

home prices

According to a recent article in the Denver Post, home sales are stronger than ever. In fact, in May, real estate buyers in the US snapped up properties almost as soon as the homes were listed. That type of response marks the strongest sales rate in nearly 10 years. As a result, sales of existing homes climbed 1.8% in May 2016 to an adjusted yearly rate of approximately 5.5 million – the highest it has been since February 2007. That news is good for the National Association of Realtors, which reported the rise in the sales rate.

According to the news, people remain committed to purchasing homes, despite the fact that the inventory is low, which also has caused prices to rise. The increased demand seemingly stems from lower mortgage rates and a relative healthy unemployment rate (4.7%).

Statistics further underscore the increased real estate demand in May as well. Homes during the month sold only after 32 days on the market – the fastest they have ever sold since industry insiders began monitoring the figure in 2011. Just a year ago, homes stayed on the market an average of 40 days. While sales increased in the West, South and Northeast in the US, they fell in the Midwest where the real estate is normally considered more affordable.

One report by the Denver Metro Association of Realtors showed that the median sales price for a single-family house in May was $398,000. That is a whopping 10.7% increase from only a year earlier. The median sales price nationally was $239,700 in the month of April – a 4.7% increase over the past year.

However, even with these gains, current homeowners are not motivated to list their real estate. Many people are still getting over the equity they lost during the crash. For those individuals, a sale would not generate enough of a profit to cover the cost of purchasing a new home. As a result, listings have fallen about 5.7% over the year, which means home buyers now have fewer choices.


Employers may start offering payday loans to employees

presenteeism

Usually, companies of all sizes – big and small – are concerned about absenteeism. But what about presenteeism? Presenteeism can be just as dangerous because a worker is bringing their own problems to the workforce, whether it’s their illness, their mental health issues or their personal issues at home. And this could hurt the overall productivity in the business.

According to a 2014 report from Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, 47 percent of workers say the problems in their personal lives sometimes affect their own work performance. Some of these problems do include pecuniary difficulties, not having enough money to pay the rent, cover the lighting bill or giving a child money for a school trip.

They then tend to turn to stores that offer payday advance loans to borrow some much needed funds for a short period of time. But as the media reports suggest, consumers can enter into a downward spiral of debt and get themselves even more into trouble. Everything just snowballs at once.

When these matters arise at home, employees bring them to the office, and they think about it all the time. Employers are starting to see if they can offer some sort of assistance. One way they’re attempting to achieve this is by offering their own types of payday loans.

It has often been discussed about the benefits and drawbacks of an employer extending a payday loan – it’s a modern update of an advance on your salary or paycheck. But employers want to experiment with a wide range of ideas, anything to boost morale and increase productivity.

Over the last few years, an array of companies have helped their workers pay off student loans, consolidate or refinance existing debt and even offered low-interest lines of credit as an alternative to payday loans. All of these tools are meant to cover emergency costs, pay down other debt or to remove personal headaches that may have seeped into one’s cubicle, and perhaps compete for the best and brightest crop of workers in the labor market.

Business owners and managers concede that they can’t have their workers concentrating on financial matters and looking for part-time work because then it hurts their company.

“I can’t have an effective employee if they are stressed and thinking about waiting tables on the side to make ends meet,” Erik Dochtermann, CEO of New York creative media agency MODCo Media, which has 33 full-time workers, told the Wall Street Journal.

Americans take out approximately 12 million payday loans every single year. These loans, whether they’re $100 or $1,000, carry exorbitant interest rates and other charges and have a small window of repayment. Sometimes, borrowers can have a hard time paying the funds back.

Although many companies are apprehensive about offering such a loan, they may have no other alternative because their staffers are going to get a loan no matter what. So why not have the private firm extend such a product or a choice to those workers?

“Not offering a low-cost loan option is not going to prevent people from getting a loan. By not offering, we are going to force them to do something worse,” said Pam Dimitro, controller at JNET Communications.

Just six percent of U.S. businesses maintain this kind of practice, notes a 2015 study by the Society for Human Resource Management. But that number may grow in the next few years, especially as wages stagnate, the cost of living goes up and workers enter into a life of financial destitute.

It seems perhaps the benefits a company offers are far more important than salary.


Study shows public tired of crowd funding ventures

crowd funding

Over the decades there have been a number of different methods available for people to consider if they needed to raise money for a venture or a good cause. In recent years, one method of raising money that has become increasingly popular is crowd funding. The popularity of this method has surged because we spend more and more of our time interacting with people online and this has enabled people to put out requests to the masses simply with a few clicks of the mouse and via the various crowd funding websites and companies that have been set up.

However, while crowd funding may have seemed like a good idea when it first emerged there are many people who are now becoming fed up of constant requests for funding. Some people have said that they receive requests not just for good causes or ventures that could help to improve the world but for people who simply want help towards paying off debt, going on holiday, and who want to splash out on other luxuries for themselves.

People should work for their money

One editor from New York explained that he used to give donations to good causes but soon found himself being bombarded with requests for donations from people who wanted the money to splash out on themselves. People who have Facebook and email accounts often find themselves in familiar situations with everyone from friends and family members to complete strangers requesting donations.

One Alaskan basketball player, Damen Bell-Holter, said that before crowd funding became so popular, people worked for their money in order to splash out on luxuries. However, these days many were simply sitting at their computers, going online and asking others to simply give them the money they want. He said he realized that in some cases donation requests were legitimate and for good causes but in other cases it was just a case of sheer laziness on the part of the person requesting donations.

The crowd funding industry is now worth $34 billion according to reports, and a number of companies have emerged to help people to raise the money they need such as GoFundMe and Indiegogo amongst others. They have helped many people to raise huge amounts of cash but in some cases the cash has been used for nothing more than personal gain by those requesting it. Even celebrities have become involved with the girl band TLC having raised nearly half a million dollars from fans to bring out a new album – and then not releasing one.