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Local Housing Markets: NYC, Sarasota and Racine

Local markets is a HousingWire magazine feature spotlighting housing trends in five markets across the country.



Local housing markets is a HousingWire magazine feature spotlighting housing trends across the country.

New York City, New York

In many ways the spring of 2022 marked the full return of New York City and for a real estate agent like Johnson Tsai, a lead agent at REAL, this meant a massive up-tick in rental demand. “We are typically super busy from March through August and sometimes even into October,” Tsai said. “This seasonal trend came back last year and then we had even more people mov-ing back who had left at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Things finally slowed down in November and I expect them to pick back up in the spring. It is still kind of a weird market, but it is going back to a little bit more normal.”

Tsai works with both homebuyers and tenants and while he says his business is typically split 50/50 between buyers and tenants, he has noticed a shift as mortgage rates have risen over the past six months. “Given the current market, my business is at least about 60% renters and the other 30% to 40% is buyers and sellers,” Tsai said. He also noted that he expects this ratio to continue in 2023 and the ratio of his business to potentially increase this spring.

The housing market in New York City, New York

Sarasota, Florida

On Florida’s Gulf Coast, Sarasota is the gateway to some of the state’s most famous beaches, including Lido Key and Siesta Key. The sugar-white sands of the local beaches have always been a draw for both tourists and prospective homebuyers, but according to lo-cal eXp Realty agent Sandy Williamson they have been enticing even more buyers than usual over the past few years. “A lot of people are moving here from other places,” she said. “They want to avoid state income tax and they don’t want to live in all that bad weather anymore.”

Williamson noted that the housing market slowed down in the fall, following typical seasonal trends. But, home prices were still up over 15% year over year, ac-cording to Redfin. As we head further into 2023, Williamson said she expects to see the usual increase in demand, but buyers are less optimistic than they were a year ago. “Buyers are a little scared because the majority of the people moving here are going to retire soon or are retired, so they may be living off investments in the stock market and that has been a bit touch and go lately, so I think buyers might be a bit more conservative in their budgets and look at getting a mortgage instead of paying cash for their home and having all their money tied up,” Williamson explained.

The housing market in Sarasota, Florida

Seattle, Washington

The Pacific Northwest and Seattle, in particular, get a bad rap for being perpetually overcast and constantly rainy, but Amy Breach, a local Keller Williams agent and member of The Hill Team, says that the stereotype isn’t accurate. “We have mild temperatures — it’s not too extreme in any direction and yet we have the beauty of all four seasons,” Breach said.

“Summers just come to life here. You can feel the energy shift during the summer when the sun is out and the whole city is just shining.” In addition to great weather, Breach also noted the wide variety of environments within a few hours of the city, from beaches, to mountains, forests and deserts. The area’s natural beauty as well as abundance of job opportunities has been attracting homebuyers to Seattle for years, and while many migration studies have noted that people have left Seattle for more affordable metros, Breach said that she has not noticed a major change in demand.

“There are always flocks of buyers from out of state and out of county.” Although Breach says the market cooled off recently as interest rates rose to some of their highest levels in decades, she said it had not turned into a buyer’s market and didn’t expect it to switch in the near future. “The market is more of a balance market now,” she said. “We have more inventory than we have had in years, and we have almost enough buyers to support that inventory.”

The housing market in Seattle, Washington

Racine, Wisconsin

Marcia Ricchio, a RE/MAX Newport Elite agent, was surprised to find out that her market of Racine, Wisconsin, was one of the hottest housing markets in the country this past fall, according to Realtor. com. For Ricchio, the most challenging part of the housing market slowdown has been trying to bridge the gap between sellers, who are still expecting sky-high prices and multiple offer situations, and buyers, who are grappling with rising mortgage rates and mounting affordability issues.

Despite these challenges, Ricchio said homes that are move-in ready and priced right are still moving quickly and can still result in bidding wars. “We have to be a lot more diligent in pricing homes and getting sellers to understand that if they really want to sell, then my proposed price is a realistic number,” she said. “If they say yes and their home looks amazing, it is gone almost immediately.”

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan and between Milwaukee in the north and Chicago in the south, Racine has been attracting homebuyers looking for a bit more bang for their buck for years. “We have a downtown that is small but not too small with lots of activities and great restaurants, and then we also have the lake and some of the nicest beaches in the country — I just love this city,” Ricchio said.

The housing market in Racine, Wisconsin

Middlesex County, Connecticut

Including the Greater Hartford metropolitan area, Middlesex County is home to some of the largest cities in Connecticut, including Middletown, East Hartford and the state capital of Hartford. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Connecticut real estate market has witnessed somewhat of a renaissance after slowing to a near halt in the mid to late-2010s. “During the pandemic, a lot of New York residents wanted to get out of the city and just have more land for themselves and their families,” Michael Sklutovsky, a local eXp Realty agent, said.

“Connecticut is close enough to the city that they could still work in the city once things opened up, but it also had the benefit of being more rural. That combination brought a lot of more business to Connecticut.” Despite this upward momentum, market conditions in Connecticut have cooled in recent months as interest rates have gone up on top of typical seasonal trends. “February is usually my slowest month,” he said. “But I feel it will pick up in the summer like it usually does. Supply is still short, so I don’t expect prices to go down too much. It is still a good time to sell.”

The housing market in Middlesex County, Connecticut

This article was originally published in the February/March issue of HousingWire Magazine. Click here to read the full magazine

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Fed, central banks enhance ‘swap lines’ to combat banking crisis

Currency swap lines have been used during times of crisis in the past, such as the 2008 global financial crisis and the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.



Currency swap lines have been used during times of crisis in the past, such as the 2008 global financial crisis and the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

The United States Federal Reserve has announced a coordinated effort with five other central banks aimed at keeping the U.S. dollar flowing amid a series of banking blowups in the U.S. and in Europe.

The March 19 announcement from the U.S. Fed comes only a few hours after Swiss-based bank Credit Suisse was bought out by UBS for nearly $2 billion as part of an emergency plan led by Swiss authorities to preserve the country's financial stability.

According to the Federal Reserve Board, a plan to shore up liquidity conditions will be carried out through “swap lines” — an agreement between two central banks to exchange currencies.

Swap lines previously served as an emergency-like action for the Federal Reserve in the 2007-2008 global financial crisis and the 2020 response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal Reserve-initiated swap lines are designed to improve liquidity in dollar funding markets during tough economic conditions.

"To improve the swap lines’ effectiveness in providing U.S. dollar funding, the central banks currently offering U.S. dollar operations have agreed to increase the frequency of seven-day maturity operations from weekly to daily," the Fed said in a statement.

The swap line network will include the Bank of Canada, Bank of England, Bank of Japan, European Central Bank and the Swiss National Bank. It will start on March 20 and continue at least until April 30.

The move also comes amid a negative outlook for the U.S. banking system, with Silvergate Bank and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapsing and the New York District of Financial Services (NYDFS) takeover of Signature Bank.

The Federal Reserve however made no direct reference to the recent banking crisis in its statement. Instead, it explained that they implemented the swap line agreement to strengthen the supply of credit to households and businesses:

“The network of swap lines among these central banks is a set of available standing facilities and serve as an important liquidity backstop to ease strains in global funding markets, thereby helping to mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses.”

The latest announcement from the Fed has sparked a debate about whether the arrangement constitutes quantitative easing.

U.S. economist Danielle DiMartino Booth argued however that the arrangements are unrelated to quantitative easing or inflation and that it does not "loosen" financial conditions:

The Federal Reserve has been working to prevent an escalation of the banking crisis.

Related: Banking crisis: What does it mean for crypto?

Last week, the Federal Reserve set up a $25 billion funding program to ensure banks have sufficient liquidity to cover customer needs amid tough market conditions.

A recent analysis by several economists on the SVB collapse found that up to 186 U.S. banks are at risk of insolvency:

“Even if only half of uninsured depositors decide to withdraw, almost 190 banks are at a potential risk of impairment to insured depositors, with potentially $300 billion of insured deposits at risk.”

Cointelegraph reached out to the Federal Reserve for comment but did not receive an immediate response.

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MGM Shares Surprising Las Vegas Strip News

Two of the resort casino operator’s executives spoke at a recent event where they talked about Las Vegas’s covid comeback.



Two of the resort casino operator's executives spoke at a recent event where they talked about Las Vegas's covid comeback.

The Las Vegas Strip suffered during the covid pandemic when lights on the iconic 4.2-mile stretch of road literally went dark due to a government-mandated closure. Recovery, however, has been not exactly a straight line because the lingering impact of the pandemic has been a drag on some key business areas.

The two biggest players on the Strip -- Caesars Entertainment (CZR) - Get Free Report and MGM Resorts International (MGM) - Get Free Report -- have both had to make decisions without being able to use the past as a guide. In most years, for example, you could make a reasonable guess as to how many people might visit the city during a major convention based on how many attendees that show had the past year.

DON'T MISS: Las Vegas Strip Faces a New Post-Pandemic Reality

Covid, however, changed that equation. Some companies have realized that maybe they don't need to spend the money on exhibiting or attending shows while others may have employees reticent to be in crowded spaces.

In addition, some major events -- like CES in 2022 -- saw attendance plummet at the last minute due to a spike in covid numbers. Add in that international travelers and some more-vulnerable populations have continued to be wary of travel and it makes planning a challenge for Caesars and MGM.

All of this has led to low prices for tourists and business travelers -- especially those who booked far in advance. That has been slowly changing, especially for major non-business tourist events like March Madness, the NFL Draft, and November's Formula 1 race (a weekend where Caesars, MGM, and the other Strip operators may break pricing records).

Rising prices and a rebounding convention business don't mean the end of Las Vegas as a value destination for tourists, according to MGM COO Corey Sanders, who spoke at the recent J.P. Morgan Gaming, Lodging, Restaurant & Leisure Management Access Forum in Las Vegas. 


MGM Expects a Convention Comeback (Just Not Yet)

Although Las Vegas has largely returned to normal after its covid disruptions, room rates at many Caesars and MGM properties remain below historic norms. That's at least partially because the convention business remained soft in 2022 and not having those huge blocks of rooms booked led to the casino operators generally keeping prices low.

That's expected to continue through 2023, according to Sanders, reported.

"With regards to convention, in particular with MGM, we’re going to be down a little bit this year. Some of it is strategic. We have made a decision that on weekends, we’ll put less convention business in our buildings,” he shared.

Fewer rooms booked for conventions generally means lower rates across the Strip.

Sanders said he expected 2023 to be a "decent" year for MGM's Strip convention business, but he believes that 2024 and 2025 will be stronger.

MGM Sees the Value of an Affordable Las Vegas

A convention business bounceback, however, does not mean an end to affordable Las Vegas Strip hotel rooms, according to MGM Senior Vice President Sarah Rogers, who joined Sanders onstage. She made it clear that MGM understands that the Las Vegas Strip must maintain its status as an affordable vacation destination.

“We still offer a relative value. That gap has tightened a little bit,” said Rogers. “Some of those drivers that have allowed us to sustain that are things like continued programming, improved product, and the suite offering that we have. So we’re comfortable that we still offer relative value.”

Sanders also pointed out that "much of the increase in traffic at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas is attributable to economy carriers, meaning the travel costs to get to the U.S. casino hub are, broadly speaking, tolerable for a broad swath of customers,"'s Todd Shriber wrote. 


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The Growing Auto Loan Problem Facing Young Americans

The Growing Auto Loan Problem Facing Young Americans

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have taken on significantly more debt to buy vehicles….



The Growing Auto Loan Problem Facing Young Americans

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have taken on significantly more debt to buy vehicles. This is especially true for Gen Z and Millennials, who the Federal Reserve believes may have borrowed beyond their means.

In this infographic, Visual Capitalist's Marcu Lu visualizes data from the Fed’s most recent consumer debt update.

Aggressive Borrowing

The first chart in this graphic shows the growth in outstanding car loans between Q2 2020 (start of the pandemic) to Q4 2022 (latest available).

We can see that Americans under the age of 40 have grown their vehicle-related debt the most. It’s natural for Gen Z (ages 11-26) to have higher growth figures because many of them are buying their first car, but 31% is quite high relatively speaking.

Part of this can be attributed to today’s inflationary environment, which has pushed used car prices to new highs. Supply chain issues have also resulted in over 30% of new cars being sold above MSRP.

Because of these rising prices, the Fed reports that the average auto loan is now $24,000, up 41% from 2019’s value of $17,000.

Spiking Delinquencies

Interest rates on auto loans are typically fixed, meaning many young Americans were able to take advantage of the low rates seen during the pandemic.

Despite this, one in five Gen Zs say that their car payments account for over 20% of their after-tax income.

Shown in the second chart of this infographic, the amount of auto debt transitioning into serious delinquency is much higher for Gen Z and Millennials. Throughout 2022, these generations saw $20 billion in auto debt fall 90+ days behind.

The outlook for these struggling borrowers is bleak. First there’s inflation, which has pushed up the prices of most consumer goods. This eats into their ability to make car payments.

Second is rising interest rates, which make credit card debt—another pain point for young borrowers—even more costly. Finally, there’s student loans, which are expected to resume in summer 2023. Payments on student debt have been suspended since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/18/2023 - 14:30

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