How far will my salary go in another city?
If you are considering relocating, you should know what you are getting into financially. That new job might pay more, but if the cost or living is higher, you might be a worse situation financially. For instance, if you live in Oklahoma City and earn $50,000, and you are offered a job in Denver for $60,000, it might look like you are making more money, but the cost of living differential eats up the entire excess salary. In this instance, the bulk of the difference is the housing cost. It is estimated that housing costs in Denver are 67% higher than in OKC.
Here is a great tool which allows you to compare the cost of living where you live and where you are considering. Note: the tool doesn’t list all cities, primarily large and mid-sized cities. Give it a try.
But fewer of us are relocating…
The Census reports that a record-low share of Americans are moving. A recent paper suggests government policies might be curbing mobility. Our ability to move to opportunity—our mobility—is a key factor in our own and our nation’s economic success. But the mobility of Americans has reached record lows, according the latest data from the U.S. Census.
Just slightly more than one in ten Americans (11.2 percent) moved between 2015 and 2016, almost half the 20.2 percent rate back in 1948, when the Census began tracking American mobility. Mobility was once the cornerstone of the American Dream, but today Americans move less often than Canadians, and only a bit more than Finns or Danes.
Home prices are on the rise
Housing markets in big cities out West, including Portland, Seattle, and Denver, experienced significant bumps in growth, according to the report. Gains are largely due to a healthy jobs market and historically low mortgage rates, which have increased demand for home-ownership since the financial crisis.
Affordability is worsening. A survey last week put three U.S. cities on the list of the top 10 least-affordable housing markets in the world: Santa Cruz, CA; Santa Barbara, CA; and San Jose, CA. Zillow warned that if household incomes fail to keep up with increases in home prices, particularly if mortgage rates continue to rise, the affordability gap in these metros will linger.
Mortgage lender fined $3.5 million for kickback scheme
A major mortgage lender has been fined $3.5 million for allegedly using kickbacks to drum up business. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that between 2011-2016 Prospect Mortgage was making illegal payments to real estate brokers in exchange for mortgage origination referrals. It’s common for real estate brokers to offer recommendations to buyers and sellers for various home-buying services, like a lender or home inspector. However, federal law prohibits offering and accepting kickbacks or referral fees for services involved in a real estate transaction.
Redfin gets into the mortgage business
There’s about to be a new player in the mortgage space, one that boasts it can be a true digital “one-stop shop” for home-buyers, taking them all the way from finding a real estate agent to finding a house and getting a mortgage.
And while others claim they can do the same thing, this one brings a well-known name and built-in digital experience. Meet Redfin Mortgage. Initially, Redfin Mortgage will operate only in Texas, in the Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio markets.