Housing affordability creates challenge for employers
Employers are struggling to hire from out-of-town in some U.S. markets due to the high cost of housing. New York is particularly problematic and it’s prompting some people to live in illegally cramped shares.
City rules dictate that any property with three or more unrelated residents must be at least 400 square feet but that is not always adhered to. Breaking the rules is considered unsafe as well as illegal.
Elsewhere, large firms are seeking their own solutions; Facebook, for example, is planning to build homes near its Menlo Park headquarters.
In Washington, a firm called WeWork, which rents offices, now also operates WeLive to provide homes for workers. The firm is expanding in New York, too.
Whether employees will be happy to live in homes provided by employers remains to be seen but for those who change jobs frequently it’s unlikely to be a good option.
Where are the best places to live in North America?
Canadian cities have beaten U.S. ones in a poll of the best places to live. Vancouver was the best-placed in North America, according to the Mercer Quality of Living league table. The data considers everything from climate to housing.
Vienna in Austria has come top globally this year. Vancouver comes fifth out of 230 cities and is the only North American city in the top 10. A little further down the list is Toronto at 15 and Ottawa at 16.
The highest placed city in the U.S. is San Francisco at number 27 followed by Boston (34), Honolulu (36), Chicago (43), New York and Seattle (tied at 44), Los Angeles (48), Washington (50), Pittsburgh (54), Philadelphia (55), Minneapolis (60), Dallas (62), Houston (64), Miami (65), Atlanta (66), St Louis 967) and Detroit (70).
Iowa housing market shows positive signs
The housing market in Iowa is growing well, according to new figures from the Iowa Association of Realtors (IAR). Prices are up, sales are up and homes are selling faster than a year ago.
According to the IAR’s Housing Trends Report, the median sale price increased by 7.5% to $128,916 compared to February 2014. Sales rose by 5% with 1,971 homes sold last month. The average days on market was 103 in February last year but last month it was down to 94 days, an 8.7% decrease.
“With the relatively low inventory levels, homes are selling quickly. The pending properties were also up almost 6% from last year,” Jon Yocum, president of IAR, said. “With the low interest rates and warmer weather, we expect to have a strong buying and selling season this spring.”