Headlines – Week of January 16, 2011

January 27, 2011

Cities where it’s cheaper to buy than rent

According to an article in the InmanNews, it is cheaper to buy a home rather than rent one in 72 percent of the 50 largest U.S. cities.  The article used an index released by real estate search and marketing site Trulia, which compares the total cost of homeownership to the cost of renting.

The index compares the median sales price of homes with the median rent on two bedroom apartments, condos, and townhomes that were listed on Trulia as of Jan. 10, 2011.

Here are the top 10 cities where it’s best to buy than rent, according to the index:

1. Miami
2. Las Vegas
3. Arlington, Texas
4. Mesa, Ariz.
5. Phoenix, Ariz.
6. Jacksonville, Fla.
7. Sacramento, Calif.
8. San Antonio, Texas
9. Fresno, Calif.
10. El Paso, Texas

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Home prices fall in major U.S. cities

According to an article in The Associated Press, home prices are falling across most of America’s largest cities, and average prices in eight major markets have hit their lowest point since the housing bust.

Some analysts are calling for a “second wave of the housing bust” or a “double-dip” in home prices.

The article uses data from the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index which fell 1 percent in November from October. All but one city, San Diego, recorded monthly price declines.

Eight others sank to their lowest levels since prices peaked in 2006 and 2007, the lowest point since the housing bubble bust.  The eight cities include Atlanta, Charlotte (North Carolina), Las Vegas, Miami, Portland (Oregon), Seattle, Tampa (Florida), and Detroit, which saw the largest drop at 2.7 percent from the previous month. 

Millions of foreclosures are forcing prices down, and many people are holding off making purchases because they fear the market hasn’t hit bottom yet. Many analysts expect home prices to keep falling through the first six months of this year.

Over the past year, prices have risen in four major metro areas. Prices rose 3.5 percent in Washington, the largest gain. Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco also posted gains.

Some of the worst declines have come in cities hard hit by foreclosures.

As of November, average home prices in Las Vegas have fallen 57.2 percent from their peak in August 2006 and are back to where they were in late 1999. Another foreclosure hotbed, Phoenix, is down 53.9 percent from its June 2006 peak. Average home prices there are back to where they were in 2000.

Miami has fallen 48.8 percent from its peak in December 2006, and is selling at late 2002 levels.

The 20-city index has risen 3.3 percent from its April 2009 bottom. But it remains well below its July 2006 peak.

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Five Florida Cities Are Tops For Doing Business

According to an article in The Orlando Sentinel, Orlando is cheapest place to open business.  The article quotes information provided byBizCosts which compared the annual costs of operating a typical corporate headquarters in 55 cities across the U.S., weighing factors such as labor costs, tax burden, utility costs and travel costs. For its model, it calculated those expenses for a 75,000-square-foot facility employing 300 people.

Based on that model company, BizCosts found that the yearly cost in Orlando is about $19.9 million per year; Jacksonville is about $20.1 million; and Broward County is about $21.6 million. New York City had the highest cost, at $28.5 million a year.

Florida cities benefited from relatively low labor costs, tax burden, land and construction costs.

The report comes a month after the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council placed Florida sixth overall — and second among big states — in a ranking of the best places to run a small company.  

In total, five Florida city areas made the list. No other state had more than one area in the top 20.

Florida city areas by rank and yearly cost to operate:
1.   Orlando
3.   Jacksonville
7.   Tampa Bay
16. Palm Beach County
20. Broward County

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Posted by Scott R. Lodde

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