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Solid labor and wage growth spurs increased burden-free accessibility for some American renters





Photo: Robert Clark

Since the housing market collapse a decade ago, rising wages have improved accessibility to affordable rentals for median income Americans, according to a new study by the listing site RentCafe.

Today, fewer median income earners are rent burdened and have burden-free access to more apartments. Rent-burdened is defined as spending  more than 30 percent of a household’s income on housing costs.

The basic idea behind accessibility is fairly simple — it’s the percentage of all apartments in a market that one can afford with a given income,” reads the report.

Accessibility offers a more detailed look at the cross-section of where the job market and the housing market intertwine reveals what the rental market has to offer and for how much, and most importantly, how much of it can renters afford.

“A broader way to understand the rental market is by looking at accessibility, since comparing incomes against the number of units that are affordable gives an entirely different picture of a rental market,” writes real estate writer Balazs Szekely, who authored the study.

Rising home prices and erosion of affordability have caused demand to surge in the rental market. Renter households have steadily increased following the financial crisis, as for many Americans renting was the only way out of the collapse.

At the national level, the median renter income grants burden-free access to 49 percent of all rental stock, up 11 percentage points from 2011. Between 2011 and 2017, access to rental housing for median earners has improved in 40 of the 50 largest cities.

At the same time, nationwide median gross rent has grown by 16 percent while the median income for renter households has grown by around 26 percent. The highest accessibility rates were shaped by strong wages, not “cheap rents,” says Szekely.

Accessibility rates are the highest for median wage earners in Raleigh, North Carolina (71 percent), San Francisco, California (68 percent), and Omaha, Nebraska (64 percent).

But large salaries, expensive homes, and strict rent control have created a unique market in San Francisco, where the median renter household income is over $92,000 — more than twice the national level.

San Francisco’s favorable labor market conditions have of course impacted this figure directly, but as an indirect effect, they have also pushed the median home price to over $1 million.

“This makes renting the only way to go for young professionals, even for those with paychecks that most homeowners elsewhere in the country only dream about,” says Szekely.

At the other end of the spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Detroit, Michigan and New Orleans, Louisiana had the worst accessibility rates of the 50 largest cities.

Millennials are also fueling demand for rental housing. They are reportedly highly motivated to live in urban areas to be closer to booming job markets and they’re priced out of the buying market, so they’re renting.

And in some white-hot tech-driven markets, like San Francisco, employers offer competitive salaries and recruit many younger professionals who have yet to buy a home.


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5 DIY Home Improvements for the COVID-19 Lockdown





The global coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people around the world, to spend more time in their homes this year than they have spent in a long time. As people sit around day after day within the confines of their home, it becomes easier to notice all the areas of the house that need some work. Fortunately, everyone can now afford the extra free time to do the home renovation project they’ve been putting off for years.

Due to the on-going global health crisis, you may not be able to hire any help for your home improvement project; this means that whatever new project you plan to do around the house, whether it’s repainting the home, or installing floor heating systems, you would have to do it yourself.

Here are some do-it-yourself that you may like to try out.

Upgrade to Smart Home Appliances

It’s 2020, what better year to embrace the future by installing a range of high-tech devices that make life extra easy. For instance, with a smart thermostat, your home’s heating and cooling system can go off on their own when not needed, keeping your electricity bills lower. Other appliances that you can make smart include your lighting, home security, music and more.

Clean out your Garage

Homeserve suggests a garage cleanout as a great home improvement project for this season because cleaning out your garage provides some fresh air, the heavy lifting provides some workout and you feel an enormous sense of accomplishment when it’s done.  What’s more, the day would be far spent by the time you’re done with this project. Cleaning out your garage would require you to sweep out any dirt or debris, and get rid of other useless items that may have been stored there for a long time.

Start a Repainting Project

There’s always room for a fresh coat of paint to make everywhere look more alive, so grab a paintbrush and add some extra character to your home. The good news is that you don’t even have to go out for the paint, you can have it shipped directly to your door. Southlandremodeling suggests that if you had 2019 palette or older in your home, now is the time to embrace the latest colour hues of 2020, that show off a more contemporary style and make your home look more sophisticated.

 Build a Patio

Now is the time where every family would enjoy having a paver patio or an outdoor deck, somewhere to sit and get some fresh air when you’re tired of being cooped up inside all day. First you have to ensure that your home has enough space for a patio and that you have enough skills to handle a hammer and other tools for simple construction.

Next you order your needed materials online and get started. There is a great sense of satisfaction that comes with being able to create an outdoor space that your family can enjoy while being stuck at home.

Install some floor heating systems

Installation of floor heating systems is one of the best home improvement projects that one can get. Many people prefer to hire professionals to do these kinds of installation but if you are up for it, it’s not impossible to do this on a DIY project and get a valuable addition to your home for about half the cost.


There is no reason to continue holding out on your dream DIY home renovation projects, especially now that you have all the time in the world due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. Now is the perfect time to transform your home all by yourself!

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13 Montreal Apartments For Rent That Have Breathtaking Outdoor Spaces





With Quebec’s moving day just around the corner, many people are starting to look for a new property to rent. And, now that Montreal real estate activity is back in action, you can start trying to find the perfect space again. And, if you ask me, an apartment that comes with outdoor space is a must when living in the city.

From balconies to shared rooftop spaces, we’re all looking for a place where we can be outdoors. 

Now, more than ever, fresh air is something that we’re all craving. And, with summer coming faster than we think, finding a place with access to the outside is on so many of our checklists. 

Luckily for you, we at MTL Blog have made your job very easy and have gone through listings throughout the city to showcase some of the best rentals, all of which have outdoor spaces. 

Some of these properties offer private balconies while others have surreal rooftops you get access to. Regardless of which one you fall in love with, you’ll be sure to have a summer to remember living in any apartment on this list. 

Get ready for moving day because after looking at these properties, you’re going to be ready to pack your belongings.

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Montreal real-estate market hit hard by pandemic





Like many industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the red-hot Montreal real-estate market has suddenly chilled.

After 61 consecutive months of increases, the Montreal Census Metropolitan Area reported a 68-per-cent decrease in residential sales transactions in April 2020 compared with the year-earlier period, according to the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers.

The most recent residential real-estate market statistics for the Montreal area showed 1,890 residential sales transactions were concluded last month. Those figures are based on the real-estate brokers’ Centris provincial database.

Montreal has been hit harder than other Canadian cities by the pandemic, and the drop in sales was seen in all six main areas of the Montreal CMA.

The drop in sales applied to all three property categories. Single-family home sales fell 68 per cent (1,048 transactions): plex sales dropped 67 per cent (161 transactions); and condominium sales tumbled 69 per cent (675 transactions).

Despite the drop in sales, real-estate prices rose in the CMA. The median price of single-family homes increased by nine per cent to reach $360,000, while the median price of condominiums climbed 12 per cent to $289,900.

Compared with April 2019, the median price of plexes (two to five dwellings) increased 10 per cent to $595,000.

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