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

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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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Covid-19 altering Canadians’ housing needs: RBC

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Amid a pandemic-driven shift in demand as well as a surge in new listings, the Canadian housing market remained strong in August, RBC Economics reports.

Citing preliminary data from local real estate boards, RBC said that markets in many areas of the country remained “red hot” in August.

“But the bigger story might be that Covid-19 is now prompting more people to sell,” the report said, noting that new listings surged in urban centres such as Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.

“We think this in part reflects the pandemic altering the housing needs of many current owners — who are opting to move, something they might not have considered just a few months ago,” it said.

RBC noted that the Toronto market saw new listings jump 57% year over year in August, powering a 40% increase in home sales.

Sales were up more than 20% from July’s near-record levels, it said.

“Clearly, [that] market has fired on all cylinders this summer, making up for the major disruption caused by Covid-19 in the spring,” RBC said.

The primary drivers of sales activity and higher prices were low-rise homes, including single-detached homes, RBC reported.

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RBC’s customer base makes it a favourite of cyber attacks – security experts

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Royal Bank of Canada is among the most targeted institutions by cyber attacks due to its broad customer base, according to an analysis by Palo Alto Networks.

From December 2019 up to present, cybercriminals have been establishing malicious pages disguised as websites by major companies to conduct phishing attempts and other similarly invasive attacks.

RBC ranked third in the most spoofed domains list, more than streaming giant Netflix and professional networking portal LinkedIn. PayPal and Apple ranked first and second, respectively.

“When you look at the broad customer base that RBC has, it makes sense, especially when you compare it to some of the other big names,” said Jen Miller-Osborn, deputy director of threat research at Palo Alto Networks. “These attackers are going after [domains] where they can make the most money, so they’re focusing on these organizations that have really broad customer bases because that really ups the number of potential victims.”

In an interview with BNN Bloomberg, Miller-Osborn outlined what consumers should be looking out for to filter our fraudulent emails.

“Typically, the ones that are going to be scam-related are trying to invoke some sort of emotional response,” Miller-Osborn said. “So they might say something like ‘Someone tried to change your password, click here to say whether or not that was you,’ or ‘Click here to confirm this charge on your statement,’ or ‘We’ve locked your account for strange activity.’ Essentially, things that will make people anxious and will make them want to click first, and not take a step back and pause to think, ‘Is that really the kind of email that my bank would usually send?’”

Other red flags include misspellings and basic grammar errors in the message, especially the sender line.

“Attackers try to closely mimic domain names, so you might see the number zero substituted for ‘o’, or a one substituted for the letter ‘l’. Little thing like an extra ‘s’ or ‘c’ in the name. These things, people tend to glance over very quickly and not notice.”

Miller-Osborn said that these measures should be done in concert with the most effective step in deflecting a spoofing attempt: Calling the bank and asking them if the email that they supposedly sent was legitimate.

 

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Queen confirms new home at Windsor Castle with Buckingham Palace for ‘selected events’

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The Queen will be returning to Windsor Castle in a matter of weeks, with Buckingham Palace only used for ‘select events’.

Her Majesty and her husband Duke of Edinburgh will first spend time privately at Sandringham when they leave Balmoral next week, Buckingham Palace confirmed.

She had been spending summer at her retreat in Aberdeenshire amid speculation that she would not return to the capital amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesperson said: “The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will depart Balmoral Castle during the week commencing September 14 to spend time privately on the Sandringham Estate.

“Subject to the finalisation of the autumn programme, Her Majesty’s intention is to return to Windsor Castle in October and to resume the use of Buckingham Palace for selected audiences and engagements.

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