New homes get more affordable

Here are three of the week’s top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

New homes get more affordable

New homes are no longer selling at a premium, said Matt Phillips in Axios. “The median price for an existing single-family home stood at $416,000 in June,” according to FactSet. That’s almost exactly the same price as what a newly built home was selling for in May. The equivalence is almost unheard of. “For the last 10 years, prices for new single-family homes have been on average about $60,000 more than existing home sales.” Today, however, there is “a dwindling supply of existing homes on the market, helping to keep those prices elevated.” New-home construction, meanwhile, has been surging for the past year. In May, newly built homes accounted for one-third of the homes for sale nationwide, compared with a historical norm of 10% to 20%.

Insurers continue to leave Florida

Florida’s insurance crisis is worsening, said Kinsey Crowley in USA Today. “Three major companies have voluntarily withdrawn from the state since last year,” including Farmers Insurance recently, and “seven local insurance companies have become insolvent since February 2022.” Last week, AAA joined the statewide exodus, saying it will no longer renew “package policies that combine home, automobile and optional umbrella coverage.” The lack of options has driven Floridian homeowners’ rates up 42% from last year to an average of $6,000 per year. Climate catastrophe has been a factor, but insurers also blame a 2017 Florida Supreme Court ruling that opened the door for “frivolous lawsuits and fraudulent claims.” In the past three years, “80% of property-claim lawsuits in the country have been in Florida.”

A rebound for women’s jobs

The “she-cession” is over, said Jeanna Smialek and Ben Casselman in The New York Times. “Women lost jobs heavily early in the pandemic,” particularly women of color, and there was worry that women might have lost years of gains in the workforce. “But that has proved not to be the case.” Since the middle of last year, “employment has actually rebounded faster among women than men,” bringing the employment rate for women between the ages of 25 and 54 to “the highest on record.” Another pandemic employment myth has also been busted: that the Covid crisis would cause a wave of early retirements. In fact, workers ages 55 to 64 are “now employed at a higher rate than before the pandemic.” 

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