7 Things That Got Cheaper Last Year

Women using a smartphone
giuseppelombardo / Shutterstock.com

What goes up must come down, right? For some prices, yes — but not all.

Money Talks News analyzed the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Consumer Price Index data, which is for December, to find out which things actually cost less going into 2021 than they did one year prior.

Overall, the price of all things rose overall by 1.4% between December 2019 and December 2020, according to the BLS.

So, rejoice at those products that cost a bit less than they once did. Click through the slideshow to see all the products with prices that were at least around 10% lower going into this year than they were going into 2020.

7. Women’s dresses

Art_Photo / Shutterstock.com

Price decline from December 2019 to December 2020: 11.2%

As a whole, the price of apparel fell 3.9% last year, but some types of clothing saw much steeper drops. For example, women’s apparel fell 7.7%, while men’s apparel fell 2.6%

Of all the types of women’s clothing included in the Consumer Price Index, dresses saw the biggest drop in price between December 2019 and December 2020, at 11.2%.

Many of the stores where women bought dresses also tumbled last year, with Ann Taylor and New York & Co. among the clothing retailers we cited in “15 Major Companies That Filed for Bankruptcy Due to the Pandemic.”

6. Men’s suits, sport coats and outerwear

New York City
pio3 / Shutterstock.com

Price decline from December 2019 to December 2020: 13.4%

Of all the types of men’s clothing included in the Consumer Price Index, the category that includes men’s suits, sport coats and outerwear easily saw the steepest drop.

Of course, 2020 dealt quite the blow to the formal business attire industry in particular. Men’s Wearhouse and Brooks Brothers were among the many retailers that filed for bankruptcy protection as stores shuttered and scores of employees started working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

5. Gasoline

A couple pumps gas at the gas station
View Apart / Shutterstock.com

Price decline from December 2019 to December 2020: 15.2% (for all types of gasoline collectively)

Gas prices fell dramatically in 2020, as Americans spent more time at home due to stay-at-home orders and their own desire to avoid the coronavirus. In fact, before March was up, 25 states had seen their average gas prices drop below $2 a gallon.

All three types of gasoline included in the Consumer Price Index fell in price last year — after seeing a 7.9% increase the prior year — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regular gas saw the steepest drop:

  • Unleaded regular (meaning gas with an octane rating of at least 85 but less than 88): 15.6% price decline
  • Unleaded midgrade (octane rating of at least 88 but no more than 90): 13.1% price decline
  • Unleaded premium (octane rating of more than 90): 12.9% price decline

4. Telephone hardware, calculators and other consumer information items

woman talking on a cellphone
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

Price decline from December 2019 to December 2020: 16.3%

Consumers are enjoying a drop in costs in this category.

Shopping for the latest deals on smartphones? Start by checking out “20 Cellphone Plans That Cost $21 or Less.”

3. Other motor fuels

Man driving a pickup truck
Lazor / Shutterstock.com

Price decline from December 2019 to December 2020: 17.6%

Gasoline isn’t the only type of motor fuel that fell on the Consumer Price Index last year. A category called “other motor fuels” saw an even steeper price drop than gasoline.

As the Bureau of Labor Statistics defines it, this category includes “automotive diesel fuel and alternative motor fuels such as propane, natural gas, kerosene, alcohol, and electricity that is sold for use in consumer automobiles.”

2. Airline fares

Airplane flight attendant
kgarinKhun / Shutterstock.com

Price decline from December 2019 to December 2020: 18.4%

While 2020 was a tough year for the travel industry in general due to the pandemic, consumers saw a particularly big effect on the cost of airfare, which fell by 18.4% — more than almost any other type of expenditure included in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index.

1. Non-motor fuel oil

Heating oil is delivered to a home
Palatinate Stock / Shutterstock.com

Price decline from December 2019 to December 2020: 20%

Residential fuel oil prices saw the steepest decline last year on the Consumer Price Index. This category includes fuel oil used for heating, cooling, lighting, cooking and other household equipment. However, it excludes propane, kerosene and firewood, which collectively saw a price decline of 2% in 2020.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

Fully Covered: The Wallpaper’s Gone Wild in This Palm Springs Oasis>

A desert home slathered with wallpaper is waiting for its next owner. The home’s exterior may be sedate, but the interior is quite a jolt.

“The wallpaper is a combination of pink, blue, and some silver. That’s what stands out when you walk in. You open the front door, and first thing that just stands out is the wallpaper. It’s totally in your face,” says the listing agent, Marco Galvez.

The townhouse on E. La Verne Way in Palm Springs, CA, was built in 1979, and is now available for $529,000. The unit measures 2,289 square feet, most of it covered with wacky wall coverings and bright blue carpeting. Wallpaper extends into every nook and cranny and even covers some of the ceilings.

Galvez says the color and patterns can feel a bit disorienting at first.

“You can feel very overwhelmed,” he says. “But within seconds, you just feel excited to see the rest. If you spend a little bit more time than an hour or two, you do get a little dizzy just staring at it. The calming takes over later.”

Exterior of home in Palm Springs, CA
Exterior of home in Palm Springs, CA

One Point Media Group

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The wallpaper isn’t the only 1970s motif running rampant through the house. The furnishings are all either vintage or designed to look that way.

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Kitchen

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Kitchen

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Everything in the kitchen works, including the 1970s-era oven. Meanwhile, the ceiling also features a wallpaper that doesn’t exactly fade into insignificance.

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Watch: Roll With It: $359K W. Virginia Property Includes a Skate Rink

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The all-important air conditioning may need some love, however. Thanks to recent changes in California laws, the coolant necessary for the units is no longer readily available.

Galvez says a recent HVAC service call required some special attention and a return visit from the technician. He believes that a new buyer is likely to want to update the HVAC system for the desert’s brutal summer months.

Exterior
Exterior

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Outdoor space
Outdoor space

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Dining space

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The current owner has owned the residence since 1995, and has kept much of the decor as it was when she acquired the property.

“As things get worn, she replaces it. She always tries to stay with the very same product or similar,” Galvez explains.

Parts of the wallpaper have been replaced or mended where they have shown wear or damage. The shocking-blue carpets have recently been replaced, all in the original color scheme.

Bedroom
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Bathroom

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In two wild bedrooms, the linens and bedding match the wallpaper, making it a little difficult to locate the bed.

Living space
Living space

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Living space

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“When you look at the furniture, about 75% of those furnishings were custom-made to fit the theme and be able to match the retro 1970s wallpaper vibe,” says Galvez.

And what you see in the listing photos is exactly what you’ll get.

“Everything is part of the selling price, everything is turnkey,” Galvez explains. “The reason we want to go turnkey is because someone’s going to come in there and fall in love with it as is, and they’re not going to want to lose anything.”

Galvez says that Palm Springs is a top destination for vacation rentals, and as an overnight retreat, he believes, this property could really come into its own.

A buyer might be able to net a steady stream of rental income from folks in search of a different place to stay in the desert.

“When people go away on weekends or just a few days, they’d rather rent something that is unique,” he says. “If you’re looking for a rental, this one’s done for you and already has its own vibe, and you can capitalize on that.”

Community pool
Community pool

One Point Media Group

As part of the Canyon West Estates neighborhood, residents are entitled to use two community pools, a spa, clubhouse, and other amenities. The townhouse also has a two-car garage.

The owner has told Galvez that she would like to find a buyer who will respect the property and keep it the way it is.

“I do get a lot of people who think they want it and want to see it. They’re excited. And then they say, ‘You know, it was very cool to see, but I don’t think I could live there full-time,’” Galvez admits.

“I think the perfect buyer is going to be someone who really just adores art and is going to fall in love with that property, because it is very different, in an artistic way.”

Bedroom
Bedroom

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Kitchen
Kitchen

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Kitchen and living space
Kitchen and living space

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Bathroom
Bathroom

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  • For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
  • Homes for sale in Palm Springs, CA
  • Learn more about Palm Springs, CA

Source: realtor.com

New-Home Construction Activity Soars to Highest Level in Over a Decade, as Builders Rush To Produce Single-Family Homes

The numbers: U.S. home builders started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.67 million in December, representing a 5.8% increase from the previous month’s figure, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday.

Permitting for new homes occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.71 million, up 4.5% from November.

Compared with December 2019, housing starts were up 5%, while permits were up 17%. It was the highest level housing starts and building permits have reached since 2006.

Both figures came in above analysts’ expectations, reflecting growth in the single-family sector. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected housing starts to occur at a pace of 1.56 million and building permits to come in at a pace of 1.61 million.

What happened: Growth in the single-family sector drove the rise in both housing starts and building permits. On a monthly basis, single-family starts were up 12%, while single-family permits were up 7.8%. Comparatively, new construction on multifamily buildings fell 15.2% between November and December, while multifamily permits for buildings with five or more units slipped 2%. Permits for duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes dropped 11.5%.

On a regional basis, all parts of the country saw permitting activity increase except for the Northeast, where it fell some 7.2%. Though even in the Northeast, single-family permits were up on a monthly basis.

Similarly, the Northeast was the only region to see a decline in housing starts — both overall and for the single-family sector. The Midwest experienced the largest growth in housing starts, with a 32% increase.

The big picture: Demand among buyers might be cooling in the face of high home prices and a lack of inventory, but it still remains elevated compared to last year. That gives builders “strong incentive to keep building,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com.

Overall, housing starts for 2020 were up nearly 12% from 2019, in spite of the slowdown this past spring sparked by the pandemic. Builders’ optimism might be waning slightly in the face of slowing foot traffic from buyers and rising costs associated with purchasing land and materials. But the underlying need for new homes is still there, which should keep the building sector busy for some time to come.

What they’re saying: “New mortgage applications are also rising again, perhaps to get ahead of higher interest rates. Despite slow population growth, residential construction remains well-supported by (so far) record-low mortgage rates, record-lean resale listings, and the migration of teleworkers to the suburbs,” Michael Gregory, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a research note.

“Housing starts have recovered and were at their strongest pace in more than 14 years. Amazing, considering the COVID-related downturn in the spring. There aren’t enough homes in this country to go around, and we need a long-lasting surge of construction to meet demand,” said Holden Lewis, home and mortgage expert at personal-finance website NerdWallet.

Source: realtor.com

15 Cities With the Lowest Percentage of Homeowners

While homeownership has been on the rise since 2016, and early data suggests it could be surging during COVID-19, the national homeownership rate remains below peak levels and out of reach for many Americans. Prior to the pandemic, approximately 36% of households in the U.S. were renter-occupied and 64% were owner-occupied, but in certain areas renters significantly outnumber homeowners.

Continue reading “15 Cities With the Lowest Percentage of Homeowners”

United boosts onboard food service with new inflight offerings

United boosts onboard food service with new inflight offerings


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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

NBA Star Kyrie Irving Buys a House for George Floyd’s Family>

The basketball star Kyrie Irving has bought George Floyd‘s family a house.

The Brooklyn Nets guard has been a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements. Floyd died on Memorial Day after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.

Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter, Gianna, is “getting so much love from not just us, but from people all around the world who are showing support,” the former NBA player Stephen Jackson said on “The Rematch” podcast. Jackson and Floyd were childhood friends, and had remained close.

“I had a lot of my friends—Kyrie Irving bought them a house. Lil Wayne’s manager bought them a Mercedes-Benz. Barbra Streisand gave them stock in Disney.”

Irving’s publicist, Ashley Blackwood, confirmed to CNN that Irving had bought the home for Floyd’s family. She did not provide any additional details on the home or its location.

Irving “wanted to help George’s family, and I let him know that a house was what they needed at that time, and he made it happen in a heartbeat,” Jackson said in a statement obtained by CNN.

It’s not the first time Irving has become involved in a case of racial injustice. In July, he appeared in a TV special with the rapper Common, to seek action in the death of Breonna Taylor.

Taylor, another unarmed Black person, died after police officers entered her Louisville, KY, home in the middle of the night. Three officers have been fired since September in relation to the shooting, but no one has been charged in her death.

Source: realtor.com

Small Utah Home Has Hand-Built Replica Ghost Town in the Backyard

A new owner of this small house in Springville, UT, won’t have to venture far to knock back a beverage in an Old West saloon.

The 758-square-foot home on East 100 North comes complete with its own ghost town in the backyard. It’s now on the market for $349,900.

The father of the listing agent, Angie Brandt, built the ghost town over the 27 years he owned the property. She had the full scoop on how the replica of the Old West came to be, and on her dad’s role in creating this throwback town.

“[The home] was just a little old cottage built in 1947, and it had a five-bay garage storage unit in the backyard,” she says. “The garage was just plain cinderblock.”

With reclaimed barn wood and salvaged buildings that were about to be demolished, he built facades on the front of the storage unit.

Mike Patrick passed away in August, and Brandt says he would be smiling at the interest in his creation.

Saloon
Saloon

Brook Patrick

Ghost town
Ghost town

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Saloon

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Saloon

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Appliances

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The hub of the ghost town is the saloon.

There’s a player piano and pool table and a bar, Brandt explains. The refrigerator is behind wood doors, with the modern appliances hidden out of the way.

“We used it for entertaining for many, many years, and had Halloween parties and Christmas parties,” she says. “For any family get-togethers, we were always at my Dad’s to use the saloon area.”

Like any responsible saloon owner, Patrick also had sleeping spaces for anyone who wanted to stay overnight. All the furnishings are part of the sale.

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The last two bays of the garage are currently configured for woodworking or automotive restoration, two other passions of Brandt’s father.

“He was always a creative person. He could look at junk from thrift stores and he would change it into something amazing,” Brandt says.

He used his time, she says, to create fun places for people to be.

“People would come and take graduation photos or wedding photos,” she says. “He was always kind and sweet, and would allow those people to come in and just make themselves at home and pose for pictures.”

House exterior
House exterior

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Interior

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House interior

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Bathroom

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Interior

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Aside from the replica town, the main house offers two bedrooms and one bathroom.

Even though the house is small, Brandt says, her father found ways of utilizing space, with ample storage.

“He tried to retain the antique vibe and refinish the wood floors,” she says. “He has a vintage stove in there. He just tried to maintain the antique look, while upgrading.”

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The property, at a half-acre, is larger than others in the area. Brandt says its yard, with an additional lawn and a garden with an outdoor kitchen and mountain views, is very quiet and visited by deer.

“You would think that you were in the middle of nowhere,” she says, “but you’re actually right in the middle of town.”

A sale on the property is pending, and Brandt says she has high hopes for its future.

“A perfect buyer for this property would be someone that wants to enjoy what my dad created and maybe add to it,” she says.

She hopes that the buyers will call one day and report that they’ve made some new additions.

“There’s so much potential for the property,” she says. “It’s already awesome the way it is, but there’s great potential to add more.”

Ghost town
Ghost town

Brook Patrick

Ghost town
Ghost town

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Yard

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Ghost town
Ghost town

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Ghost town
Ghost town

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  • For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
  • Homes for sale in Springville, UT
  • Learn more about Springville, UT

Source: realtor.com