The COVID-19 pandemic has led to Americans staying home at a rate never before seen. Time usually spent commuting or leaving the house to attend events and meet up with friends or family is now allocated to indoor living.
And for that reason alone, it appears as if the newest real estate trend involves the increasing development of larger one-bedroom apartments.
From Yahoo! Finance:
“By the third quarter of 2020, one-bedroom apartments in urban areas increased to an average 735 square feet, up from 720 square feet in March — the largest size since August 2018, when one-bedroom apartments were an average 737 square feet.
[Developers] react not by adding new product [bigger apartments] but by delaying new starts [of smaller apartments]. Buildings with particularly small apartment footprints are probably being held up [delayed by the coronavirus pandemic] more than others.”
For anybody in the real estate space, this is NOT a minor trend. The past ten years have seen the sizes of one-bedroom apartments getting smaller and smaller. Mind you, this was intentional:
“The average one-bedroom apartment size had been steadily decreasing for a decade because it actually brought in higher profits for landlords. The average one-bedroom was 758 square feet in January 2010.
Renters paid more per square foot before the pandemic, but their overall rent bill was lower, helpful for renters on a budget. Meanwhile, landlords made more money per square foot and were able to squeeze more apartments into buildings and charge a higher price per square foot.”
Why is this happening? Put simply, work-at-home employees want more space to walk around in. So long as they are going to be locked down in their homes, they don’t want to feel like as if they are trapped in a cage.
This explains why there has been a massive exodus of city dwellers towards the suburbs – cheaper home/rent prices and a larger area of land to walk around. Even when the COVID-19 pandemic is over and we return to some semblance of normality, there will be a greater number of remote workers than ever.
This leaves apartments located in the downtown areas of major cities with one simple choice: Make their tenant units larger and find a way to lower the cost. It’s either that, or they won’t have anybody returning to the city life anytime soon.
What do YOU think about this surprising real estate trend? Would you be willing to live in a city apartment if you had a lower monthly rent and a larger amount of space to explore? Reply to this newsletter and share your thoughts with us!
Some Rather Disappointing Gains in Yesterday’s Trading Session…
Wednesday saw a day of mostly flat performance in the stock market, with some notable gains being made before they started inexplicably disappearing in the last hour or so of trading.
Here are the most important numbers you need to know about yesterday’s trading session:
- Dow Jones: +0.38%
- S&P 500: +0.1%
- NASDAQ: -0.3%
- Tech stocks: -0.70% for Apple, -1.30% for Microsoft, -0.66% for Amazon
A lot of the back-and-forth performance can be explained by Trump’s video rants on Tuesday night, where he effectively refused to sign the $900 stimulus bill. He wants $2,000 for every American instead of $600, and absolutely wants most of the spending allocated towards foreign aid to be eliminated. That, and vetoing the $740 billion defense bill.
Raymond James’ managing director Edward Mills had this to say about the matter:
“President Trump’s demand for revisions to the COVID relief bill to raise the individual payment amount to $2,000 significantly raises uncertainty for the days ahead, but our base case remains that the bill passed by Congress will become law.
The bill becomes law on Jan. 3 without any action taken by the President – although a government shutdown occurs if the bill is not signed by Dec. 28.”
Once again, it appears as if the markets have now reverted back to a state of complete uncertainty. It’s crickets for now unless something explosive and unexpected happens…
Zoom’s 2021 Goal: Expanding from Videoconferencing to Calendars and Email
Zoom has made a name for itself in 2020 with the world’s increasing reliance on videoconferencing apps for communicating with one another. But seeing that competitors Microsoft and Apple have managed to do what they do – while also offering a suite of additional collaboration tools – it is time for them to expand on their offering.
According to a report released by The Information, email and calendar will be the next big targets for Zoom:
“Zoom has begun developing a web-based email service, ‘and might offer a very early version of the product to some customers next year.’ The story is attributed to ‘two people with direct knowledge of the matter’… Zoom is also ‘looking into’ building a calendar application, and is considering developing corporate directory software.”
On some level, the +367% increase in revenue last quarter isn’t enough for Zoom. They know these meteoric gains will not last in 2021 and beyond unless they start to seriously consider the multiple ways in which workers will use cloud-based technology to work together and share ideas.
Companies and teams need EVERYTHING in one suite – video, email, messaging, calendar, project management – and the one entity who can create the best package for all of these tools will be the clear winner in the tech sector.
Microsoft is already there, and Google is the king with GSuite. Time to see what Zoom has hidden up their sleeve…
In Poland, Big Tech Censorship Will Now Come With Heavy Fines…
In America, citizens are virtually powerless against Big Tech censorship. They don’t have enough power or money to sue them if wrongful action is taken against them. But it’s good to see that countries such as Poland are unwilling to bend the knee towards the tech monopolies, according to Polish news outlet Poland In:
“Under its provisions, social media services will not be allowed to remove content or block accounts if the content on them does not break Polish law. In the event of removal or blockage, a complaint can be sent to the platform, which will have 24 hours to consider it.
Within 48 hours of the decision, the user will be able to file a petition to the court for the return of access. The court will consider complaints within seven days of receipt and the entire process is to be electronic.
If the court rules in favor of the user and the internet service refuses to obey the ruling, they could be fined up to PLN 8 million (US $2.2 million) from the Office of Electronic Communications.”
And unlike America, Poland’s defamation laws are far stricter. Getting convicted of this crime leads to harsher fines and jail sentences, which goes to explain why the Polish don’t run their mouth unless they can back up their statements with concrete evidence.
What do YOU think about this new ruling from Poland? Should the same type of bill be passed in America? Reply to this newsletter and share your opinions with us!
How One Woman Lived on $60/week in New York City
CNBC writer Kathleen Elkins set herself a rather ambitious goal: Spend two months living on no more than $60/week in New York City for every single expense outside of essential fixed costs.
Which means she had to figure out a way to live like a bum while using transportation, eating out, buying groceries, and covering the costs for items such as toilet paper and laundry. She was able to do it using the following strategies:
- All drinks and food are 100% homemade – no UberEats or Postmates
- A barebones Excel spreadsheet for tracking every single expense on a daily basis
- Cut her grocery bill by 25%
- Establish a goal for savings towards a vacation, allocating every potential non-essential purchase towards her goal
- Saying NO when friends order drinks and appetizers, but without being an anti-social freak
- Walking or biking around the city instead of using a subway ($117/month)
- Going cash-only, refusing to use a credit card or other forms of digital payment
Nothing particularly surprising or fancy here – just old-school frugality and the discipline to actually stick to it. It’s an interesting experiment that shows you how living an expensive city doesn’t automatically mean you have to spend a lot.
$2,000 in Credit Card Rewards and 150,000 Points in One Year!?
Elizabeth Aldrich, contributor to The Motley Fool and travel credit card junkie, has managed to achieve the goal of every person juggling multiple credit cards simultaneously: Rack up 150,000 credit card points and gain nearly $2,000 in credit card rewards.
Here is how she managed to pull it off:
- 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points from Chase Sapphire Reserve Card: 3x the points on DoorDash and dining, along with using this card for regular spending ($0.015/point)
- 88,000 Membership Rewards points from American Express Business Gold Card: Got the sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after spending $5,000 within 90 days, and regular spending made up the remaining 38,000 points ($0.01/point when used for travel)
- 22,000 Ultimate Rewards points from Chase Freedom Unlimited Card: Spent $500 in the first 90 days to gain $200 (via a sign-up bonus), and then converted the earnings into 20,000 points
Her reasoning for choosing these three credit cards was rather straightforward… Aldrich identified the types of rewards she wanted, what her major spending categories were, and which cards best fit both outcomes.
She also recommends being even more specific with your credit card choice if you want to get exclusive deals with a specific hotel or airline.
You can take advantage of the sign-up bonuses offered by each card, but make sure each application is spaced out by 3-6 months to avoid negatively impacting your credit score.
I don’t personally use multiple credit cards myself, but for those of you who do, this case study may be helpful in deciding how you want to leverage them in 2021.