MReport January 2018

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48 | TH E M R EP O RT O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST DATA Top 10 Retirement Markets Steel City tops a new list of the best locales for retirees. See what other markets made the list. I f you're going to relocate somewhere for your golden years, where is the best loca- tion? It turns out the answer to that last question might not be what you'd expect. It might actu- ally be . . . Pittsburgh. Believe it or not, the Steel City tops Bankrate's new ranking of the best and worst cities for retire - ment, beating out Boston, Los Angeles, and Denver. Bankrate's list grades the 50 largest U.S. metro areas based on several factors: tax burdens; crime rates; living costs; weather; public transportation; cultural amenities; percentage of the population over 65; and the overall well-being of seniors (as measured by the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index). Although Pittsburgh might not be the first location that springs to mind for many retirees, it scores well where it counts. Both the cost of living and crime rates are low, health care is good, taxes and amenities are both average, and it boasts a high population of seniors over the age of 65. It loses points for subpar public trans - portation and spotty weather, but neither factor is enough to keep it out of the top slot. The full top 10 includes: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Boston, Massachusetts; Los Angeles, California; Denver, Colorado; Providence, Rhode Island; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Tampa- St. Petersburg, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Dallas, Texas. Another factor to consider is just how far your money will stretch. Even if you manage to set aside that million-dollar nest egg the AARP recommends, you're going to need to know where that money will last the longest. According to research conducted by GOBankingRates, $1 million would last 26 years and 4 months in Mississippi, but that same amount of money would only last 11 years and 11 months in Hawaii. Those figures were calculated by totaling the average expenditures for people 65 and older, which includes groceries, housing, utili - ties, transportation, and healthcare, and then multiplying that by the cost of living index in each state to find the average expenditure cost for each state. So how does Bankrate's top-rated retirement location of Pittsburgh fare when com- pared to GOBanking's re- search? Pittsburgh's home state of Pennsylvania wound up at number six on GOBanking's 2016 list of the best states to retire in, owing to low housing costs and high per-capita Medicare spending offsetting health insurance costs. Are Pending Home Sales on the Rebound? The National Association of Realtors reported a rise in pending home sales, but year-over-year values experienced different results. T he National Associa- tion of Realtors (NAR) released its latest Pend- ing Home Sales Index (PHSI) for, reporting the first rebound after three consecutive months of reduced activity. The index, based on contract signings, rose 3.5 percent to 109.3 in October from 105.6 in September, making October the highest reading since June 2017. However, the index is still slightly below last year's data by 0.6 percent. NAR's Chief Economist Lawrence Yun at - tributes this to the supply and affordability challenges the market experienced most of the year. "Although homebuilders are doing their best to ramp up production of single-family homes amidst ongoing labor and cost challenges, overall activity still drastically lags demand," Yun said. Annually, existing inventory has decreased every month for 29 months straight, and the number of homes for sale at the end of October was the lowest for the month since 1991. "Until new home construction climbs even higher and more in - vestors and homeowners put their home on the market, sales will continue to severely trail underly- ing demand," Yun said. In October, pending sales were driven higher by the South, which experienced a rebound despite hurricane-related disruptions in September, although the bounce back wasn't enough to impact the year-over-year decrease. "Last month's solid increase in contract signings were still not enough to keep activity from declining on an annual basis for the sixth time in seven months," Yun said. "Home shoppers had better luck finding a home to buy in October, but slim pickings and consistently fast price gains continue to frustrate and prevent too many would-be buyers from reaching the market." Regionally, the PHSI in the South increased 7.4 percent to an index of 123.6 in October and is currently 2 percent higher than this time last year. In addition, the index in the West declined by 0.7 percent in October to 101.6 and is now 4.4 percent below 2016. Pending home sales in the Northeast rose slightly by 0.5 percent to 95.0 in October but is 1.9 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index increased 2.8 percent to 105.8 in October but remains 0.9 percent lower than last year. As 2017 comes to a close, NAR forecasts existing-home sales to fin - ish at about 5.52 million—represent- ing an increase of 1.3 percent from 2016 to 5.45 million. Meanwhile, the national median existing- home price for 2017 is predicted to increase by about 6 percent.

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