A Majority of Americans Say Renting is More Affordable Than Owning a Home

Jason C.
0 comments
Moving News

Is it better to rent or buy a home? It’s a simple question; however, there are many factors involved. Your situation is different from a great number of people. Income and age play a role in answering that question. Interest rates and location also play a role. Near term and long term goals have to be taken into consideration. Will you be in the area for a year or two? Or will you plant your feet for a decade or more? Numerous organizations—Freddie Mac, Forbes, and others—have studied this age-old question.

Let’s take a deeper look at the findings of Freddie Mac and Forbes.

Current Surveys and Research

Freddie Mac—otherwise known as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation—commissioned Harris Poll to conduct a survey of people in the housing market. The survey was conducted online from August 13-15, 2018. This is the second such survey that was conducted this year (the first being from January 30-February 1, 2018). This recent survey took the pulse of 4,040 people over the age of 18. It also included 1,059 renters. Let’s read some of the results.

“According to the survey, 78 percent of renters believe renting is more affordable than owning – up a stunning 11 points from just six months ago in February 2018. This is the case even as the majority of renters (66 percent) reported difficulty affording their rent at some point over the past two years. The survey found nearly 9 in 10 renters employed in the essential workforce, such as health care and education, had significant difficulty affording the rent over the past two years.”

The fact that most renters believe mortgages are most expensive shouldn’t be surprising. What is surprising, however, is the fact that this belief jumped by 11 points in the past six months! Rising interest rates may be to blame. After all, the 30 Year Mortgage Rate jumped from 3.95% in January to 4.86% in November 2018. If mortgage rates continue to rise homes will become less affordable; however, renters will feel the squeeze too.

Best Cities for Renting or Owning

There are certain areas around the United States where it’s better to rent. On the other hand, there are places where it’s better to own. Forbes took a magnifying glass to this issue and found out where these cities are.

Amy Dobson included a visualization of rent gaps in the 33 largest metropolitan statistical areas. See it below.

Amy writes, “So what does this chart mean? The numbers listed here are percentage points—so for the San Francisco example, the difference between the percentage of salary a renter would spend versus a buyer is about 45 percentage points difference. The chart shows percentages of income. Looking at San Francisco, a buyer would have to spend 79.68% of the median income on monthly housing payments whereas a renter would spend only 35.66% of median income. Of course, most people aren’t spending nearly 80% of their income on housing (let’s hope not), but the statistic is a useful way to compare rents versus mortgage payments just to see how big a jump it takes to become a homeowner in some of the largest cities in America.”

This means the cities at the top of the visualization are the ones where it’s cheaper to rent a home. The cities at the bottom of the visualization are the ones where it’s cheaper to have a mortgage.

Income Required for a Mortgage in Cities

Prices of the housing market are vastly different depending on which area of the country to you live. For example, buying homes is more expensive in San Diego than buying a home in Pittsburgh. Forbes listed in the 33 most expensive major cities for having a mortgage. Here they are in order:

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. San Jose, CA
  3. San Diego, CA
  4. Los Angeles, CA
  5. Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL
  6. Seattle, WA
  7. Riverside, CA
  8. Denver, CO
  9. Portland, OR
  10. Sacramento, CA
  11. Las Vegas, NV
  12. Boston, MA
  13. New York, NY
  14. Orlando, FL
  15. Phoenix, AZ
  16. Washington, DC
  17. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
  18. Tampa, FL
  19. Houston, TX
  20. San Antonio, TX
  21. Chicago, IL
  22. Charlotte, NC
  23. Baltimore, MD
  24. Atlanta, GA
  25. Minneapolis, MN
  26. Columbus, OH
  27. Kansas City, KS
  28. St. Louis, MO
  29. Cincinnati, OH
  30. Philadelphia, PA
  31. Cleveland, OH
  32. Pittsburgh, PA
  33. Detroit, MI

The cities listed above are in order based on mortgage cost rank. To better understand their placement, see the full visualization below. Amy also writes the chart below “shows the share of median income each city would require to buy a home. Researchers assumed a thirty-year mortgage, 3.5% down payment, 4.57% interest rate and property tax and insurance rate at 1.75% of the home’s value.”

In addition to the cost of mortgages, the chart also lists cities where it’s most expensive to rent. Los Angeles is the most expensive city to rent a home in. From the list, St. Louis is the least expensive city for renters. See more below.

Feature photo by David Jakab on Pexels

Forbes rent gaps photo and cost of mortgages photo are screenshots by RPS Relocation

Uhaul Prices Are Wildly Different Between Dallas and San Francisco

Jason C.
0 comments
Dallas, Moving News

uhaul dallas san francisco prices

Prices for the same goods and services are not normally far apart; however, prices in some areas of the country are vastly more expensive than elsewhere. Case in point: The cost of living in California is generally more than it is in Texas. This is true for home prices, child care, medical care, and even the price of renting a Uhaul.

Uhaul prices are vastly different in the two states, actually. KXAN—a Texas news outlet—wanted to dig a little deeper regarding this disparity in their article “Why it’s 4x as much to rent moving truck from CA to TX than reverse“.

Examining the Prices

You can already see from the article title that prices for Uhaul rentals are more expensive in California. Chris Davis—writer of the article—shared that KXAN used Uhaul’s online estimate tool to determine price differences between renting a vehicle from San Francisco to Austin, and back.

Chris writes, “The cost to get a 26-foot truck (enough to move a house full of stuff) to San Francisco from here is $1,150; the reverse trip costs close to four times as much, at $4,380. The cost from Los Angeles to Austin is almost five times as much.” These prices are a factor to people considering a move to Los Angeles from Austin or from Austin to Los Angeles. It’s the same factor as with people moving from San Francisco to Dallas, as shown above.

When we checked on October 29th, 2018 here’s what the prices looked like:

San Francisco to Dallas

  • 10 foot truck: $2,031.00
  • 15 foot truck: $2,138.00
  • 20 foot truck: $3,206.00
  • 26 foot truck: $4,275.00

Dallas to San Francisco

  • 10 foot truck: $974.00
  • 15 foot truck: $1,026.00
  • 20 foot truck: $1,128.00
  • 26 foot truck: $1,282.00

We were able to determine that prices for Boston, MA, which is roughly as far away from Dallas as San Francisco (Boston is 1,768 miles away vs. San Francisco at 1,732 miles away), are much cheaper. Currently a 26 foot UHaul truck from Boston to Dallas is $1,797 or $2,478 less expensive than moving to Dallas from San Francisco with the same UHaul truck.

Why is there such a difference in prices? KXAN reached out to Uhaul for an explanation. They didn’t get a breakdown; however, KXAN received an indication why there are such large price differences. Chris writes, “U-Haul did not provide anyone for an interview about the price difference but told KXAN in an emailed statement that supply and demand plays a big role in how much it costs to get from place to place.”

I suppose the question is this: Why is the demand so high for Californians to move to Texas? Texas Senator Ted Cruz thinks he has the answer.

Ted Cruz’s Theory and Migration of the California Population

Senator Cruz is currently running for reelection in Texas. His opponent, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, is advocating for policies similar to those that can be found in California. Cruz, on the other hand, wants to preserve many of the policies that Texas currently has as well as move in a more conservative direction.

Senator Cruz is “advocating for low taxes and low regulation, comparing Texas to California, when he said the Golden State is “hemorrhaging population”. It’s widely known that the cost of living is higher in California, taxes are higher, and there is more regulation on businesses and markets.

Whatever the motive for UHaul’s pricing, the official numbers do prove people are leaving from California and migrating to Texas. Chris writes, “Texas gained more than 1,000 people per day again last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics released at the end of 2017, a population gain of 1.4 percent. Most of those were what the agency calls a “natural increase” — babies being born — but 189,580 people migrated here, a total of 79,163 from other states. California, meanwhile, lost a net of 138,195 people to other states last year, though international migration still boosted the state’s overall population.”

It’s not just Texas either. When we look at UHaul prices for moving away from the bay area to cities in a similar distance away from San Francisco we see similar pricing for renting their trucks. Here are prices and distances for other cities in Mid-America roughly the same distance from San Francisco.

26 foot UHaul truck

  • Kansas City, MO (1,803 miles away): $4,277.00
  • Oklahoma City, OK (1,627 miles away): $4,100.00
  • Omaha, NE (1,665 miles away): $4,245.00
  • Minneapolis, MN (1,974 miles away): $3,671.00

Perhaps Ted Cruz is right and high taxes and a high cost of living are a couple reasons why people are moving from California to Texas and why the cost of moving via UHaul out of San Francisco is so expensive. However, the data seems to show that just like living in San Francisco, leaving it will cost you a lot, no matter when you’re going.

Have you ever rented a vehicle from Uhaul? If so, head over to our reviews page and rate them! We’re curious what you have to say.

Featured photo by Bruce Mars and highway vehicles photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels

Best Cities in the USA for Foodies to Live in

Jason C.
0 comments
Dallas, Moving News, Seattle

Some cities are better than others when it comes to food. More specifically, some cities are better for “foodies”. Foodies are those who explore new flavors and learn about different types of foods. WalletHub put together a comprehensive list of the best cities in America for foodies. They ranked the top 182 cities, to include the 150 most populous. Let’s explore some of these cities more in detail.

The Top 25 Cities

Topping the list is Portland, Oregon. Portland is well known as a “hipster haven” whose residents reach for the authentic. That includes food. Voodoo Donuts, Moonstruck Chocolates, Salt & Straw Ice Cream—theses are some of the food establishments Portland is known for.

The top 35 cities are as follows:

  1. Portland, OR
  2. San Francisco, CA
  3. Miami, FL
  4. New York, NY
  5. Los Angeles, CA
  6. Orlando, FL
  7. Las Vegas, NV
  8. Seattle, WA
  9. San Diego, CA
  10. Austin, TX
  11. Atlanta, GA
  12. Tampa, FL
  13. Chicago, IL
  14. Denver, CO
  15. Washington, DC
  16. Sacramento, CA
  17. Philadelphia, PA
  18. Houston, TX
  19. Oakland, CA
  20. Charleston, SC
  21. San Antonio, TX
  22. Cincinnati, OH
  23. Richmond, VA
  24. Milwaukee, WI
  25. Fort Lauderdale, FL
  26. Honolulu, HI
  27. Pittsburgh, PA
  28. Santa Ana, CA
  29. Albuquerque, NM
  30. St. Louis, MO
  31. Dallas, TX
  32. Rochester, NY
  33. Louisville, KY
  34. Minneapolis, MN
  35. Tucson, AZ

California and Texas: The States for Foodies

Of the 182 best cities for foodies, Califonia has 29 of them and Texas has 16. Granted, those two states are the two largest in the country, population wise. California is known for In-N-Out and avocado toast while Texas is known for Texas BBQ, Tex-Mex, chicken fried steak, and Texas chili. These famous food options are extremely simplified and one can find all types of lesser-known delights in these states and others.

While some Texans won’t be surprised at how well Austin and Houston ranked, they might be confused by Dallas ranking #31 on the list well after San Antonio and even lower than Albuquerque, NM. Ouch.

How These Cities Were Chosen

Adam McCann writes, “In order to determine the best and cheapest local foodie scenes, WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across two key dimensions, “Affordability” and “Diversity, Accessibility & Quality.”

Having these dimensions is important for a few reasons. With affordability, it was important for WalletHub that the food be accessible to the general population. For example, not everyone can afford a $100 meal, even if the taste is out of this world. Affordability doesn’t negate the lack of quality; instead, having affordable, quality food strikes a balance. The diversity of food within a city touches on the exploratory aspect of a city being known as a foodie haven.

Other Considerations

Cost of groceries, average alcohol prices, restaurants per capita, and coffee shops per capita are among additional factors that were taken into consideration.

Texas has 4 of the top 5 cities—Laredo, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Houston—for the lowest priced groceries. The other city is Knoxville, TN. For the highest-priced groceries, the cities from the list consist of New York, NY, Seattle, WA, Juneau, AK, Honolulu, HI, and Pearl City, HI.

Alcohol is cheapest in Indianapolis, IN, Detroit, MI, Toledo, OH, Milwaukee, WI, Boise City, ID, and Nampa, ID. It’s most expensive in Portland, OR, Vancouver, WA, Anchorage, AK, New York, NY, Juneau, AK, and Seattle, WA.

What’s striking here is that while Portland is number one on the list, alcohol is the most expensive in the city. Portland also has the highest number of breweries per capita which is something WalletHub also took into consideration.

Featured photo by Chan Walrus on Pexels

Map photo and best groceries photos are screenshots by RPS Relocation

Dallas City Bond Projects Map

Jason C.
0 comments
Dallas, Maps

The size of Texas is massive and the entire southeastern part rests on the Gulf of Mexico. Cities like Corpus Christi, Galveston, and Houston have felt the wrath of hurricanes. Given the central location of Dallas, one might assume flooding isn’t a major issue; however, it has been at times. To combat this, Dallas Reports detailed how the city is working on a number of flood prevention projects.

Projects in the Works

The projects are made possible from the passage of Dallas’s 2017 bond package. Specifically, these projects are covered under Proposition D. Jesus Jimenez of Dallas News writes “the city of Dallas has 84 projects in the works to improve flood protection, storm drainage, and erosion control.”

It’s important to remember that flood protection is only one aspect of minimizing potential damage to structures. Storm drainage and erosion control are equally important. For example, as an area takes on a large amount of water, there needs to be a mechanism in place for that water to be routed somewhere. Erosion control mitigates the instances of land, coastal, and construction disappearance.

Jesus Jimenez continues, “Sarah Standifer, assistant director of stormwater operations for the city of Dallas, said that while the last bond package sought to address citywide improvements, Proposition D of this bond package focuses on more neighborhood-specific improvements.” This tells me, without delving into the results of the last bond package, that citywide improvements were through to be sufficient. That’s why Dallas is now moving on to neighborhood-specific improvements. But which neighborhoods will be chosen? Let’s take a look at that next.

Dallas’ Flood Prevention Map

Google Maps has created a snapshot of areas where flood prevention projects are taking place. This map allows residents of Dallas access to track the progress of the ongoing projects.

Click on one of the blue pins to get a description of the work being done. For example, I clicked on Turnpike Distribution IV IH30-Commerce. The description says “Design and construction of connection of the improved channel in the Turnpike Distribution Center”. For another example, I clicked Teakwood Elmridge Drainage Relief. The description says “Design and construction – Replace existing system at the Teakwood and Elmridge area with a 100-year system.”

How Project Locations are Chosen

Do neighborhoods in and around Dallas get an equal amount of flood prevention aid? That’s not how it’s outlined in Proposition D. Jesus Jimenez writes “The process to identify projects funded through Proposition D included analyzing calls to 311, flood studies, community calls and emails, system inspection, and drainage master plans.”

This is the most logical way to determine which neighborhoods should get flood prevention aid. After all, places that have no history of flooding or aren’t vulnerable shouldn’t get chosen over places that have a history of flooding. Departments of the city keep records of areas that have been impacted by flooding. They use these records to determine which neighborhoods will be getting the flood prevention aid.

The decision rested with more than only what areas have flooded in the past. Jesus Jimenez continues, “Projects then went through a two-step evaluation involving technical criteria with a focus on public safety, and balancing criteria with a focus on supporting economic development and enhancing quality the of life.”

Economic development areas are just as important to keep safe as it is to keep neighborhoods safe. If business areas are wiped out, people may not be able to afford their homes; therefore, there has to be a balance between sending aid to neighborhoods and business areas.

Featured image by Pixabay on Pexels

Dallas city bonds projects map is a screenshot by RPS Relocation

Worst U.S. Cities for Fall Allergies in 2018

Jason C.
0 comments
Dallas, Moving News, Seattle

Allergies—a health condition whereby the immune system is negatively impacted by foreign particles or substances—are a public nuisance. These substances can be found in cities across the nation; however, some places have a significantly higher amount than others.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) conducted a comprehensive study to identify where allergies are the worst during the Fall season. The actually listed 100 cities, which you’ll see at the end of this article.

AAFA’s Criteria for Inclusion

How did the AAFA determine which cities made the cut, and which didn’t? They describe it in detail: “The ranking is based on analysis of data from the 100 most-populated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the contiguous 48 states. The three (3) individual factors analyzed for the 2018 rankings are: seasonal (Fall) pollen score, medication use (allergy) and number of allergy specialists. For each factor, AAFA used the most recently available calendar year data. Weights are applied to each factor; factors are not weighted equally. Total scores are calculated as a composite of all three factors.”

Tips for Allergy Prevention

The AAFA provides actionable tips which will help you avoid or reduce your allergies. The recommend wearing sunglasses outdoors, removing shoes in the home, and keeping windows closed. If you have carpeting, regular vacuuming will reduce allergens in your home. Bed sheets should also be cleaned on a regular basis.

The AAFA also recommends “CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly” products such as cleaning supplies. You can also find allergy-friendly bed mattresses and HVAC filters. The more allergy friendly products you own, the better chance you have at mitigating the presence of allergies in your home.

The Top 100 Cities with Fall Allergies

The cities below are ranked from worst to best as the “most challenging places to live with fall allergies”.

  1. McAllen, TX
  2. Louisville, KY
  3. Jackson, MS
  4. San Antonio, TX
  5. Dayton, OH
  6. Providence, RI
  7. Memphis, TN
  8. Syracuse, NY
  9. Oklahoma City, OK
  10. Toledo, OH
  11. El Paso, TX
  12. Springfield, MA
  13. Baton Rouge, LA
  14. Knoxville, TN
  15. New Orleans, LA
  16. Wichita, KS
  17. Buffalo, NY
  18. Richmond, VA
  19. Akron, OH
  20. New Haven, CT
  21. Little Rock, AR
  22. Chattanooga, TN
  23. Hartford, CT
  24. Detroit, MI
  25. Dallas, TX
  26. Birmingham, AL
  27. Philadelphia, PA
  28. Columbia, SC
  29. Columbus, OH
  30. Tulsa, OK
  31. Greenville, SC
  32. Albany, NY
  33. Grand Rapids, MI
  34. 21 Cleveland, OH
  35. Pittsburgh, PA
  36. Charleston, SC
  37. New York, NY
  38. Scranton, PA
  39. Miami, FL
  40. St. Louis, MO
  41. Bridgeport, CT
  42. Austin, TX
  43. Allentown, PA
  44. Las Vegas, NV
  45. Omaha, NE
  46. Greensboro, NC
  47. Winston-Salem, NC
  48. Augusta, GA
  49. Virginia Beach, VA
  50. Cape Coral, FL
  51. Houston, TX
  52. Jacksonville, FL
  53. Fresno, CA
  54. Tucson, AZ
  55. Madison, WI
  56. Cincinnati, OH
  57. Nashville, TN
  58. Chicago, IL
  59. Rochester, NY
  60. Riverside, CA
  61. Charlotte, NC
  62. Indianapolis, IN
  63. Orlando, FL
  64. Des Moines, IA
  65. Los Angeles, CA
  66. Modesto, CA
  67. Lakeland, FL
  68. Minneapolis, MN
  69. Harrisburg, PA
  70. Kansas City, MO
  71. Albuquerque, NM
  72. Tampa, FL
  73. Durham, NC
  74. Worcester, MA
  75. Oxnard, CA
  76. Atlanta, GA
  77. Milwaukee, WI
  78. Baltimore, MD
  79. Bakersfield, CA
  80. Phoenix, AZ
  81. Boston, MA
  82. Palm Bay, FL
  83. Washington, DC
  84. San Diego, CA
  85. Spokane, WA
  86. Stockton, CA
  87. Daytona Beach, FL
  88. Sarasota, FL
  89. Raleigh, NC
  90. Sacramento, CA
  91. Salt Lake City, UT
  92. San Francisco, CA
  93. Ogden, UT
  94. Colorado Springs, CO
  95. Seattle, WA
  96. San Jose, CA
  97. Boise, ID
  98. Portland, OR
  99. Provo, UT
  100. Denver, CO

Featured image by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels

AAFA city allergies chart photo is a screenshot by RPS Relocation

The Top 20 Cities to Move to For Startup Founders

Jason C.
0 comments
Data Visualization, Moving News

Follow the money! Venture capital investment isn’t equally dispersed; instead, large amounts of it go to a limited number of countries around the world. If you have any interest in working at an emerging firm, you’d do well to move to an area where these firms are plentiful.

Richard Florida of Business Insider reported on the flow of venture capital around the world. Specifically, he created a list of the top twenty metropolitan cities that see the most amount (in dollars) of venture capital. They are:

San Francisco
San Jose
Boston
New York
Los Angeles
San Diego
London
Washington
Beijing
Seattle
Chicago
Toronto
Austin
Shanghai
Mumbai
Paris
Bangalore
Philadelphia
Phoenix
Moscow

America in the Lead

As you can see from the map, America has the highest concentration of major venture capital investment. Richard Florida writes “the U.S. is the world’s dominant center for venture capital, accounting for nearly 70 percent (68.6 percent) of total global venture capital, followed by Asia and Europe with roughly 14 percent each (14.4 percent for Asia and 13.5 percent for Europe).”

Given our wealth as a nation, it’s not much of a surprise there are so many American cities on the list. Perhaps the most interesting is that there are two cities in India that are on the list: Bangalore and Mumbai.

Looking at the map shows there isn’t much venture capital investment in Latin America, comparatively. That also goes for Canada, Eastern Europe Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia.

Taking City Size into Consideration

There’s another way to look at the flow of venture capital. Instead of viewing the total invested in a certain area, you can look at investments on a per capita basis. The updated top twenty list is shown below:

San Jose
San Francisco
Boston
Durham
San Diego
Austin
Seattle
Washington
Jacksonville
Los Angeles
New York
Toronto
Salt Lake City
Madison
Greensboro
New Haven
Denver
Oxnard, CA
Providence, RI
Phoenix

The cities are mixed up and you see some newcomers like Phoenix, Oxnard, and Providence. As a matter of fact, most of the newcomers are more American cities. Most foreign countries have dropped out of this top twenty list entirely. As a matter of fact, only one foreign city remains on this new list: Toronto. And Toronto is close enough in proximity to New York to be considered “foreign” if we think in terms of a place as far as Beijing or Mumbai.

Richard Florida writes “Outside of the U.S., Toronto is the only metro to make the top twenty. London, which ranked 7th on overall venture investment, drops down to 39th. Beijing, which ranked ninth in overall venture investment, now drops to 55th. And Mumbai, ranked 15th overall, drops to 70th when accounting for population. Other notable metros that fall out of the top 20 are Paris (53rd), Bangalore (43rd), and Shanghai (74th).”

Looking at the map, it doesn’t appear much has changed. The “heat map” shows a greater intensity on the American west coast and a smaller intensity on the eastern coast. However, there’s one major similarity between both maps: Venture capital is flourishing in America.

Featured image by rawpixel.com on Pexels

Venture capital map photos are screenshots by RPS Relocation

The Best Places to Live in America

Jason C.
0 comments
Dallas, Moving News, Seattle

One of the reasons people relocate is to chase an opportunity. Another reason is for them is to enjoy a heightened quality of life. The better quality of life may include lower crime, increased affordability, or a larger number of amenities offered by the city or local organization. MONEY, a division of Time Magazine, put together a list of the 50 greatest places to live in America. Here are their top ten picks:

  1. Frisco, Texas
  2. Ashburn, Virginia
  3. Carmel, Indiana
  4. Ellicott City, Maryland
  5. Cary, North Carolina
  6. Franklin, Tennessee
  7. Dublin, California
  8. Highlands Ranch, Colorado
  9. Sammamish, Washington
  10. Woodbury, Minnesota

Criteria to Make the List

The list—which features cities from all over the country—is governed by nine categories. They are:

  •  Economy
  •  Cost of Living
  •  Diversity
  •  Education
  •  Income
  •  Housing
  •  Crime
  •  Amenities
  •  Ease of Living

Having this many categories allowed MONEY to conduct a comprehensive analysis in support of their findings. In addition, they write “we looked only at places with populations of 50,000 or greater. We eliminated any place that had more than double the national crime risk, less than 85% of its state’s median household income, or a lack of ethnic diversity. This gave us 583 places.” Narrowing the criteria by these small factors meant that only 8.5% of cities would be chosen.

With regards to home prices, MONEY needed to find a partner with access to a database of nation-wide prices. So they teamed up with Realtor.com. Realtor.com—an online real estate broker—was the perfect answer to MONEY’s problem. The real estate broker was able to grant access to home prices in virtually every city across the country.

There are two places I’d like to focus on due to their close proximity to the cities we serve. Frisco, TX is near Dallas and Sammamish, WA is near Seattle. Let’s start with Frisco.

The Greatest Place: Frisco, TX

There’s another bonus to talking about Frisco, TX: It ranks number one on the list! Frisco excels in every category of criteria. MONEY writes Frisco is “a sleepy bedroom community of 6,500 people as recently as 1990, the city today houses around 180,000 residents. Jobs are projected to grow by nearly 15% over the next four years, according to Moody’s Analytics, and companies from T-Mobile to Oracle have offices in the city.” Here’s what this means: People are flocking to Frisco and there’s no indication its popularity will wane anytime soon.

Frisco is also a great place for growing families. Indeed, public schools in the city have “the highest graduation rate of all the cities and towns MONEY evaluated this year.”

A Tech and Outdoors Haven: Sammamish, WA

Sammamish also ranks very highly on the list, coming in at number nine. When people think about tech companies, they think “Silicon Valley” which is located in California; however, Sammamish “attracts many of the people who work for Microsoft, Amazon, Expedia and other tech giants.” Like Silicon Valley, the home prices are relatively expensive. But here’s the good news: salaries are relatively high as well.

Culture and recreational living flourish in Sammamish. The city has fourteen parks and nature preserves which are populated by diverse wildlife. Sammamish is also home to regular concerts and exhibitions.

Take a look at other places on the list. If you’re interested in relocation anywhere, make sure you use our form to get a free moving quote.

Featured image by Pixabay on Pexels

Farmers market and bike lane photos are screenshots by RPS Relocation

Hacking for the Homeless

Jason C.
0 comments
Moving Technology

Homelessness is an unfortunate circumstance that shouldn’t be wished upon anyone. Cities, states, and countries each use different methods in the attempt to combat it. Companies and other organizations, such as volunteer or church groups, also look for ways to decrease the number of homeless. GlobalHack—a social-focused technology group—is one of these groups.

GlobalHack is headquartered in St. Louis and was founded in 2013. Their mission is to “organize events that kickstart community-focused software projects and deliver accessible computer science education opportunities for kids.” Speaking of St. Louis, St. Louis Magazine ran a story detailing GlobalHack’s recent hackathon.


GlobalHack VI

GlobalHack VI took place in October 2016. “Hackathons are events in which Red Bull–fueled programmers, designers, and other technologists are given a limited period in which to collaborate and develop software projects.” The goal of GlobalHack VI was to identify software which would improve the lives of the homeless. The winning team receives a cash prize. They win $250,000! In addition, an extra $750,000 was divided between other divisions and teams that took part in the event.

GlobalHack expected 1,500 people to attend the event. With those numbers and the experiences of those attending, it’s no surprise that corporate sponsors also wanted to be present. After all, the event was a great opportunity for companies to find potential employees.

Evolving Objectives

GlobalHack VI was geared towards helping the homeless; however, prior hackathons had different focuses. “This is GlobalHack’s second consecutive contest focused on a civic-minded project; last year’s hackathon sought ways to improve the transparency in St. Louis County’s criminal justice system. Earlier contests were aimed at building proprietary software for corporate sponsors, including LockerDome and Emerson.”

The changing goals of the hackathons are a nimble way for GlobalHack to stay most relevant. For example, one year there may be an epidemic of drugs in St. Louis. GlobalHack could, therefore, decide to hold the hackathon with the purpose of preventing drug abuse. Or let’s say that one year the city suffers a rise in gang violence. GlobalHack could make that year’s hackathon focused on combating gang violence and giving relief to those affected.


Future Hackathons

There’s no telling what social cause GlobalHack will confront next year or even further in the future; however, this year’s event has been announced: GlobalHack VII! This hackathon will focus on serving the needs of immigrants living in St. Louis. “GlobalHack – in partnership with Casa de Salud, The International Institute, The St. Louis Mosaic Project and the Immigrant Service Providers Network (ISPN), among others – will host a hackathon to reshape the experiences of foreign-born individuals and communities.”

The event will be held on Saint Louis University campus in Chaifetz Arena this October 12-14. Like prior hackathons, there will be cash prizes! This time, they will be divided between the following divisions: youth, college, and professional.

We would like to wish all teams good luck. And we would like to give a special thanks to GlobalHack as they continue to improve the lives of those living in St. Louis and surrounding areas.

Featured image by rawpixel.com on Pexels

St. Louis Magazine photos are screenshots by RPS Relocation

Living Space in New Homes has Doubled Since 1973

Jason C.
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Moving News

“The world is getting smaller” has become popular phrase due to globalization. But here’s the truth: the square footage of the world isn’t changing; however, new homes are getting bigger, at least in America.

The American Enterprise Institute recently shared some surprising information about changes in home size, square footage costs, and living space per person.

Average New Home Size

Mark J. Perry—economics professor and author of the article—writes “the median-size house has increased in size by almost 1,000 square feet, from 1,525 square feet in 1973 to 2,467 last year. In percentage terms, both the average and median size of new US houses have increased by 62% since 1973.”

Here’s what that means: if the trend were to continue, the square footage of new homes will have more than doubled within a 100-year time period! What happened to the “people today are making less than their parents did” debate? While there’s truth to that side, that fact that new homes are increasing so much in size makes it seem people today have more money.

The chart below shows the climb in square footage of new homes in 1973. Notice the dip from around 2008 until 2011. The short decline in total square footage for new homes during those years is likely to what’s now known as the Great Recession of 2008.

Cost per Square Foot

With the square footage in homes doubling since 1973, one would presume the cost per square footage is now less expensive. But that’s not the case. As a matter of fact, the price per square feet has relatively stayed the same, even considering inflation. At least the price hasn’t gone up!

Mr. Perry writes that the prices “range between about $107 and $128 per square foot at an average of about $116. The price of just more than $120 per square foot for new houses sold in 2015 was 8.5% below the peak of $131.29 (in 2015 dollars) per square foot for a new house in 2005.”

The graph below visualizes the price per square footage since 1973.

Living Space per Person

Is the average new home getting larger because more people are living under the same roof? The answer is no. As a matter of fact, people today have more square footage than they did in 1973.

Mr. Perry breaks down exactly how much more square footage each person has now, on average. He writes the “square footage of living space per person in a new US house has increased from 507 to 971 square feet using the median size house, and from 551 to 1,058 square feet using the average size house. In percentage terms, that’s a 92% increase for both the median or average house size per person.”

Final Thoughts on Living Space

Mr. Perry finishes his article on a lighter note. He explains that focusing on stagnating wages and decreasing household incomes do not paint the entire picture of our economy. Instead, he points to our overall quality of life improving since the 1970s, which is made apparent in the additional square footage we have and the price remaining about the same.

Featured photo by Sarah Jane on Pexels

American Enterprise Institute graph photos are screenshots by RPS Relocation

Excess Food Opportunities Map by the EPA

Jason C.
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Maps

What does a nation do if it has too much food? The phrase “too much food” is a bit of a misnomer. After all, too much food is actually a good thing. World hunger is alive and well. In addition, people go hungry right here in the United States due to reasons associated with poverty. This shouldn’t happen because there is an excess of food on a daily basis.

Think about restaurants that don’t sell all of their food by the end of the day. Where does that food go? Often times, it’s simply thrown out with the garbage. Other times, it’s donated. The Environmental Protection Agency has mapped out where opportunities exist to save excess food.

About the Food Opportunities Map

“The U.S. EPA Excess Food Opportunities Map supports nationwide diversion of excess food from landfills. The interactive map identifies and displays facility-specific information about potential generators and recipients of excess food in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors and also provides estimates of excess food by generator type.”

Food banks, correctional facilities, educational institutions, composting facilities—these are some of the establishments you’ll find by exploring the interactive map. A quick glance of it shows a “heat map” of where these establishments are. There are ample establishments up and down the West Coast. On the other side of the country, Florida seems to have a good amount. Elsewhere, the Upper Midwest and stretching to the Upper East Coast show numerous establishments.

Food Opportunities in Dallas

According to the EPA’s map, there are currently nine excess food opportunities in Dallas. The photo below shows the institutions are sorted by anaerobic digestion facilities, composting facilities, and food banks. Dallas has 4 anaerobic digestion facilities, 3 composting facilities, and 2 food banks. You’ll see a similar list any time you click another area on the map.

Clicking through the facility type will show you the actual facility or food bank. For example, the North Texas Food Bank is one of them. It shows the address and phone number of each facility. The amount of food received per year is even listed. The North Texas Food Bank received 26,453.44 tons of food. That can feed a lot of people!

Goals of the Food Opportunities Map

The EPA created the map in part to let establishments know where to find these facilities. The EPA wants less food to be wasted and more excess food to be donated. They say that the “map will help you learn about potential sources of excess food in your region and potential non-landfill recipients, such as composting and anaerobic digestion facilities.”

The EPA also wants to highlight the “potential infrastructure gaps for managing excess food”. Managing excess food requires logistics to get the food to a facility where it can be donated. At a larger level, the EPA perhaps wants to highlight where a facility isn’t. If there is an area with a high amount of excess food, there should be a facility such as a food bank. That way, we can put more excess food to better use.

Featured photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels

EPA food opportunities map photos are screenshots by RPS Relocation