What the experts say
A cruel season for homebuyers
Purchasing a home this spring “promises to be the toughest for buyers in a decade,” said Laura Kusisto in The Wall Street Journal. Rising home prices and mortgage rates, combined with “inventory near 20-year lows,” are making it a distinct sellers’ market in cities across the country. “Homes are selling an average of eight days faster than last year,” according to real estate site Redfin, as buyers rush to scoop up what’s available. The shortage has caused home prices to grow at the fastest rate since mid-2014, increasing 5.9 percent in January from the previous year. “It isn’t just hot spots like Seattle and Denver that are seeing scarce supplies of homes for sale,” but also locales like Minneapolis, Cleveland, and Nashville.
City-run retirement plans nixed
The Senate just voted to kill an Obama-era Labor Department rule “that would have made it easier for major cities to launch retirement plans for workers who don’t have access to one through their job,” said Jonnelle Marte in The Washington Post. The resolution, which President Trump is expected to sign, complicates plans currently under consideration by several major cities—including New York City, Seattle, and Philadelphia—to address the retirement savings shortfall. About 55 million Americans can’t get a retirement plan through their job, according to AARP. Under city-sponsored plans, workers would have been automatically enrolled, with contributions deducted directly from their paychecks; they would also have been able to opt out. Many Republicans and business groups objected, arguing “that states and cities shouldn’t be creating retirement plans.” The Senate is now expected to take up a similar resolution affecting state-sponsored plans.
Loan forgiveness in limbo
More than 550,000 people have been promised that their federal student loans will be forgiven after 10 years of public service work, said Stacy Cowley in The New York Times. “But now, some of those workers are left to wonder if the government will hold up its end of the bargain.” A recent legal filing by the Department of Education says that approval letters sent by the loan forgiveness program’s administrator “are not binding and can be rescinded at any time.” The news comes as the first qualified workers are nearing the end of their 10-year commitment. The forgiveness program, approved by Congress in 2007, covers “a diverse group that includes public school employees, museum workers, doctors at public hospitals, and firefighters.” ■