Pandemic

76% of Homeowners Made Home Improvements During Pandemic

With many consumers spending more time indoors because of the pandemic, some homeowners have used at least a portion of that time to make improvements on their homes.

Porch, a company that connects homeowners and home improvement professionals, surveyed homeowners to gauge whether the coronavirus outbreak has stopped them from moving forward with their home improvement plans. The survey found that not only were most homeowners not deterred by the pandemic, but many have taken action because of it.

A renewed focus on home amid the pandemic

Some earlier studies have suggested that consumers may be putting off plans to buy a new house because of the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic. For current homeowners, though, renovating their homes may be an appealing alternative.

The vast majority of respondents to the Porch survey — 76% — said they have made at least one home improvement since the pandemic started.

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Despite coronavirus pandemic, consumers still turned on by big-screen TVs

Even the coronavirus pandemic cannot sate Americans’ appetite for big TVs.

During the spring as state and local regulations across the U.S. recommended people stay at home, consumers purchased televisions at levels normally seen during the holiday season.

Some used the $1,200 government stimulus payments they were sent to buy a new TV, while others took funds originally targeted for vacations. 

Sales of TVs 65 inches and larger were up 53% (in units) over the first half of 2020, according to research firm The NPD Group. Especially big sellers were TVs bigger than 65 inches, which were up 77% in April-June, compared to a year ago.

With prices on 65-inch displays dropping, NPD had expected sales to be up this year, but were forecasted as about 20% higher than a year ago. The sales surge happened despite many workers being laid off and furloughed. 

Home Theater: Here’s the most exciting

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The Pandemic Is Changing Our Financial Lives, and What to Know About Refinancing Now

Welcome to NerdWallet’s SmartMoney podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.

The pandemic is changing our financial lives and plans. Seven in 10 Americans say their household incomes have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent Harris Poll survey commissioned by NerdWallet. So it’s not surprising that most plan to take financial action after the pandemic ends, such as increasing their emergency savings and trimming nonessential spending. We’re also concerned about the home buying process. People worry whether it’s safe to tour potential homes and wonder if they could sell their existing homes. Many aren’t sure they could make mortgage payments or worry about tying up cash in a home purchase.

One of the few silver linings of the pandemic is lower interest rates, which has led to an increase in refinancing and to this week’s question from Sarah. She writes, “My husband and I … Read More

Pandemic Pits E-Commerce Giant Amazon Against Big Box Stores, Mall Outlets

For retailers, Q1 earnings might resemble a Charles Dickens novel  as a tale of two sectors: Essential and nonessential—or perhaps brick-and-mortar and e-commerce.

Companies with the goods consumers needed as they hunkered down at home are widely expected to have rung up relatively healthy sales numbers, analysts said. Those that sold discretionary items probably struggled.

And it could be better yet for those essential retailers with strong e-commerce platforms to peddle food, aseptic solutions and even lumber (home repair projects seem popular now as people can’t really go anywhere). Non-store retail sales in March, at the onset of the shutdown throughout the U.S. slipped 3.1%, according to the Commerce Department. That sounds disappointing, but not when you look at overall retail sales that month falling 8.7%, making March the worst month ever for retail sales in data going back to 1992.

As many stockpiled food and filled medicine cabinets and

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