Square Enix Expects 80% Of Employees To Work From Home Permanently

Square Enix, the Japanese video game giant behind the Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider games, has announced that it’s making working from home permanent for the vast majority of its employees.

The new policy, which will establish remote working as a “permanent and core program”, comes into force on December 1. Square Enix says it will designate each employee as either “home based” (working an average of at least three days per week from home) or “office based” (working an average of at least three

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Coronavirus deters Thanksgiving travel plans despite cheap gas

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AAA said U.S. gas prices trending lower prior to Thanksgiving are no incentive to travel due to the risks of the new coronavirus. (Photo: File)

Gas prices are low, but AAA of Cincinnati is not promoting that as any reason to go traveling for Thanksgiving due to COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Americans avoid traveling altogether for Thanksgiving. A AAA survey indicated that 84% of Ohioans expect to stay home for Thanksgiving.

A recent TripAdvisor study revealed that about half of Americans do still plan to travel for the holiday.

Ohio and Kentucky have released travel advisory guidelines, according to an Enquirer article.

The national gas price average is at its lowest since 2015 at about $2.10 per gallon, according to a release Monday from AAA.

The average gas price around Ohio of $1.91 is about 56 cents per gallon lower than at this time

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‘We’re In A Perfect Storm’: Luxury Real Estate In Arizona Is Heating Up

With bidding wars, appraisal waivers and an influx of out-of-state buyers, demand for high-end real estate is raising the specter of an unbridled luxury market.

Amid rapidly-increasing home values, luxury real estate in Arizona is in high demand, with bidding wars, appraisal waivers and an influx of out-of-state buyers raising the specter of an unbridled luxury market, agents said.

Throughout the pandemic, the state has drawn affluent buyers from both nearby states like California and colder cities including Chicago, agents said. In September, a 17-acre estate in the Silverleaf neighborhood of Scottsdale sold for $24.1 million, notching a new record for the state. Another mansion in Paradise Valley sold for $18 million in cash earlier this month. In Phoenix alone, 371 homes priced above $1 million sold in September.

The demand comes in large part due to out-of-state buyers drawn by Arizona’s warmth and lower prices compared to coastal cities

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Another record low mortgage rate just caused mortgage demand to jump

Mortgage interest rates have set record lows more than a dozen times this year, and last week there was yet another. That caused mortgage application volume to increase 3.9% compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index.

Refinance applications led the way, climbing 5% for the week to the highest pace since last April. Volume was 79% higher than the same week one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 71.1% of total applications from 69.8% the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) decreased to a survey low of 2.92% from 2.99%, with points falling to 0.35 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment.

“Weekly mortgage rate volatility has emerged again, as markets respond to fiscal policy uncertainty and a resurgence in Covid-19

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September Home Prices Saw the Biggest Spike in 6 Years

A generic price tag cutout with dollar signs on it.

Image source: Getty Images.

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Mortgage rates keep plunging as the economy remains sluggish in the coronavirus pandemic. That’s led to an uptick in buyer demand. 

But many buyers have struggled to purchase homes, and high prices have a lot to do with that. In fact, home values rose 7% year over year in September, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index. That’s the largest annual gain since September of 2014. The result? Home prices are now almost 23% higher than when they last peaked, back in 2006. 

Limited inventory is also driving prices up

It’s not just low mortgages rates creating a surge in buyer demand. Housing inventory has also been extremely limited during the

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Euro zone house prices set for reality check as pandemic bites: ECB

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – House prices in the euro zone are in for a reality check as a pandemic-induced recession pushes more people out of work and hits household confidence, the European Central Bank said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: A euro logo sculpture stands in Frankfurt October 26, 2014. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

Residential property prices were remarkably resilient during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, rising by 5% in the first half of 2020, thanks to loan repayment moratoria and job- protection schemes put in place by governments.

But, with some of these measures expiring and economic indicators pointing downwards, the ECB said the outlook is now less rosy.

“Residential real estate price growth might face headwinds going forward as a result of a marked decline in GDP, consumer confidence and employment expectations,” the ECB said in its Financial Stability Report.

At a country level, valuations appeared most stretched in Luxembourg.

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Here’s how much power $1 has in each state

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As the coronavirus continues to affect the American economy, the value of the country’s currency has taken a hit in international markets. Even so, the U.S. dollar remains one of the most widely-traded and powerful currencies in the world. Within the United States, the purchasing power of a dollar fluctuates greatly, as the price of housing, food, products, and services vary considerably across the country. 

To shed light on these differences that reflect how far a dollar can stretch in every state, 24/7 Wall St. calculated the purchasing power of a dollar in each state using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. 

We reviewed the BEA’s estimates for regional price parity in 2018 – the most recent year for which data is available. We calculated the value of a dollar in each state by dividing 100 (which represents the base value

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Home Prices Hit a Six-Year High

Homeowners looking to sell right now have cause to celebrate. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices—newly released for September, by the S&P Dow Jones Indices—showed a continuing rise in home prices across the country. 

More specifically, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index—which encompasses all nine United States census divisions—posted a 7.0% annual gain in September, up from 5.8% in August. The indicator hasn’t hit 7% in over six years; last reaching that level in May 2014.

The new data also showed that the 10-City Composite annual increase jumped to 6.2%, up from 4.9% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite also rose, posting a 6.6% year-over-year gain, up from 5.3% in August. 

The sharp increases could simply be a correction in the wake of damage done by the Coronavirus pandemic, or they could be a harbinger of good times ahead, said Craig J. Lazzara, managing director and

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Jackson Township, N.J.: A Range of Housing With ‘Tremendous Value’

Like so many New Yorkers who have recently fled the city, Luis and Evelyn Torres had been thinking about selling their home, a condominium in Queens, but found their plans accelerated by the onslaught of the coronavirus. In May, the couple began looking at houses in New Jersey, starting in the northern part of the state and working their way south, until they landed in Jackson Township.

“When we got to Jackson, we knew, this is it,” said Mr. Torres, 50, the owner of a trucking company in Manhattan. “For what I’d pay for a house in Secaucus or Paramus, I’d get twice the size of house and two to three times the size of land here. And the commute would be just about the same.”

After losing out on several houses in Jackson to other eager buyers, the Torreses paid $695,000 for a 4,017-square-foot, five-bedroom house on 1.36 acres

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What not to say to your neighbor when approaching them about buying their home

My wife and I have the perfect home for our family of two boys, ages 10 and 12, but I know we can’t age in place in our multilevel 1950s brick ranch with stairs all over the place. I’d like to write these neighbors a tactful letter indicating my interest in buying their home. I would buy it privately, should they want to sell, based on three appraisals. I’d pay for one, they’d pay for the second, we’d share the cost of the third and then we would transact at the midpoint.

My intention would be to either rent the home, tear it down or make it into our family home. Should I move forward with this plan? And if you think it’s a good plan, what should I include in this letter?

A: Nice idea. Buy your neighbor’s house, tear it down and put up your “forever” house.

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