Safe Cities

Are you afraid to go out of your nest because you might get the RONA?  A recent Gallup Poll found that almost 50% of all Americans are worried about getting the damnable virus. I personally believe there are four types of folks right now: ones who have not left their humble abodes since March of 2020, those who only go out to the grocer and doctor appointments and those who go out to shop, eat but don’t travel, and those who act like nothing is going on and do whatever they want, where they want, when they want to.

WalletHub just compared more than 180 cities across 42 key indicators of safety. Their data set ranged from the number of COVID-19 cases in the past seven days per 100,000 residents, assaults per capita on individuals, to the unemployment rate and road quality. The top safest cities found were: Columbia, MD, South Burlington, VT, Plano, TX, Nashua, NH and Lewiston, ME. Salt Lake City came in 76th on their survey of 180 cities. The other interesting results found that Salt Lake City had the highest percentage of households with emergency savings at hand over all other cities.

Other findings: Fewest traffic fatalities per capita: Bismarck, ND, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Yonkers, NY and San Francisco, CA; Most traffic fatalities per capital was Little Rock, AR. Cities with most law-enforcement employees per capita are Washington, DC (more so with all the troops still stationed there), New York, NY and Chicago, IL.   Fewest law-enforcement employees per capita: Raleigh, NC, Fontana, CA and Fremont, CA. Fewest hate crimes per capita: Baltimore, MD, with most hate crimes reported in Newark, NJ.   The highest unemployment rates were in New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA and Chicago, IL with the lowest rates in Lincoln, NE, Bismarck, ND and Boise, ID.  And finally, the survey found that the cities with the lowest natural-disaster risks were Dover, DE, Brownsville, TX and Corpus Christi, TX with the highest risk cities to have a natural disaster were San Jose, CA, Huntington Beach, CA and Garden Grove, CA.  Those disasters could be earthquakes, floods, hail, hurricanes, or tornados.

After suffering through a scary earthquake in 2020 and even scarier 100MPH winds on Labor Day Weekend I think we would have been higher on the scary scale of findings! After the wind storm my wife and I had no power. I borrowed a generator from a friend which was stolen the same day. I found one to buy and that helped for the week we were out of electricity. I was able to loan the genny I bought after power was restored to the neighbors across the street who didn’t get service for three more days. That whole experience prompted us to invest in a permanent household generator that is supplied with natural gas, but if an earthquake damages the gas line-then propane. It kicks on regularly so when needed it’s ready to go. And good old Murphy will rule: now that we have it, we won’t need it!

Let Us Pray!

New year, new president, and vice president. I cannot imagine stepping into such leadership in such times as these that are so challenging for all of us. Sure, there’s a horrible pandemic and we need to cure it or get it under control, but there’s a HUGE economic problem facing us because of the effects of the virus. Hundreds of thousands of businesses have closed in the past year from coast to coast and it’s expected that numbers will be grim this year for people filing bankruptcy.

Let’s step back to January 2009, when Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States. The country had almost collapsed under the bank fraud recession that had boiled up the previous year and he had to basically rescue us from going bankrupt as a country. Working both sides of the aisle he got the biggest economic stimulus package passed and signed (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) this country had ever seen a month after he took office. By the time he left office eight years later the U.S. economy had gained 11.6 million jobs and home prices rose 20% (but the home ownership rate hit the lowest point in half a century).

So many people lost their homes during the aftermath of the Great Recession and those of us full time REALTORS became experts in short sales. In real estate a short sale is when a homeowner who’s behind in payments and facing foreclosure sells their home for less than the amount they owe on their mortgage, with the bank’s permission.  It was a total nightmare for us professionals as well as homeowners in financial distress because there was no guarantee you’d ever be able to speak to someone at the bank holding the note on the home. And when you did track a representative down, they’d be gone a week later. It became almost a science for us to get a homeowner through the process before the sheriff came knocking at their door demanding they leave because the bank had taken back the home in the formal foreclosure process. REALTORS specializing in short sales were worth their weight in gold!

There was a bad after effect once a homeowner completed a successful short sale of their property. Simply, they would have a noticeably big stain on their credit rating for a long time, which would make it impossible to buy a home again.  Time passed and several years later we saw lenders changing credit requirements and rules to bring in new customers for home mortgage loans.  A bad economy and people’s bad credit records were why home ownership hit such a low rate during Obama’s tenure in the White House. According to there were approximately 3.8 million foreclosures from 2007-2010 in this country. Biden and Harris are facing Covid-caused economic chaos as they sit in their newly sanitized offices and have plans to help us all see our way to national prosperity again. My prayers are with them.