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Sales of Luxury Homes Soar as Low Rates, Stay-at-Home Shoppers Fuel Market

Sales of high-end homes climbed 41.5% year over year in the third quarter, according to online real estate broker Redfin (NASDAQ:RDFN), the largest year-over-year jump since at least 2013.

In a news release Monday, Redfin said that sales of luxury homes, defined as the top 5% of market values, as well as sales of second- and third-tier houses climbed year over year, while sales in the bottom two buckets fell by 4% each. The median sale price of a top-tier luxury home in the U.S. in the quarter was $862,700, up 6.5% year over year, while the median price of a house in the bottom tier was $90,000.

A for sale sign in front of a house.

Image source: Getty Images.

In a typical downturn, it is the luxury market that takes the biggest hit, but as Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather noted, “This isn’t a normal recession.” Changes in behavior driven by the coronavirus pandemic are pushing more high-end buyers into the market, while keeping first-time buyers away.

“Remote work, record-low mortgage rates, and strong stock prices during the pandemic are allowing America’s wealthy families to gobble up expensive houses with home offices and big backyards in the suburbs,” Fairweather said. “Meanwhile, scores of lower- and middle-class Americans have lost their jobs or are still renting in the city because they’re essential workers and have to commute into work, so they’re unable to reap the benefits of homeownership.”

The number of homes for sale in the luxury bracket climbed 8.4% year over year, while the inventory of homes available for sale in the bottom three tiers fell by 7.9%, 7.6%, and 4.8 %, respectively.

Houses across the spectrum are selling faster than ever, with the median days on the market falling for every price tier.

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Enthusiasts suffer cooking burnout 6 months into stay-at-home life, look for fresh ideas | Pune News

Pune: After participating in various social media challenges that gained momentum when the lockdown began, enthusiastically baking, plating and taking ‘Insta-worthy’ images, people are at their wit’s end trying to keep things interesting in the kitchen.
Six months after staying home, people are going through a cooking burnout. “I love to cook, but thinking of what to make has become frustrating of late. We’ve tried many different recipes from various cuisines — Mexican, Spanish, African, and so on, to shake things up between regular Indian home food. But even that has become boring now,” said a cooking enthusiast in the city.
Chef and restaurateur Rachel Goenka said, “It’s unfair to burden one person with deciding what to cook. We usually plan a menu in advance for the week. We think about splitting up the week into vegetarian and non-vegetarian days or deciding on what day you would like to cook certain protein. At my house, Sundays is always about biryani.”
A meal plan can also help a person alternate between carbohydrates — rice and roti. Introduce variety by adding ground oats, ragi, buckwheat, grated paneer or vegetables to the dough, the play of colours and textures could spruce up a meal.
Chef Irfan Pabaney added that sticking to a weekly meal plan takes effort. “And the family isn’t helpful at all,” he said, adding, “The key is to be fairly well-stocked so you can wing it. Challenge yourself to make three things a week that you’ve never made before. Make a heavy-ish lunch with Indian food and a lighter dinner that could be anything from a stir fry, pasta or a salad. Cold cuts, sausages and eggs help tremendously. Finish your dinner prep between 4-6 pm so that putting everything together doesn’t take time,” he said.

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Stay-at-home design: Bright gathering spaces and moody nooks for study and work

Jacquelyn Burke and Jeremiah O’Connor finished reading the Harry Potter books to their son and daughter, ages 7 and 8, during the COVID-19 shutdown this spring. The 18-month marathon took place in the tucked-away space at the top of the stairs (no, not underneath) next to the kids’ craft table. The 42-square-foot reading or “nap nook,” as the family calls it in honor of its somniferous effect, boasts a window seat made from a twin mattress wrapped in tweed, built-in bookshelves, and soot-colored shades. It’s painted in Sherwin-Williams Basil, a cozy shade of saturated green. “We’re a family of readers who love to be home,” Burke says. “It was important that the rooms be comfortable.”

Burke, an attorney who traveled frequently pre-pandemic, also wanted their Milton home to be stylish and clutter-free. She hired interior designer Sarah Scales to pull it together. Absorbing ideas from images of rooms imbued with dark, moody colors that Burke admired in British design magazines, Scales presented a concept that encapsulated it all. The gathering spaces in the core of the home would be bright and light, punctuated with brief moments of color that echo those in the retreat spaces, which are done in deeper tones. “She loved the idea of going from bright white spaces to darker adjacent rooms,” Scales says. “We repeated colors for visual connection.”

The entry and dining room are crisp and spare, but polished. “It looks elegant but not untouchable,” Burke says. That the room sits at the heart of the house is not by happenstance. “We wanted one central table, not a formal dining room off in the corner,” Burke says. By that reasoning, the couple also skipped the ubiquitous breakfast nook. Architect Diane Lim, who designed the New England-style farmhouse on a lot ceded from the property of

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