In spring 2020, my mom was walking Little Ricky the corgi when she noticed a new sign in the neighborhood. A house had a "For sale by owner" sign out front. My mom (and Little Ricky) told the neighbor her pregnant daughter was looking to buy a home.
Within weeks, my husband and I were fortunate enough to sign on the house. We moved quickly when the owner mentioned plans to list it on Zillow. That was at the beginning of the great housing storm, and y'all, it's not getting any calmer.
I'm Sallee Ann, and welcome to Your Week. This edition is full of premium stories from USA TODAY on housing, money, taxes – all the good things. It's a 5-minute read. Let's get at it.
Inside the housing frenzy
Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy has been covering housing and related topics for nearly two decades. And she's never seen anything like this.
"I’ve covered zoning laws, development and various municipalities for over 17 years at Gannett. Housing booms and busts have happened before, but what’s remarkable about this period is how COVID has really laid bare the inequities and imbalance in real estate," Ramaswamy told us.
"Young people with solid jobs are struggling to buy their first homes, even with mortgage rates near historic lows. And that’s a product of a decade-long dearth in construction of middle-class homes following the housing crash in 2008. In the aftermath, builders focused on the easy money – luxury homes – and the construction of less pricey dwellings fell off."
Then COVID-19 came along, Ramaswamy said, and with it the migration of workers from cities to suburbs. Whether they wanted to avoid exposure in densely populated cities or simply had more room as adults and kids alike work from home, it all led to the same outcome.
"The result is the evaporation of any extra housing that is reasonably priced," Ramaswamy said. "It's stunning."
This week, Ramaswamy wrote about manufactured homes, previously known as "mobile" or "trailer" homes, making a big comeback with their affordable prices and increasing values.
Ramaswamy also uncovered 10 "hidden gems" of the housing market, explained what higher mortgage rates could mean for homebuyers, and created a guide for renters on what to do when hit by natural disasters, to name a few of her recent stories.
All of her work linked here is exclusive to subscribers. We thank subscribers like you for making this important coverage possible.
Tax season is here
Get those W-2s ready: The IRS starts accepting 2022 tax returns on Monday.
Did your family receive child tax credit payments last year? I teased my 15-month-old that those checks were him pulling his own weight. But hold up, baby. There are four cases where you may have to repay some or all of the money this tax season.
Don't let taxes be stressful. Sign up for our Daily Money newsletter to help you manage finances like a pro.
More of our best stories, available to subscribers like you
We asked Walmart, Amazon and others about hiring for diversity. What we found may surprise you.
Democrats put renewed focus on voting rights. What happened in 2021, and where do proposals stand now?
Pig heart transplant gives ex-con a second chance. But is it ethical?
Some parents are angry at schools. It has nothing to do with critical race theory.
Shopping for a new car? You should prepare for little selection, no negotiation.
Platonic kissing is polarizing, but not as uncommon as you might think.
That's all for this week! Thank you for reading -SA
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Your Week: Housing market frenzy, tax season