October 2, 2009

The cost of a four-bedroom house -- across the country

Home prices vary a lot across Maryland, and that's just one state. Compare the whole country, and the swings are enormous.

That's what Coldwell Banker Real Estate did recently -- compare prices across the country for a "move-up" house: single-family with four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and about 2,200 square feet of space total, "in neighborhoods/zip codes within a market that is typical for corporate middle-management transferees."

The company, which crunched numbers for 310 housing markets in the country, said the average was just under $364,000.

The average in Baltimore, Coldwell Banker said, was about $381,000. It didn't specify whether it meant just the city, but I'm guessing so because it also included Towson on the list (at just under $382,000).

Towson and Baltimore were 83rd and 84th, respectively. No. 1: La Jolla, Calif., with an average move-up price of $2.1 million. Least pricey was Grayling, Mich., where you can have that 2,200-square-foot house for under $113,000. (Michigan has the country's highest unemployment rate, so make sure you can find a job there before you go rushing west for a cheap home.)

Continue reading "The cost of a four-bedroom house -- across the country" »

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Cost of living

July 14, 2009

BGE's "smart" meter plan

Looking for a way to cut down on your energy bill? BGE has a suggestion: It wants to hand out devices, including energy meters, that will "inform consumers when they could gain the most by conserving electricity and gas," as Liz Kay reports today.

There's debate about how much this will really help customers, since the devices aren't free. You can read more about that in today's story. But here's what BGE is saying:

Under the proposal, smart meter rates would go into effect in 2012, and BGE customers would earn rebates by choosing to conserve energy during the peak hours of 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on specific critical use days, such as high heat days. BGE said even those who didn't cut peak usage would benefit from lower prices as a result of reduced overall demand.

Have you been trying to reduce your bill by dialing back the air conditioner or leaving it off entirely at certain times of the day? Or have you found other ways to cut energy costs? Do share.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 9:01 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Cost of living
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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
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