Battle Brews Over Banning Natural Gas to Homes

San Francisco

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A growing fight is unfolding across the U.S. as cities consider phasing out natural gas for home cooking and heating, citing concerns about climate change, and states push back against these bans.

Major cities including San Francisco, Seattle, Denver and New York have either enacted or proposed measures to ban or discourage the use of the fossil fuel in new homes and buildings, two years after Berkeley, Calif., passed the first such prohibition in the U.S. in 2019.

The bans in turn have led Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kansas and Louisiana to enact laws outlawing such municipal prohibitions in their states before they can spread, arguing that they are overly restrictive and costly. Ohio is considering a similar measure.

The outcome of the battle, largely among Democratic-led cities and Republican-run states, has the potential to reshape the future of the utility industry, and demand for natural gas, which the U.S. produces more of than any other country.

Proponents of phasing out natural gas say their aim is to reduce planet-warming emissions over time by fully electrifying new homes and buildings as wind and solar farms proliferate throughout the country, making the power grid cleaner.

Homes and businesses account for about 13% of the nation’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, mostly because natural gas is used in cooking, heating, and washers and dryers. Climate activists say reducing that percentage is critical for states with goals to slash carbon emissions in the coming decades.

Opponents in the gas industry counter by citing the higher costs of making many homes fully electric, and pointing to the added security of having a second home energy source to heat and cook with during extreme weather events. They also highlight the preference many home and professional chefs have for using gas-fired stoves.

New all-electric homes are cost-competitive with those that use gas in many parts of the country, but retrofits can be considerably more expensive, depending on the existing heating and cooking systems and the cost of effectively converting them. A recent study by San Francisco found that retrofitting all housing units that now use natural gas would cost between $3.4 billion and $5.9 billion, costs that would fall on residents, the city or both.

Induction ranges, which use magnets to heat pots and pans directly, can be more expensive to buy than gas ranges, especially in professional kitchens. Restaurant associations across the nation have raised concerns about going electric.

Utilities that supply both electricity and natural gas could face more muted impacts if the shift accelerates. But those that supply only natural gas face the prospect of slower growth or even a reversal of demand, especially if momentum builds to electrify both new and existing homes.

Greater reliance on electricity raises the possibility that parts of the natural-gas delivery system will become stranded assets, facilities that retire before they pay for themselves. The Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, in 2019 warned that in California, where gas utilities spend billions of dollars on their systems each year, stranded assets could complicate efforts to move away from gas by saddling customers with higher costs over time.

President Biden’s $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan calls for greater adoption of all-electric heat pumps and induction stoves, giving proponents hope that the government will do more to incentivize their adoption.

A gas flare burning in a field near Mentone, Texas
A gas flare burning in a field near Mentone, Texas, in one of several states that has enacted laws outlawing municipal prohibitions of natural gas.

Bronte Wittpenn/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Panama Bartholomy, director of the Building Decarbonization Coalition, which supports efforts to electrify buildings throughout California, said the organization is pushing for the state to cut emissions from homes and businesses by 40% by 2030, and to adopt zero-emission building codes for each within the next few years.

“All of a sudden there’s a conversation happening that wasn’t happening two years ago,” Mr. Bartholomy said. “It’s the fastest-growing trend we’ve ever seen.”

Industry pushback has been swift, with many utilities and businesses voicing opposition to local gas bans.

Arizona last year became the first state to pass pre-emptive legislation barring municipalities from banning new gas hookups. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce helped lead a coalition of businesses that pushed for the legislation, even though no bans were under consideration in the state at the time. Garrick Taylor, the chamber’s interim chief executive, said the legislation was born of concerns that bans would result in higher electricity costs and reduced energy choices for residents and businesses.

“If you see something next door in California, there’s a chance that a municipality in your state is likely going to consider it,” Mr. Taylor said.

The American Gas Association, a national lobbying group, has been pushing for state laws prohibiting local bans. President Karen Harbert said an indiscriminate approach to widespread electrification could put strain on the grid, resulting in either higher electricity prices or greater reliance on gas-fired power plants.

“You have to do the math,” she said. “We can’t just say if we electrify everything, we’re going to solve the challenge of climate change.”

State agencies in California, Colorado, Massachusetts and New York have launched efforts to assess how the role of gas utilities may change in the coming years if demand plateaus or declines. Utilities across the country are beginning to ask the same question as they consider new gas investments.

Jan Berman, director of energy strategy and innovation at PG&E Corp., which serves 16 million people in Northern and Central California, said it may eventually shrink its gas distribution system, if more homes are retrofitted to run entirely on electricity.

A geothermal installation in Otisville, N.Y.
A geothermal installation in Otisville, N.Y. in April. Geothermal heat pumps draw heat from the ground and are an alternative to natural-gas heating.

Bryan Derballa for The Wall Street Journal

“We welcome the opportunity to avoid investments in new gas assets that might later prove to be underutilized as decarbonization efforts progress here in California,” she said.

Southern California Gas Co., a unit of Sempra Energy that is the nation’s largest gas utility, opposes bans on new hookups, arguing that customers should have the right to choose. The California Public Utilities Commission recently determined that SoCalGas misused ratepayer money to advocate against such bans and other energy efficiency measures, and ordered the company to refund customers for those efforts.

SoCalGas said it appreciates the agency’s finding that no violations, fines or penalties are warranted.

SoCalGas recently set a goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045. The utility is working to expand its use of renewable natural gas made from landfill waste and green hydrogen, which is produced using electricity from renewable energy sources. CEO Scott Drury said he envisions a future where the company’s existing infrastructure is used to augment wind and solar power, especially during periods of peak demand.

“What is flowing through those pipes will be different in 2045 than it is today,” he said. “How do you take the infrastructure that’s there, and use it in the most thoughtful way as a tool to enable what we’re collectively trying to pursue?”

The post Battle Brews Over Banning Natural Gas to Homes appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Essential Ice Packs for Injuries

Ice packs are great for reducing swelling and inflammation when you're body is aching.

Ice packs are great for reducing swelling and inflammation when you’re body is aching. (Rester’s Choice/)

How many more times are you going to inadequately ice your injury with that hard bag of frozen peas or the ice cubes in the zip-lock bag? It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Even the most active of us tweak our shoulders or turn our ankles from time to time.

Get instant relief with this icy rectangle of cool. It’s suitable for use just about anywhere on an achy body.

Get instant relief with this icy rectangle of cool. It’s suitable for use just about anywhere on an achy body. (FlexiKold Gel Ice Pack /)

The unique gel on the inside of this pack actually stays colder longer than some of the others. It’s also more supple when it’s cold so you can mold it to your injured area. You can even twist it without ruining its integrity. The thick nylon has double-seaming at the sides to keep it strong. We suggest keeping it in the freezer so it’s always at the ready. It cools fully in 1-2 hours.

Heats up to 170 degrees F, so when it’s time to alternate with heat, you still don’t need another product.

Heats up to 170 degrees F, so when it’s time to alternate with heat, you still don’t need another product. (Vive Knee Ice Pack Wrap/)

They really have a leg up on their competition because this is a knee wrap and ice all in one. You knew you shouldn’t have walked down those 22 flights of stairs wearing those shoes. But you did and now it’s time to ice. Rather than getting your ice bag and the elastic wrap out, you can now get your neoprene ice pack wrap to stay in place without all the trouble. No more rotating the ice to reach the back, as this design spreads the cooling around, surrounding your knee in soothing comfort.

Use the heat to bring the blood into an area and then ice to send it away, carrying with it some of the inflammation.

Use the heat to bring the blood into an area and then ice to send it away, carrying with it some of the inflammation. (Medvice 2 Reusable Hot and Cold Ice Packs /)

Use these reusable ice packs as part of your RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, & Elevate) injury recovery regimen. Aches and pains fade away when surrounded by heat or cold. Designed not to leak, these packs are ready to use in one hour. The best feature is the sturdy wide strap that adjusts to any size from wrist to quad, that can hold both gel packs at once. Chill one for your brow for headache relief and heat the other for a few seconds in the microwave for your neck.

No matter how cold it gets, it’s still flexible to mold to your injured area.

No matter how cold it gets, it’s still flexible to mold to your injured area. (Rester’s Choice Ice Pack for Injuries/)

Divided into three sections, it’s great how the gel stays where it’s supposed to, cooling all the painful area. This is especially great for relaxing cramps or heating your back and hips. It looks tough and is durable, but it’s also soft on even your most sensitive skin. If you’ve got kids who play sports or just a weekend warrior, it’s great to have this size (11 inches by 14.5 inches) ice pack chilling in your freezer. Ice is excellent for pain relief, reducing inflammation and swelling. This specially crafted gel stays colder or warmer for a long time.

These familiar-looking packs are less fun than the frozen treat was but are a lot more useful.

These familiar-looking packs are less fun than the frozen treat was but are a lot more useful. (Gel Ice Packs for Injuries /)

Each bright blue 11-inch by 5.5-inch gel pack has fifty percent more gel than other packs. We love the extra thickness that, with its weight, provides compression to the treatment area. The added gel also means that it stays colder or hotter longer. From the freezer or the microwave, these ice packs help joints and make aches and pains feel better fast.

Best Dog Booties for Handling All Types of Activities

With the right booties on, a dog can tackle any trail.

With the right booties on, a dog can tackle any trail. ( Amazon/)

It’s great to take your pup on the road or on the run. But whatever the season, taking care of your pets’ paws is paramount. Protection from icy surfaces in the winter to blistering hot sidewalks in the summer, not to mention brick patios, and hardwood or tile floors, all make dog booties an essential.

The big opening in the center makes it easy to slip on, and the two adjustable straps secure around your pooch’s paw.

The big opening in the center makes it easy to slip on, and the two adjustable straps secure around your pooch’s paw. (QUMY Dog Boots Waterproof Shoes/)

The straps are made of reflective material, which is great on evening hikes. The waterproof and sand-proof booties have anti-slip soles. Not only do they help to keep excited pups from sliding across your floor, but they’ll protect on the shoreline, and rocky or sandy trails. Just trace your puppy’s paw and measure to ensure you’re getting the right size. Size 6 generally fits dogs who weigh 52-65 pounds. The little embroidered paw is pretty cute, too.

The material is durable and pliable, so your pet’s paws will be comfortable while staying protected.

The material is durable and pliable, so your pet’s paws will be comfortable while staying protected. (XSY&G Dog Boots, Waterproof Dog Shoes/)

The double-sided anti-skid paws keep your dog from slipping on ice and wet floors. Waterproof fabric, leather, and velcro straps sit on top of rugged and skid-proof soles. We love this style of hand-washable dog booties that protect your pup from hot pavement. Did you know when it’s 77 degrees outside, the pavement can be 125 degrees? That’s a hot dog. Reflective qualities on these leather boots make sure your dog’s paws will be easily spotted for night visibility.

Clicking toenails on the tile can make a lot of noise when you’re trying to sleep, or if your dog is a nighttime roamer.

Clicking toenails on the tile can make a lot of noise when you’re trying to sleep, or if your dog is a nighttime roamer. (EXPAWLORER Double Side Anti-Slip Dog Socks /)

This is a great six-pack of paw protection for your pup. Quiet those dog paws on your oak, maple, and especially bamboo floors with these anti-slip dog socks. No more nail scratches or noisy paws once you introduce these dog booties to your pet. These socks are soft and have both Velcro and removable button closures. Plus, the cute no-slip paw design on both sides of these dog socks makes them an attractive addition to your dog’s bootie collection.

When inclement weather hits, these booties make your canine comfortable in rain, mud, and more.

When inclement weather hits, these booties make your canine comfortable in rain, mud, and more. (PawZ Dog Boots/)

Remember seeing your grandfather wear rubber covers over his dress shoes? These booties are much the same, protecting your fur babies’ paws from sand and heat, too. The 12-pack provides a little added protection for all your ventures, and it’s nice to know these are biodegradable. The rubber booties also help to keep your pet’s feet clean, so your home stays cleaner, too.

The breathable mesh lets air in but keeps dirt out.

The breathable mesh lets air in but keeps dirt out. (RUFFWEAR, Grip Trex Outdoor Dog Boots /)

Finally, someone has crafted a hiking and trail boot for your dog. They even have a lug-style rubber outsole that is rugged, sturdy, and tough on rough terrain. The sole gives your pup some extra traction, and also bends and moves so your dog doesn’t miss a step when you’re on the trail. The nice big paw opening makes it easy to ready your canine for the track, and the hook and eye closure allows you to cinch it to the perfect fit. We also like the reflective strip so you can see your pooch’s paws at night.

Our Favorite Natural Toothpastes

Natural toothpaste can do a great job of keeping your teeth clean and your breath fresh.

Natural toothpaste can do a great job of keeping your teeth clean and your breath fresh. ( Pixabay/)

Did you know that all-natural toothpaste can be just as effective as traditional products? If you’re someone who’s looking to eliminate chemicals from your life, or you simply want to make healthy everyday choices, you might consider adding all-natural toothpaste to your oral hygiene routine. You may be surprised by what these products have to offer.

If you’re ready to make the switch or give it a try, check out our selection of top all-natural toothpastes that are sure to bring a smile.

This product also contains naturally-derived silicas to help whiten your teeth for a bright smile.

This product also contains naturally-derived silicas to help whiten your teeth for a bright smile. (Tom’s of Maine Whole Care Natural/)

With no artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors, Tom’s of Maine Whole Care Toothpaste keeps your teeth clean and protected. You can have the benefit of knowing you’re preventing cavities while supporting an environmentally responsible manufacturer like Tom’s of Maine. With these fresh ingredients, your mouth will feel clean and healthy. This naturally-flavored toothpaste has added fluoride into the mix, which some people prefer to keep in their dental regimen to help strengthen enamel.

Trusted for over 150 years and produced with sustainable practices, these people actually invented the idea of putting our toothpaste in a tube.

Trusted for over 150 years and produced with sustainable practices, these people actually invented the idea of putting our toothpaste in a tube. (Dr. Sheffield’s Certified Natural Toothpaste /)

Certified by the Natural Products Association, this toothpaste tastes great without any harmful substances. This extra-whitening toothpaste is certified natural, meaning it contains no fluoride, no synthetic agents, no sweeteners, and no artificial flavors. It’s simple and effective. Using natural herbal extracts and plant-based ingredients, your mouth will feel fresh and your teeth will look whiter, even hours after brushing.

Yes, this product actually cleans, whitens, and protects with no messy residue.

Yes, this product actually cleans, whitens, and protects with no messy residue. (Cali White Activated Charcoal & Organic Coconut Oil Teeth Whitening Toothpaste/)

Made from activated charcoal and organic coconut oil, the Cali White Black Toothpaste is fluoride-free and provides whitening and cleansing for your teeth and mouth. Plus it’s naturally flavored and has nothing artificial and no harmful chemicals. Charcoal is effective in removing pigments and stains from teeth due to its high absorbent qualities, and as a purifier charcoal also helps get rid of bacteria and toxins that lurk inside your mouth. If you’re worried about this black toothpaste staining your sink, worry no more. There’s no messy residue and it’s safe for you and your family.

Flavored with natural mint, green tea, and cardamom, it tastes even better than traditional toothpaste.

Flavored with natural mint, green tea, and cardamom, it tastes even better than traditional toothpaste. (Boka Ela Mint Natural Toothpaste/)

This product is great for users with teeth sensitivity issues. Instead of fluoride, this natural toothpaste uses nano-hydroxyapatite, a modern evolution in dentistry that helps protect enamel while reducing sensitivity. It is also 100% vegan and non-toxic, so there’s no concern about harsh chemicals. Features nHa, the mineral that makes up enamel, and is the first natural toothpaste powered by modern science to remineralize teeth. Not only does it reduce sensitivity, it also rebuilds enamel, and reverses microcavities.

This will also deep clean your teeth and gums, and fight plaque, too, with its arsenal of healthful ingredients.

This will also deep clean your teeth and gums, and fight plaque, too, with its arsenal of healthful ingredients. (Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil & Neem Toothpaste/)

With tea tree oil and neem, this toothpaste will leave your breath fresh and your mouth clean. Fight plaque build-up with this power-packed toothpaste that contains all-natural ingredients. Tea tree oil will protect your mouth with its antiseptic properties. The essential oil of wintergreen leaf will leave your breath naturally fresh. Neem is known for its cleansing properties and helps keep impurities from sticking to your teeth. It’s safe for regular use for people of all ages.

Best Backpacks for Dogs

Someone's ready for an adventure.

Someone’s ready for an adventure. ( Pixabay/)

We love our pets and we love to take them with us when we venture out. Now they can go with us on hikes and other adventures, thanks to the creation of these fun and functional packs designed with safety and comfort in mind. Here are our favorite dog backpacks.

Your pet is secured with a zipper and there’s a handy drawstring opening for your pet’s head so he can enjoy the view and the fresh air.

Your pet is secured with a zipper and there’s a handy drawstring opening for your pet’s head so he can enjoy the view and the fresh air. (YUDODO Pet Dog Sling /)

The unique design of this sling makes it easy to carry your pet upfront instead of strapped to your back. Made of high-quality leather and breathable mesh, this sling will be a winner for you and your pet. The shoulder strap is extra wide and well-padded for maximum comfort. Check the charts to get the size that will best fit your pet. Perfect for cats and any small dog, including Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Pomeranians, and more.

Made of high-quality materials designed for durability and comfort, two zippers on this pack make inserting and removing your friend more easily.

Made of high-quality materials designed for durability and comfort, two zippers on this pack make inserting and removing your friend more easily. (Pawaboo Pet Carrier Backpack/)

The Pawaboo backpack is designed to allow your pet to sit comfortably in the backpack with head, legs, and tail all out in the open. This allows your pet much freer movement than a cramped enclosure. Padded straps mean you can carry your buddy with ease. The head opening is surrounded with fabric-covered elastic to allow for movement, so your friend can easily look around. Everything about this pack is comfortable. There’s even a sponge padding between your pet’s body and yours so you won’t bump against each other while enjoying your outing together.

Extra thick padding on the back and shoulder straps provide maximum comfort for you.

Extra thick padding on the back and shoulder straps provide maximum comfort for you. (PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack /)

The perfect solution for your pet while traveling, hiking, or even the dreaded visit to the vet. The PetAmi backpack includes ventilation for maximum airflow and to allow your pet to see the surroundings. The thick and cozy sherpa-lined bedding will allow your pet to relax in comfort. Safety is a priority, so the backpack is firmly constructed and reinforced. The added safety strap and buckle will keep your pet secure from any clever escape attempts. It even has a pocket for your water bottle and a collapsible bowl to share with your pet. They’ve thought of everything. Available in nine different colors to tailor your look.

This pack is perfect for bicycling, hiking, motorcycling – the possibilities are endless.

This pack is perfect for bicycling, hiking, motorcycling – the possibilities are endless. ( K9 Sport Sack | Dog Carrier Backpack for Small and Medium Pets /)

This carrier is designed and constructed by dog lovers for dog lovers. Your pet faces forward to share your adventure with you as it unfolds. Features include a carabiner safety clip, collar enclosure, mesh venting panels, front leg openings, and upper and lower lumbar support. There’s even padding for your pet while the backpack is at rest. Developed with dog trainer and veterinarian supervision, the K9 backpack delivers on comfort and safety.

Your pet will be able to see what’s going on, have the freedom to move her legs, and you can keep track of how she’s doing on your adventure.

Your pet will be able to see what’s going on, have the freedom to move her legs, and you can keep track of how she’s doing on your adventure. (Coppthinktu Dog Carrier Backpack/)

Features include extra thick padding for the adjustable shoulder straps, the ability to carry the backpack with the straps vertical or crisscrossed, an adjustable safety hook to attach to your pet’s collar, sturdy canvas fabric, and a convenient D-shaped buckle to secure things like folding cups, pick up bags, and more. Be sure to consult the chart to order the best fit for your pet. Your pet will enjoy your trip with you, and your hands will be free for whatever you need. Just be careful when you’re eating – your pet will be right there following each bite from your plate to your mouth.

Our Favorite Cat Backpacks for Taking Your Feline Outdoors

Give your friend a look at the great outdoors.

Give your friend a look at the great outdoors. (Unsplash/)

Cats have been keeping us company for thousands of years. It’s believed they were originally domesticated in the Near East close to 10,000 years ago. Around the 1800s cats became more common home companions, both for mousing as well as for company. Over time our homes and pet accessories have evolved, but our love for our feline friends hasn’t wavered.

Why not break the monotony and give your cat a boost with a trip out of the house? Here are our favorite cat backpacks to make it a great trip.

There’s a layer of foam sponge between you and your pet so neither of you will overheat.

There’s a layer of foam sponge between you and your pet so neither of you will overheat. (Pawaboo Pet Carrier Backpack/)

This backpack is actually a front-pack, too. It snuggles your pet and lets you keep your hands free just in case someone needs some petting. This fun design allows your cat’s legs and tail to be out free, and the body of the pack cradles your pet in comfort. The shoulder pads are nice and thick for ultimate cushioning. The Velcro-like closures let you keep your pet’s head secure. Since the hardest part of using a carrier is getting your pet out, we love that you can undo the straps with one hand. It comes in four sizes and 11 colors.

It has nine ventilation holes, so fresh air circulates plentifully around the carrier.

It has nine ventilation holes, so fresh air circulates plentifully around the carrier. (Lollimeow Pet Carrier Backpack/)

We love the great ventilation in this pack. Whether you wear it on your back or front, we think you’ll find these pet carrier backpacks are purr-fect. Is your cat a window sill sitter? If so, this 16.5-inch big clear window allows you to give your cat a complete view of your surroundings. The secure backpack is waterproof and approved for use on most airlines. It’s what all the best-dressed cats are wearing on the catwalk.

Made of anti-scratch netting, and with a wide zipper, your friend can recline while still being contained and secure.

Made of anti-scratch netting, and with a wide zipper, your friend can recline while still being contained and secure. (Lollimeow Pet Carrier Backpack/)

This travel kitty condo is packed with amenities. There’s a pocket on the side for pet snacks. With lots of ventilation and a big bubbly window, your cat can have a holiday in this backpack. The little door on the side makes getting your feline in and out easy. There’s also a small opening so you can reach in and comfort your cat if he’s stressed from the travel. But the best part is the expandable back. It’s easy to clean, lightweight, and is crafted with safe materials.

The scratch and bite-resistant, eco-friendly fabric lasts for seasons.

The scratch and bite-resistant, eco-friendly fabric lasts for seasons. (halinfer Back Expandable Cat Backpack/)

This cavernous pack gives your cat enough space to move and walk around. Your cat has a little tent of its own with this carrier. Designed by a vet to help pet owners bring their small animals to the veterinarian, this bubble-front cat backpack works great for other outings, too. Your pet can enjoy the fresh air with the nine vents and two side windows. Your cat can enjoy feeling the sunshine through the big bubble window and have the security of knowing she’s right next to you with this pack’s extensive visibility. Weighing under 3 pounds, this cat pack makes it easy to take your feline along.

We love the expandable back opening for extra room and ventilation.

We love the expandable back opening for extra room and ventilation. (Pecute Pet Carrier Backpack/)

We love how easy it is to ride your bike with this cat – and small dog– with this backpack. The sturdy oxford-cloth denim design surrounds your pet in style. The backpack bottom is a plush cozy sleeping mat. The shoulder straps are wide and keep the backpack stable. If it’s your pooch you’re riding with, there’s a little head opening so your dog can peek out and enjoy the view. Or just close the mesh cover to keep your pet contained. You can even attach the sunshade to make sure your cat stays cool.

Hardest-Working Carpet Stain Removers

Kids and pets can do some serious damage to your carpets. That's why you need a good stain remover standing by.

Kids and pets can do some serious damage to your carpets. That’s why you need a good stain remover standing by. (Unsplash/)

We all love the warmth and comfort carpet adds to a room, but we hate the stains we get from everyday living. Whether from kids, drinks, dirt tracked in from the outdoors, or pet mishaps, stains can be unsightly and odorous. Here are our favorite carpet stain removers.

We appreciate how this product is chlorine-free and color safe, so the spray can safely be used around your pets and children.

We appreciate how this product is chlorine-free and color safe, so the spray can safely be used around your pets and children. (Rocco & Roxie Supply Professional Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator/)

If you have pets, accidents will happen. Be prepared to tackle even the toughest stains with this professional strength solution. This convenient spray contains natural enzymatic bacteria that feed on the ammonia crystals and organic matter to eliminate the stains as well as the stink. The enzymes are activated on contact and don’t quit until all organic matter has been eliminated.

Foaming action goes deep, and the included brush is safe for all fabrics.

Foaming action goes deep, and the included brush is safe for all fabrics. (Woolite Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner/)

Whether your stains are from spills, tracked-in dirt, or pets, this powerful foam is up to the task. Your fabrics, upholstery, and carpets will look better and last longer. Woolite serves to clean, eliminate odors, protect against future stains, and refresh your carpets. The patented odor elimination technology neutralizes even the toughest pet problems. Shipped in a convenient 4-pack, you’ll always be prepared to tackle the tough stains and refresh your carpet, upholstery, or other fabrics.

Specially designed so that your floors will feel soft and not sticky.

Specially designed so that your floors will feel soft and not sticky. (Febreze Heavy Traffic Carpet Foam/)

This spray is designed to tackle the toughest stains and odors. Pet, tobacco, and lingering cooking smells are eliminated by spraying the area, scrubbing the tough stains, and then vacuuming as normal. But the fresh, soft clean carpet not only looks and smells cleaner, it truly is cleaner. Packaged with four 22-ounce cans so you will always be ready for whatever spills or mishaps are thrown your way.

Eliminate messes from dirt, food, coffee, and even wine.

Eliminate messes from dirt, food, coffee, and even wine. (OxiClean Large Area Carpet Cleaner/)

OxiClean provides for deep cleaning action on even the toughest stains. Add this solution to any carpet cleaning machine and leave the entire surface clean, stain-free, and fresh. Be sure to vacuum the area first to remove any loose particles, and pre-treat the worst stains with OxiClean. Also, be sure to test in a small corner area for color fastness. Just follow the recommended solution-to-water ratio for your owned or rented carpet cleaning machine, and refresh the carpets and area rugs in your entire home.

The spray bottle lets you easily treat every surface, penetrating deep to lift out stains and neutralize odors.

The spray bottle lets you easily treat every surface, penetrating deep to lift out stains and neutralize odors. (Resolve Professional Strength Spot/)

The toughest of stains are eliminated in minutes with this product, even dreaded ones like tomato sauce, red wine, motor oil, coffee, and pet stains. Deep cleaning is an important step to keep stains from reappearing. Try this professional strength spot and stain remover for your tough jobs and experience the relief of restoring your room to a clean and refreshed appearance.

Going, Going, Gone! Homes Are Selling the Fastest in These Markets

Searching for a house can feel like a full-time job these days—an adrenaline-fueled, palpitation-inducing job at that. In this blink-and-you-miss-it real estate market, homes in most places are coming on and off the market at a dizzying pace, as buyers (helped by record-low interest rates) are snatching up property at an unprecedented rate.

It might seem like no matter where you look, homes are selling quicker than before the COVID-19 pandemic turned the market on its head. But, as it turns out, not all markets are turbocharged quite to the same degree.

That’s why Realtor.com® wanted to find out where buyers have to make split-second decisions—and where they have a bit more time to think about what could be the largest purchase they’ll ever make. We crunched the data to locate the metropolitan areas where homes are flying off the market at the fastest pace, as well as the ones where homes are taking the longest to sell.

Across the country, homes spent an average of about 43 days on the market in April. That’s nearly three weeks faster than the same time last year, when the reality of working from home during the pandemic began to settle in. Buyers are feeling pressured to make offers on properties they’ve toured briefly, only once, or even just online—sometimes from across the country.

“For buyers looking for a home in today’s fast-moving housing markets, it’s important to be prepared to move quickly,” says George Ratiu, senior economist at Realtor.com. “Having financing lined up, knowing the neighborhood, and sticking to their budget’s upper limit would help to make a stressful experience more manageable.”

Four of the five fastest-moving metros on our list were located in the Western U.S., as Californians who find themselves being able to work from anywhere looked for more affordable alternatives. Some parts of the Midwest and Northeast are also seeing homes move at a fast clip. That’s notable because these areas don’t usually heat up until the summer months ahead of the back-to-school season. Because of this, Realtor.com economists forecast these markets could grow even hotter in the coming months.

On the other end of the spectrum, homes are moving slower in areas that have been affected more economically by the pandemic. To be clear, these markets aren’t languishing by any means; many are taking about the same time to sell as the average home sold just a year ago. These places tend to have more inventory, and more homes for sale means buyers can be a little pickier about when they put in an offer.

“Even a slowdown in these markets comes amid an incredibly frenzied real estate market,” Ratiu says.

To come up with this list, we figured out the median number of days homes stayed on the market in April on Realtor.com. We limited our list to the 250 largest metropolitan areas and used only one metro area per state to ensure geographic diversity. Metros include the main city and surrounding towns, suburbs, and smaller urban areas.


Where homes are selling the fastest
Map of where homes are selling the fastest

Tony Frenzel for Realtor.com

1. Ogden, UT

Ogden’s historic 25th Street is magical in the winter, but nature lovers can enjoy the outdoors year-round.

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Median list price: $489,950
Median days on market in April: 8

The fastest-moving market on our list was Ogden, a mountain town less than 40 minutes north of Salt Lake City. It offers easy access to ski resorts like Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, and Nordic Valley, and has even more outdoor activities during the summer, including hiking, mountain biking, and fishing.

But it’s not just the great outdoors that’s luring out-of-state buyers from places like California and Arizona. A strong economy means it’s easier for people to find jobs and potentially relocate. The unemployment rate in the Ogden metro area was just 2.7% in March, according to the U.S. Labor Department. That’s back to what things were like before the pandemic, and significantly lower than the national rate of 6%.

While nonlocals are scooping up homes at a rapid pace, that’s not the whole picture, says Christopher Collard, a research analyst at the Utah Foundation, a nonprofit research organization based in Salt Lake City.

The number of homes available has been low since Great Recession in 2008. Meanwhile, fewer people are leaving the state, while more people are coming in, so there are more people vying for houses than ever before.

“We’ve never quite caught up with the current demand,” Collard says.

2. Manchester, NH

Median list price: $399,900
Median days on market in April: 10

The Manchester metro area has been featured in our 20 hottest markets for a few years now, thanks largely to its close proximity to scorchingly popular Boston (less than an hour away by car). Half of the homes here were sold within 10 days in April as buyers from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York flock here to find more home for their hard-earned lucre.

To put things in perspective, the median listing price of homes in the Manchester area was about $400,000 in April. While that may be a stretch for people who already live here, it’s significantly less than what you would pay in Beantown (where the median price was $699,450).

This former textile town is now home to three colleges, so there are tons of things to do downtown, including nearly 100 restaurants to choose from. There’s also plenty of outdoor activities, whether you’re hiking the trails around Lake Massabesic, or making the 150-foot climb of Rock Rimmon for panoramic views of the city.

Interested buyers can snag a four-bed, 1.5-bath updated Colonial with country club views for $414,900—if they move quickly enough.

3. Colorado Springs, CO

The Rocky Mountains are a big draw in the fast-growing suburbs of Colorado Springs, CO.

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Median list price: $494,340
Median days on market in April: 12

Located 70 miles south of Denver to the east of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs is another thriving, outdoor-centric city. This area draws nature lovers of all types and has much more affordable housing than the state’s capital (median list price: $575,000).

Besides the great outdoors, Colorado Springs is filled with craft breweries and tasting rooms as well as restaurants that cater to the area’s health-conscious lifestyle. Major employers for the area include the United States Air Force Academy, Fort Carson, and nearby Peterson Air Force Base.

Competition for well-priced homes is fierce. The typical listing lasts less than two weeks on the market, but buyers who are ready to pounce can get an adorable two-bed, two-bath historic home with mountain views for $425,000.

4. Reno, NV

Median list price: $524,500
Median days on market in April: 15

Reno is another spillover market that’s seen a lot of love over the past year or so from Californians craving more elbowroom. What once was a haven for retirees has now become an outpost for tech workers who can log in from anywhere with a good Wi-Fi connection.

Easy access to ski slopes and the serene Lake Tahoe means outdoorsy types have things to do year-round. And since it’s just a 3.5-hour drive, weekend trips back West are doable.

Homes here are about half the price they are in San Francisco (median list price: $1,061,500). The region has also seen an increase in cash sales as of late, as out-of-staters trade in their expensive Bay Area abodes for a more affordable alternative.

5. Vallejo, CA

Median list price: $545,000
Median days on market in April: 15

Realtor.com named Vallejo the hottest housing market in the country in February, and it’s been a mainstay in our top 20 markets for the past several years. Homes here aren’t affordable per se (they currently clock in way above the national median price of $375,000), but they are far less expensive than what you can get in nearby San Francisco.

Even as companies begin to bring employees back to the office, the 40-minute commute (without traffic) is manageable. For a more scenic trip, a ferry across the bay takes about an hour. Vallejo is also just 15 minutes from Napa wine country and less than three hours from Lake Tahoe, so there are plenty of potential daytrips to explore.

Rounding out the top 10 are Columbus, OH (16 days); Elkhart, IN (16 days); Austin, TX (17 days); Topeka, KS (19 days); and Rochester, NY (19 days).


Map of where homes take the longest to sell
Map of where homes take the longest to sell

Tony Frenzel for Realtor.com

1. Houma, LA

Median list price: $237,500
Median days on market in April: 79

The Houma metro area, made up of Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes in Southern Louisiana, was hit hard by the economic impacts of the pandemic. In May 2020, the unemployment rate spiked to 11.2% as big oil and gas companies along the Gulf Coast laid off workers. The area had already been recovering from 2014, when oil prices crashed and area employers cut the number of oil and gas jobs in half.

Things have come back since then, but it’s been slow-going compared with other parts of the state, says Gary Wagner, an economics professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

“They’re not really attracting a lot of new residents,” Wagner says.

To put things in perspective, there were about 8,600 oil and gas jobs at the beginning of 2015. Now there are just over 5,000, according to the latest data available. Fewer jobs mean more people are leaving the area than coming in, so there aren’t as many people vying for homes here.

Buyers interested in this area can pick up an updated three-bed, two-bath with a massive fenced-in yard for under $250,000.

2. Rochester, MN

Rochester, MN, has less of a housing shortage than other parts of the country, so homes last longer on the market.

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Median list price: $347,400
Median days on market in April: 78

Rochester has been growing steadily for the past few decades, as the area’s main employer, the Mayo Clinic, has been expanding and attracting more workers. The influx of new residents spurred builders to ramp up construction on new homes, so there isn’t as much of a shortage as we’re seeing in other parts of the country.

That’s taking some of the pressure off buyers looking to snag their dream home, but that doesn’t mean buying a home here is easy. There were 240 new homes that came to the market in April—but that’s 15% less than what we saw a year ago.

A typical home here goes for about $350,000, including this newer, recently updated home with four bedrooms and two bathrooms.

3. Miami, FL

Median list price: $417,950
Median days on market in April: 72

The eighth-largest metropolitan area, the Miami region also consists of Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, so there are lots of homes for sale here. Meanwhile, fewer international buyers have been coming here since the start of the pandemic, so the market is not seeing the same crush of buyers as normal.

But the longer time on market doesn’t mean Miami’s real estate market is struggling. There’s just more homes to choose from here, allowing buyers a bit more time to consider their options. This is due to builders steadily ramping up residential construction in Miami for the past five years, especially high-rise condos.

4. Jackson, MS

Median list price: $282,000
Median days on market in April: 71

Jackson is another area that experienced economic hardships during the pandemic. In May of last year, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (the region’s largest employer) announced it would lay off employees and freeze new hiring.

The city has also seen a big spike in crime. With 128 murders, 2020 was the deadliest year on record, making Jackson more dangerous than New Orleans and Baltimore.

That hasn’t quite hurt the housing market as homes are moving quicker than they did a year ago. Homes can easily go for under $300,000, including this classic 1950s bungalow in the artsy neighborhood of Fondren.

5. Albany, NY

The Albany metro area has experienced population loss over the past few years, so there are more homes available to choose from.

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Median list price: $368,250
Median days on market in April: 70

The Capital Region of New York has seen an outflow of residents over the years, especially as retirees move to the more tony Saratoga Springs or other retirement destinations out of state, heading south to cheaper alternatives in places like North Carolina and Florida. While Albany has seen an influx of younger buyers from other parts of the state over the past year or so since the pandemic, it’s barely enough to offset these losses.

Homes here are also older—about a third were built before 1939—so they may need more work than people are willing to put in, says David A. Banks, a visiting assistant professor in the Geography and Planning Department at the University at Albany.

“Between property taxes and low wages, I think we’re having a mismatch in the market,” Banks says.

Other metros where homes are moving slower include Bloomington, IL (70 days); Hickory, NC (70 days); Huntington, WV (69 days); Terre Haute, IN (69 days); and Salisbury, MD (68 days).

The post Going, Going, Gone! Homes Are Selling the Fastest in These Markets appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.