Some homeowners struggled to pay PACE improvement loans. The coronavirus made it harder

It wasn’t until the work was done that Marcelino and Josefina Rodriguez said they learned the truth.

They had been signed up for a roughly $45,000 PACE home improvement loan at nearly 10% interest — even though they said a woman working with the contractor told them their new roof and water heater would be free through a government program.

The Rodriguezes contacted the authorities, but the nearly $4,500 annual bill came due anyway — a financial hit for the household of four who scraped by on less than $30,000 each year as garment workers paid by the piece.

If they didn’t pay, Marcelino, 67, and Josefina, 64, could lose the Pacoima home they’ve owned since 2001, one that provided them and their sons stability after years of bouncing from rental to rental. So to get by, they started selling food and one of their sons said he exhausted his savings.

It was working — until the coronavirus slashed their incomes.

“I don’t know how we are going to pay,” Marcelino Rodriguez said in Spanish through a translator. To lose the house “would destroy me.”

As the economy struggles to recover from coronavirus-induced damage, consumer groups are raising concerns of

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Coronavirus Feeds Home Improvement Trend, Stocks to Count on

The COVID-19-induced shelter-at-home orders fuelled the need for home improvement by housebound Americans, thereby driving demand for the said industry.

The home improvement space includes Décor and indoor garden, Painting and wallpaper, Tools and hardware, Building materials, Lighting et al.  Apart from essentials, retailers in this industry are witnessing solid demand for gardening and other in-house activity-related products.

Although states are reopening and people are reporting back to work, the emergence of new cases triggers the fear of a second wave, only to remind us that the deadly virus is not going to subside anytime soon. Rather, the pandemic threat keep people confined to their homes, spurring the obvious requirement for home improvement products.

One of the leading industry players, management at Lowes disclosed that it saw very strong COVID-related demand for cleaning products along with other necessary home appliances, such as refrigerators, freezers and DIY home repair products. As customers remained in home isolation during the first quarter, they got engaged in a variety of projects that drove double-digit comps in core spring-related categories apart from paint and other critical repair plus maintenance categories.

Also tighter budgets due to the overall economic misery taught Americans to get more bang

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Mixed Outlook for Retail Building Products Amid Coronavirus

The Building Products – Retail industry comprises U.S. home improvement retailers, manufactures of industrial and construction materials and distributors of wallboard and ceilings systems. Some of the industry participants also offer products and services for home decoration, repair and remodeling, and in-home delivery and installation services.

The industry players provide a wide array of products, ranging from cement or concrete foundation materials to roofing boards and shingles. The companies also sell lumber, insulation materials, drywall, plumbing fixtures, hard-surface flooring, lawn and garden, and decor products. Some players also deal in threaded fastener products, and manufactured and natural stone tiles. The industry players cater to professional homebuilders, sub-contractors, remodelers and consumers.

Let’s take a look at the industry’s three major themes:

  • The industry’s prospects remain closely tied to U.S. housing market conditions, and repair and remodeling (R&R) activity. The bleak near-term prospects of the housing market amid coronavirus-induced high unemployment and supply-side challenges are weighing on the industry participants’ profits. Weak demand for new commercial and residential buildings is anticipated to continue affecting the product pipelines of firms in the industry. Moreover, shelter-in-place orders and other end-market restrictions have affected many industrial activities. These could continue to hurt top lines of
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Victory Gardens Are Making a Comeback Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

Right now, most of us feel like we’ve lost all sense of control. And since there’s no guarantee when life will ever feel normal again, many people are seeking their own sense of security, whether it’s through baking comfort foods (read: banana bread), trying out new craft projects, or gardening for the very first time.

Interest in gardening, in particular, has surged in recent months in part due to seasonal changes, but also because of an increasing food supply anxiety amid the coronavirus outbreak. In late March, interest in growing a garden hit an all-time high, according to Google Trends, while searches for “growing vegetables from scraps” was up 4,650% from year’s past. Nurseries, home improvement stores, and gardening centers in all parts of the country report that seeds, plants, and gardening tools are flying off the shelves. George Ball, the chairman of Burpee Seeds, told Reuters that they sold more seeds in March than any time in its 144-year history, forcing the company to hold on new orders for one week to play catch up. Even social media reflects this growing demand: As of right now, the hashtag #victorygarden has been added to more

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