The Best Towns Where You Can Find a Beach Bargin

The Best Towns Where You Can Find a Beach Bargin

If your Fourth of July beach vacation has you thinking about getting permanent digs by the ocean, you’re not alone. Four in 10 buyers of vacation homes purchase property near a beach, according to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors.

While prices in many shore communities are up, it’s still possible to find a deal on a beach house, according to a new report from RealtyTrac.

To come up with the best beach town bargains, RealtyTrac considered all cities bordering the ocean with a population of less than 50,000 and an average summer temperature of between 60 and 80 degrees. The report also looked at air quality, density of registered criminal offenders and median home prices.

Here are the Best Towns Where You Can Find a Beach Bargain.

7 Ways to Save Money (and Your Sanity) on a Kitchen Renovation

As home values continue to climb and the labor market improves, more Americans are feeling comfortable spending money to improve their homes. Consumer spending on residential remodeling increased 4 percent in the first quarter of 2016, representing the strongest quarter since the first quarter of 2014, according to MetroStudy.

Kitchens are the top home renovation project for homeowners, comprising nearly a third of the market. That makes sense, since kitchens have become multi-purpose rooms, where homeowners not only prepare food but also socialize, entertain and even work. Two-thirds of those surveyed by Houzz said that they spent three or more hours a day in their kitchen.

The average spend on a new kitchen is up 12 percent, with a major renovation averaging $26,400 to $50,700, depending on the size of the kitchen, according to Houzz.

The renovations may take a toll not only on your bank account but also on your mental health. Juggling contractors and having unfinished projects and workers in your home can make for stressful times. With proper planning, though, it doesn’t have to be that way.

America's Favorite Supermarkets Ranked

America’s top supermarket chains are busy competing with each other and with non-traditional food retailers such as farmers’ markets, online outlets and even dollar stores to claim the loyalty of everyday grocery shoppers.

They are adding new locations at a rapid rate and experimenting with new formats and private brands to defend their place in an increasingly complex and competitive market. So, which supermarket is America’s favorite?

Using company ratings from the Temkin Group, The Fiscal Times created its own ranking of America’s favorite U.S. supermarkets among the 24 largest chains.

TFT’s ranking uses Temkin Group’s experience, customer service, trust and forgiveness ratings for 2016. Temkin asked consumers to rate the success, effort and emotions associated with their experiences at each supermarket. The customer service ratings asked consumers to rate how satisfied they were with the service at each store. The forgiveness ratings asked consumers how likely they would be to forgive a company after it made a mistake. And the trust ratings asked consumers to measure how much they trust each store.

After analyzing the data, with greater weight placed on the experience and customer service ratings, one supermarket stood out above the others: Publix. The Florida-based chain has over 1,000 stores throughout the Southeast. At the other end of the spectrum, Walmart stood out for its low ratings from consumers. It seems that the mega-retailer has some work to do when it comes to customer satisfaction.

America's Favorite Car Brands Ranked

New car sales are hitting record levels thanks to cheap gas and low auto loan rates.

U.S. auto sales through June increased 1.5 percent to 8.65 million, outpacing last year’s record volume of 8.5 million sales for the same period. Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Subaru posted increases for the month, while sales were down at General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen.

As sales soar, which car brands do Americans like the most? The Fiscal Times analyzed company ratings from the Temkin Group to rank the public perception of 17 car brands.

TFT’s ranking incorporates the Temkin Group’s experience, customer service, trust and forgiveness ratings for 2016, with greater weight placed on the experience and customer service ratings.

Our analysis finds that the ultra-luxury Mercedes-Benz brand, a division of German company Daimler, tops all others, with No. 1 rankings for customer service, trust and forgiveness. Overall, foreign-made cars do quite well, claiming seven of the top 10 spots.

America's Favorite Airlines Ranked

There are many reasons Americans grumble about flying these days, from fees for checked bags and onboard snacks to cramped quarters in the economy section. Even so, some airlines must be doing better than others, right?

The Fiscal Times took a closer look by using company ratings from the Temkin Group to rank the eight largest U.S. airlines.

Apple's $14.5 Billion European Tax Mess Explained

The European Commission said Tuesday that Apple must pay Ireland $14.5 billion in back taxes, ruling that the Irish government gave the tech giant illegal state aid in the form of special tax breaks over more than 20 years. Apple will appeal the decision, which could have major repurcussions for U.S. companies doing business in Europe. Watch the video above for more about the landmark decision.