$200 BONUS FROM KEYBANK: KeyBank is offering a $200 checking bonus to new customers. You’ll need to enter the code MASC0713 and you’ll probably want to see the terms of the deal over at Hustler Money Blog. You’ll need to be a resident of AK, CO, CT, ID, IN, KY, ME, MI, NY, OH, OR, UT, VT, or WA.
RIP, $500 GIFT CARDS AT OFFICE DEPOT: By all accounts, that deal is dead. Requiescat in pace. Over at TPG, Jason Steele has a good rundown of some manufactured spend options.
AVERAGE NYC RENT PASSES $3K: Once again, I have to wonder how the heck people live in New York:
The average monthly apartment rent in the city has soared past $3,000 for the first time, and the scarcity of housing is driving home hunters out to suddenly pricey Brooklyn and Queens, new reports on the super-tight market show.
In contrast, the average national apartment rent is $1,062, a little more than one-third the average city rent of $3,017 excluding Staten Island, according to Reis Inc., a real-estate research firm.
Second-place San Francisco isn’t even close, at a mere $1,998.82 a month.
Residents who feel priced out of Manhattan may soon be priced out of the five boroughs altogether.
Median sales prices for Brooklyn homes rose 15.3 percent in the past year — to $550,000, a 10-year high, according to a new Douglas Elliman market report.
In Queens, the inventory of homes for sale is at an eight-year low, and the median price jumped 9.9 percent to $390,000.
I get that the city has a lot to offer, but I still don’t understand the attraction of sacrificing so much to live there. Do any of you reading this live in NYC? Or do you all dwell in $50,000 houses somewhere in the Midwest where the livin’ is cheap?
TRANSPARENT HOSPITAL PRICING: A hospital on Oklahoma decided to post surgery prices online. What do you suppose happened? This:
“When we first started we thought we were about half the price of the hospitals,” Dr. Lantier remembers. “Then we found out we’re less than half price. Then we find out we’re a sixth to an eighth of what their prices are. I can’t believe the average person can afford health care at these prices.”
Their goal was to start a price war and they did.
Their first out-of-town patients came from Canada; soon everyday Americans caught on.
Matthew Gang, 22, tore his patella tendon, dislocating his knee-cap playing basketball earlier this year.
Gang is from California and he is uninsured.
Surgery in his home-state was going to be about $30,000.
The posted price at Surgery Center of Oklahoma was $5,700, one-fifth the price.
Matthew and his father Tom Gang flew from California to Oklahoma for surgery.
How do they stack up vs the local competition?
- Mercy Hospital charged $16, 244 for a breast biopsy; the procedure will cost $3,500 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.
- OU Medical Center billed $20,456 for the open repair of a fracture; the procedure will cost $4,855 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.
- OU Medical Center billed $21,556 for a gall bladder removal surgery; the procedure will cost $5,865 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.
- OU Medical Center billed $23,934 for an ankle arthroscopy; the procedure will cost $3,740 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.
- Integris Baptist billed $37,174 for a hysterectomy; the surgery costs $8,000 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.
Domestic medical tourism: the Next Big Thing?
PARTY LIKE IT’S 2007: Remember the Las Vegas housing bubble? It’s back, baby!:
Many builders are raising prices for homes on their existing lots. Increasingly, buyers must join wait lists or enter lotteries for the chance to bid on new homes. At a development called Villa Trieste, Pulte HomesPHM +7.20% is selling new Tuscan-style two-bedrooms starting at $261,000. A year ago, comparable newly built homes sold for $190,000 and previously owned homes sold for around $160,000. A spokeswoman for Pulte says it has been able to raise prices due to less competition from foreclosures and low interest rates.
The number of available homes has plunged here after a sweeping state law subjected lenders to stiff new foreclosure rules and penalties. With banks exercising caution, many homeowners—including those seriously delinquent on their loans—have been allowed to remain in place. As a result, there is little on the market at a time when first-time buyers and real-estate speculators are anxious to tap both cheap prices and low-interest mortgages.
What happened in Vegas has stayed in Vegas, unfortunately.
THE LONELIEST ROAD IN AMERICA?: And speaking of Nevada, Ric at Loyalty Traveler has a recap of his journey through Nevada’s Route 50, a.k.a the Loneliest Road in America. If you have ten minutes to spare, you may be interested in this time-lapse video of the route.
ACTUALLY, THIS ROAD IS EVEN LONELIER: The New Yorker has a fun article on Desert Bus, also known as the worst video game ever created:
The drive from Tucson, Arizona, to Las Vegas, Nevada, takes approximately eight hours when travelling in a vehicle whose top speed is forty-five miles per hour. In Desert Bus, an unreleased video game from 1995 conceived by the American illusionists and entertainers Penn Jillette and Teller, players must complete that journey in real time. Finishing a single leg of the trip requires considerable stamina and concentration in the face of arch boredom: the vehicle constantly lists to the right, so players cannot take their hands off the virtual wheel; swerving from the road will cause the bus’s engine to stall, forcing the player to be towed back to the beginning. The game cannot be paused. The bus carries no virtual passengers to add human interest, and there is no traffic to negotiate. The only scenery is the odd sand-pocked rock or road sign. Players earn a single point for each eight-hour trip completed between the two cities, making a Desert Bus high score perhaps the most costly in gaming.
The weekend is here, and now you’ve got something to fill it with. Enjoy!