With 2010 coming to a close, the "experts" are out in full force, making predictions for next year's housing and mortgage markets on business television and in the papers.
After reaching a 3-year high just 90 days ago, the National Association of Homebuilders' Housing Market Index is now at a multi-year low after falling by almost half.
CNNMoney.com recently ran a piece titled "Where Homes Are Affordable", listing 25 communities around the U.S. in which median incomes are relatively high and median homes are relatively low. It's a housing market "bank for your buck" list.
More than 60 percent of U.S. homes are "over-assessed", says an industry trade group. It causes homeowners to pay more in property taxes than they otherwise should have to. You might be one of them. Have you considered fighting it?
California, Florida, Arizona and Georgia accounted for more than half of all bank repossessions in March 2010. It's a disproportionate distribution of foreclosures. Together, the 4 states represent just 23 percent of the overall U.S. population.
Standard & Poors released its Case-Shiller Index Wednesday. The report shows that, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, between December and January, home prices rose in more than half of the index's tracked markets. The strength of this month's Case-Shiller report, however, should be put in context.
There's just 30 days remaining to use the federal home buyer tax credit. The credit ranges up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers, and up to $6,500 for existing homeworkers who have lived in their main home for 5 of the last 8 years.
Fewer homes went under contract in January as the housing market continues to limp through the winter months. According to the National Association of RealtorsÂ®, the Pending Home Sales Index fell to its lowest level in 3 quarters this January. By contrast, in October 2009, the index had touched a 3-year high.
For as much as the foreclosure filing statistics can be astounding -- over 300,000 homes were served last month alone -- the prevalence of foreclosures depends on where you live.
A "Short Sale" is when a home seller sells his home for a lesser amount than what is owed on his mortgage, and the mortgage lender agrees to accept the lesser amount in lieu of a full payoff.
There's a lot of talk on CNBC and elsewhere about what's coming in 2010. Before you take those predictions to the bank, just remember that analysts do a much better job interpreting data from the past than projecting it into the future.
More positive signals from housing -- home values are still on the rise. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, after posting its first quarterly increase since 2007 this past September, the Home Price Index rose by another 0.6 percent in October. Prices are up in 4 of the last six months.