For April, 2012

Seattle-area home prices keep falling in February


Seattle-area prices were down 0.8 percent from January and 2.9 percent from a year ago, according to the closely watched Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index.

The metropolitan area, which includes King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, was one of nine of the 20 cities tracked by Case-Shiller to hit a new post-housing crisis low.

Seattle’s month-over-month and year-over-year declines fell in the middle of the pack among the 20 metropolitan areas.

Prices were up compared to a year ago in just five cities: Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix.

Some economists expect foreclosures to keep prices under pressure this year, even though they think sales of previously occupied homes will rise.

Humphries estimates that foreclosed homes made up about 20 percent of February sales. That figure has been 15 to 20 percent since late 2008, he said. In a healthy market, it’s usually less than 5 percent.



根据Freddie Mac每周利率跟踪调查数据显示,本周的30年固定利率从上周的3.98%,降为本周的3.88%。15年固定利率则从上周的3.21%,降到本周的3.11%。5年浮动从上周的2.86%,下降至本周的2.85% 。

详细历史记录请参看:Rates History

Rent vs. own: A rhetoric reality check


Deciding whether to rent or buy is challenging for many Americans now, especially those who came of age during a boom and waited for prices, interest rates and foreclosure inventory to improve, as they appear to have now. With new apartment construction going up, there are signs that rent prices could rise.

So, should you rent or buy? Ultimately, the decision hinges on:

• How long you plan to stay in one place (the longer the better if buying).

• How much you plan to put down (the more the better if buying).

• How your credit score looks (the better the better in both cases).

It also depends on your expectations for how much you ought to spend on housing and what your choice does to your overall financial picture.

Here’s what you might hear — and what to think about when you hear it.

“YOU SHOULD BUY!” arguments

Claim: Owning a home is a forced savings plan.

Claim: Owning a home is vital to the American dream!

Claim: Interest rates are shifting! You should pounce!

Claim: Owning your home is always a great investment!

Claim: Homeownership makes for better communities!

Claim: Homeowners get special tax deductions and perks!

Claim: Home prices are changing — get in while you can!

Claim: You’re making a good living and are a grown-up, so you should own.

“YOU SHOULD RENT!” arguments

Claim: You’re single.

Claim: You need your flexibility

Claim: Rent because homeownership is a conspiracy!

Claim: Renting is the only option if your credit stinks.

Claim: Renters are healthier and happier than owners

Claim: You can’t buy; you don’t have 12 months of income saved!

Claim: Renting is cheaper than owning, the best way to start out.

It’s not surprising: Owning can be stressful. However, keep in mind that most owners band together in a kind of virtual and backyard fence brotherhood, sharing tools, tips, names of handy hires, and giving each other advice — it’s a new kind of community centered on different concerns.

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