Lots of folks are asking that question, usually in relation to the economy, the housing market or how one or both relate to them personally. Well, overall, in the 'Big Picture' sense, the economy seems, in fits and starts, to be getting better. Jobs are slowly increasing in number and first time jobless filings are dropping, although even there, this week's report showed a slight increase in filings. The stock market had been climbing and was well over the 12,000 level in the Dow until this past week. However, most analysts feel that the past week's drop was largely due to the events in Libya, and shouldn't last too long, barring a total collapse of the entire Middle East.
In housing, we're seeing a continuation of the recent rise in prices nationally. True, it's small, but it's rising. Locally, this trend has been very much one of price ranges. In cases of homes under $1 million, they definitely have been rising, with even the (dare I say it?) occasional multiple offer situation happening. From $1-2 million, it seems to be case by case and over $2 million, still very sluggish. Still, homes are selling and more people are looking, so it is not a bad idea if you're thinking of selling, to try to take advantage of the market and get moving.
Ditto if you're a buyer. As we're still a little short of inventory at all levels, if you're thinking of moving, it's better to start looking now and beat out your competition for the existing inventory or that which should come on the market as the spring progresses.
Interest rates give another reason to get into the market. The one benefit from the Libyan crisis is, believe it or not, the fact that rates have dropped below 5% again. This is because as financial situations get hairier and less certain, investors seek shelter for their funds. In this case, that means getting out
of commodities like oil and into traditional safe harbors for their money--US Treasuries. Increased buying of Treasuries pushed the yield (rate) down, and thus, mortgages drop in cost to you.
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