Home Prices Still Dropping

Now, even the realtors can't put a good face on this: according to an article on CNN, the National Association of Realtors has released a new report which shows that prices are down almost 3% right across the US versus a year earlier.

Of metropolitan areas, 73 showed a depreciation in housing prices. Even though there were 71 metropolitan areas that saw an actual increase in house values, the decline was more far ranging than in the third quarter of 2006 when only 45 markets had reported drops, and 102 had reported gains.

Median home price was a clearer indicator of the overall decline in prices; about 75% of housing markets saw a drop in house values, with 8 markets actually experiencing double-digit drops in declines.

As you might expect, the NAR is putting the best face possible on the results of their survey. They insist that the worst is over. In fact, the chief economist for the NAR is expecting that the spring will show a clear indication of improvement in both sales and home values.

Don't know if I agree with that. While the winter is traditionally a slow month for sales, the data in the NAR report was comparing winter 2006 to winter 2005, and there was still a decline. Also, the housing glut is far from over, if recent news is any indicator.

We are still seeing a high number of foreclosures in the US, and more and more people are making use of bad credit mortgages. While this can be a great strategy to rebuild a bad credit score and a damaged financial situation, it can also be abused.

My eye is still fixed on the Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter. The number of defunct lenders is now 23. That's happened in just over 2 months. The author of the site is carefully following the news, and listing credible and reliable news sources.

If you are in a subprime mortgage, get out if you can. If your lender is listed in the "Ailing" Lenders on the Implode-O-Meter, you might want to get out and get a mortgage with someone else. You'll have to decide whether the cost to move is worth the stability and safety of another lender. Ideally, you would get a lower interest rate, but there are other reasons to refinance.

What happens if your lender goes bust? Your loan is "sold" to another lender. (After all, you are an asset to a company that does business in loans.) It can mean problems when you go to renew or renegotiate your mortgage.

If you are in the market for a new lender, you can always take a moment and check out a few of the sponsors for this site.

Michael Chantrel
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