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Economy

"Unsustainable" price rises won’t be sustained

Home prices can’t keep rising this quickly forever. That’s what Realtor magazine is reporting that CNBC is reporting that NAR has said. (I know, right?)

Here’s the deal: In May, NAR reported that home prices were up 15.4 percent from the year before. And that marked six months of those kind of double-digit price jumps. Said NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun, "[I]t cannot continue."

Mortgage rates drop slightly

Mortgage rates plummeted last week… er, sorry. I mean "mortgage rates dropped slightly last week." Either way, average mortgage rates in the country were down a bit — the first drop in six weeks.

30-year fixed went from 3.98 percent to 3.93 percent (with 0.8 point; I’m still trying to find out how typical 0.8 point is.)

15-year fixed went from 3.10 percent to 3.04 percent (with an average 0.7 point).

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Consumer confidence rising

FannieMae reported that “American’s confidence in their ability to buy and sell their home climbed sharply in May, “according to their Monthly National Housing Survey.  The large boost in pace of residential sales from April to May, according to the Virginia Home Sales Report, suggests that Virginians are equally confident.  The latest Virginia unemployment rate is 5.2%, much lower than the US rate which was at 7.6% last month.  In fact, the Virginia rate

Is there a new housing bubble forming?

Once upon a time there were two shamans in a tribe. They both tried to predict how bad the upcoming winter would be. One threw rabbit bones and predicted a harsh winter. The other threw squirrel bones and predicted a mild winter.

The winter was mild, thus proving that throwing squirrel bones was a more accurate way of predicting the weather.

In an unrelated note, there is some speculation that we might be starting to inflate a new housing bubble, as prices are rising more quickly than is typical.

So, are we? Is there a bubble growing?

Buy a greener home, qualify for a better mortgage?

There are a handful of tax breaks for homeowners who improve the energy efficiency of their homes — essentially, the government reduces your taxes if you make your house greener.

Now a bill introduced in the Senate by senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) would give a different kind of incentive — it would require lenders to take into account the energy-efficient features of a home when calculating a borrower’s income/expense ratio.

Government will subsidize flood insurance for another year

The National Flood Insurance Program was in the black until Hurricane Katrina; since then it’s been in debt to the tune of about $20 billion. (Which, of course, illustrates why it’s a government program and not offered by private insurers.)

So in 2012 Congress reformed the program to try to keep it from bleeding money.

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