Each week, I receive dozens of letters from readers. The vast majority of them are in trouble financially, mostly because they've lost their job and can't pay their bills.
I get the sense from reading these e-mails that each of these homeowners wishes desperately he or she could rely on a paycheck each week. The anguish comes through as they describe their dearest wish: to get caught up with their mortgage payments and continue living their lives.
As we pick through the rubble of this recession, it's easy to stumble on the idea that it's over and done with. The big banks on
The stock market reached 10,000 in mid-October, up more 50 percent from the low in early March. It's less frightening to see stock market down 25 percent from its all-time high than down 47 percent.
But then there are the persistent monthly job losses that make me wonder how those who are unemployed or underemployed and are behind in their mortgages will make up the difference.
Although net job losses were slightly down (in a recent week), more than 200,000 jobs are still being lost in this country every month. It's a crazy number, and it is profoundly affecting the real estate market.
It's easy to see why RealtyTrac's
The national unemployment rate is expected to rise above 10 percent and then stay above 9 percent for a while. But in plenty of cities and states, the official unemployment rate passed 10 percent a long time ago. The unofficial rate of unemployment is far higher.
When it comes to foreclosure, the problem isn't just the 7.2 million jobs that have been lost during this great recession. There are millions of Americans who took a huge pay cut to keep their companies going. Unpaid furloughs and 10 to 25 percent pay cuts mean tens of millions of Americans are having a much harder time paying their bills -- and their mortgages are at risk as well.
It's unlikely their employers will automatically bump their salaries back to where they were before the collapse of the economy. So, they'll have less to spend going forward.
On the expense side, this week's news is about how consumer prices rose more than expected last month, and about how milk prices are about to soar. We're paying
You'd think a few pennies here or there wouldn't matter much -- but they do to most Americans.
The hangover from this recession isn't going away any time soon.
In the more than three years since the housing bubble popped, American real estate prices have declined at a historic clip. The national median price of an existing home has dropped to $177,700. That's 21 percent below the level in August 2006. To get a sense of how far your real estate dollar will stretch in different parts of the country today, here is a look at homes listed in the $177,700 range in 10 distinct U.S. cities
Senate negotiators announced during the last week of October that they had come to an agreement on extending and slightly expanding the extremely popular $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit. The existing $8,000 credit will be extended until June 30, 2010, for contracts that are finalized by April 30
You May Qualify for a Homebuyer Tax Credit
Millions of additional people may be able to take advantage of the new and improved first-time homebuyer tax credit now, and it's not just for first-time homebuyers anymore. You may qualify
Mortgage servicers -- companies that collect monthly mortgage payments and distribute them to investors -- have found it's cheaper to foreclose on homeowners than to offer loan modifications that would benefit homeowners and investors
(c) 2009 Ilyce Glink, Real Estate Matters
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