Real estate investment trusts, or REITs for short, are investment vehicles used by businesses and individuals to invest in a diversified group of real estate assets. The investment vehicle is similar to more well-known investment options known as mutual funds. In simple terms, REITs are the mutual funds of real estate and can therefore give us a good sense of the trend in home prices and mortgages. (more…)
We all knows that banks have been giving out loans much slower in the last few years than they have before. But have we considered the domino effect of this slowdown, other than the obvious? (more…)
It is starting to look more and more like the housing market is bottoming in many areas. As part of our continuous tracking of the housing and mortgage market, we look at three important measures of the health of a given area’s real estate market (more…)
In the mid-2000s we saw what some might call the golden age of housing. In some places, such as coastline states like California or Florida, home prices appreciated as much as 30% in one year. In other areas of the nation, such as Texas and other natural resource rich states, home prices did not experience the steep run-up like California, but instead experienced steady home price appreciation with little home price depreciation when the housing market dropped. (more…)
What Modern Americans Can Learn from the Greatest Generation
In Part 1 of this series we suggested you examine your definition of wealth and in Part 2 we looked at how the American idea of wealth is changing as we speak. In this final part, we will examine what modern Americans can learn about personal finance from those who survived the Great Depression. (more…)
Examining the Wealth Paradigm Shift
In the first portion of our three part series, we discussed how to define your own personal version of what being wealthy truly means. We looked at James and how he lost everything but found his own personal way to live a wealthy life. In this article, we look at how the American idea of wealth is changing before our eyes. Just like after the Great Depression, we may be seeing a return to ideas about saving, investing, and liquidity. (more…)
The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index figures came out this week. On the whole, the national home price index was up 2.2 percent over the prior month (seasonally adjusted basis) and increased 0.7 percent over the prior year. For the first time since the onset of the recession, home prices in all 20 covered statistical areas increased over the prior month. Additionally, on a year over year basis, 12 of the 20 areas are now above water. (more…)
Does Being Wealthy Mean a Big House and a Nice Car?
In this three part series, we will address what it means to be wealthy in today’s world. In years past, wealth was associated with the accumulation of material things such as a large house, several nice cars, a summerhouse, and expensive vacations to Europe, etc. While that is still associated with wealth, it no longer defines wealthy. Freedom from debt and the ability to live life to the fullest define the wealthy of today. (more…)
Are fence-sitters losing out? Is it finally the right time to become a buyer in the housing market?
In the past week the market digested five housing market indicators – the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Housing Market Index, the MBA Mortgage Index, the Census Bureau’s Housing Starts and Building Permits, and the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Existing Home Sales. (more…)
What do the retail sales numbers released this week and the recent European financial problems have to do with U.S. mortgage rates? Simple: both are putting downward pressure on U.S. rates. (more…)