Real estate investment trusts – A Reliable Leading Housing Indicator

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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…)

How Are Mortgage Rates Set?

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What factors affect the final mortgage rate at which willing buyers of homes and sellers of financing are able to agree?  In certain ways, the setting of rates can be incredibly complex, with a plethora of factors able to influence rates, including expected inflation, default probability, government regulation, and maturity risk premium, to name just a few. (more…)

Is Paying off Your Mortgage Early the Best Use of Your Money?

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How much are you paying for the peace of mind of owning a free and clear home?

We are taught from an early age that debt is bad, and in most cases, carrying significant debt is not a good idea. If you are carrying a large balance on your credit cards, you should pay that off as soon as you can. If you have other secured or unsecured debt, you should pay that off as well. But when it comes to your mortgage, opinions differ regarding whether you should pay your mortgage off early or use the money for other purposes. (more…)

Improving Debt to Income: the Cases of California and Texas

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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…)


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