It's been a crazy month with tons of economic news, and lots of it not so good. With the Detroit 3 thrown a lifeline just in time for the holidays, let's hope that the rest of the economy stabilizes soon so people start buying cars again.
The local real estate market had record sales again for the 11th straight month in 2008, with an increase of 20.5% over November 2007. Realcomp, our local MLS, reports that 2008 year-to-date sales increased 18.1% over 2007. Oakland County posted the highest percentage sales increase for November at 31.8%.
There are a couple of factors for the continued strong market activity. First, starter home sales (those valued up to $124,999) for first time buyers is up by 60% over last year. Secondly, inventory is down 17.72% and homes are priced aggressively. Lastly, interest rates are good and getting better. With the recent Fed rate cut, pressure is mounting to reduce mortgage interest rates. There may never be a better time to buy or refinance.
According to most economists, a recovery is not expected until late 2009. We're all in this together, so keep being thrifty, continue to tighten your belt, and hang on for the bumpy ride.
If someone you know is unable to keep up with their mortgage payment, have them check out HOPE for Homeowners by the Federal Housing Administration, US Dept of Housing & Urban Development for assistance options.
Here are some links to keep track of the important items that have happened this year:
Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act
Summary of Economic Stabilization Act by the National Association of Realtors
Tax Credit to Aid First Time Homebuyers by the Internal Revenue Service