Today's Real Estate News and Advice

Updated: December 16, 2005

Down Payment Assistance Programs
David Reed discusses the rants of some housing groups complaining about how the various "Nehemiah-type" down payment assistance programs are screwing the very people they're trying to help. FULL STORY->

Burning Firewood Doesn't Chop Heating Costs
When the weather outside is frightful, a fire inside isn't necessarily so delightful unless you have money to burn and don't mind fouling the air. FULL STORY->

Recent FED Actions Allow Mortgage Rates to Ease Slightly
Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.30 percent, with an average 0.5 point, for the week ending December 15, 2005, down from last week's average of 6.32 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.68 percent. FULL STORY->

Ye Ol' Seller Subsidy
You're reading through a real estate website, searching for houses that might meet your criteria. As you're reading the fine print you start seeing the words, "Will help with closing costs." These items are referred to as "seller subsidies." FULL STORY->

Ask Realty Times
Can I sell a home with ghosts? Should I junk real estate for mutual funds? Why does my buyer want me to make a loan? Peter G. Miller looks at the week's most interesting questions for Realty Times. FULL STORY->

Canadian Household Spending Rises
Household debt in Canada is rising faster than the rate of inflation, but mortgage payments as a share of income is very low by historic standards, says new a report. FULL STORY->

No Song And Dance In Real-Life 'Rent' Story
The rental housing market has reached an unprecedented level of unaffordability -- not one county in the nation has affordable one-bedroom apartments for a minimum wage earners. FULL STORY->

Oregon Construction Lien Laws: A Summary for Investors
George was the owner of the 30,000 square foot Mercury Office Building that he had begun new construction on. Suddenly George received a lien notice in the mail from the carpet supplier. George was stunned. FULL STORY->

Empty Houses in Winter Need Regular Attention
Cold weather can create problems in vacant listings. Both agent and broker should be watchful. FULL STORY->

Losing Homes To Ignorance, Inaction and Denial
Many homeowners facing foreclosure could use some 'Tough Love' talk about their responsibility to take action -- especially when the mortgage lender calls and reports that they are in trouble. FULL STORY->

How to Prevent Excessive Loan Fees
Here's a list of dos and don'ts that, if followed, will lead to the financing promised land. FULL STORY->

Ask the HOA Expert
Richard Thompson addresses more HOA issues this week, including what to do about pool safety and how to discipline a rebellious board member. FULL STORY->

Alternatives to Cement Can Help Builders Keep Pace With Demand
Cement shortages have the most visible effect on smaller companies, builders, or contractors due to delays or postponement of their projects. To better cope with consumption disruption, savvy builders are looking elsewhere for alternatives to cement and concrete in framing homes. FULL STORY->

Consumer Alert: Vacuum Cleaners That Emit Dust
Vacuum cleaners are supposed to suck. In a special alert, Consumer Reports reveals six that do, but not in the way you'd expect. FULL STORY->

'Tis the Season
'Tis the season to be jolly ... and in regards to the economy, there is plenty to be jolly about. Among other things, the Bureau of Economic Analysis revised its third quarter estimate of GDP growth upwards from 3.8 percent to 4.3 percent. Freddie Mac's chief economists explains. FULL STORY->

Who Will Own New Orleans?
While most lenders now have a foreclosure moratorium in the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina, what happens when the moratoriums end? Peter G. Miller looks at the growing possibility of massive foreclosures and failures. FULL STORY->

NAR Anticipates Near Record Sales in 2006
The housing market for 2005 is headed for a fifth consecutive annual record, and sales activity in 2006 is expected to be the second best year in history, according to the National Association of Realtors. FULL STORY->

Ask George & Chuck: Questions from Consumers
In this week's column, George and Chuck answer some interesting questions from readers. FULL STORY->

Thoughtful Gifts and Alternatives During Canada's Shopping Season
December debt is here. PJ Wade supplies a few ideas to help redirect some of excessive seasonal spending to achieve long- and short-term real estate goals that will ensure 2006 is an even better year for you, your family and your community. FULL STORY->

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like A Political Debate
When holiday decor choices trigger debates about political correctness, it's time to heat up the wassail and get those visions of sugar plums dancing in your head the old fashioned way. Columnist Broderick Perkins gives a colorful, and opinionated, commentary about this season. FULL STORY->

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