Oh, Your House? It Was a Bad Investment.

In this article, we present a Home Investment Calculator.  We estimate median values and actual returns for any of 356 American Metropolitan Statistical Areas in an attempt to tell all of our American readers exactly how well their homes have performed as an investment. Real Estate Return Calculator For those of you reading this on feed … [Read more...]

Keeping Up with the Joneses: Risk Tolerance

Much has been made on the blogosphere and even on our own website about keeping up with the Joneses, the desire to maintain expenses similar to your neighbors. They bought a new Infiniti, why shouldn't I? A similar, yet different, concept is the idea of lifestyle creep, the slow build-up of "necessary" expenses as your income increases. I myself … [Read more...]

How Many Mortgages Do You Purchase in a Lifetime?

In a recent post, I lamented the inefficiencies I saw in the mortgage process. Red tape, confusing questions, obscured data and dragging one's feet is all-too-common in the loan origination business. My main question I sought to answer today is 'Why?' With a purchase so large and significant, I would hope that the market provided a better answer, … [Read more...]

Part 4 of Tales of a Mortgage: Thank You for Selling!

Last October, I mentioned that I had finally hit a net worth of zero, celebrating the occasion of being officially worthless. At that point I mentioned that my next step was to buy a house. I can now say that I finally did get down and buy a house, closing a few months ago on June 13th. I started looking in November just to see what was out there … [Read more...]

Part 2 of Tales of a Mortgage: Realtors Bite!

Last October, I mentioned that I had finally hit a net worth of zero, celebrating the occasion of being officially worthless. At that point I mentioned that my next step was to buy a house. I can now say that I finally did get down and buy a house, closing a few months ago on June 13th. I started looking in November just to see what was out there … [Read more...]

Part 1 of Tales of a Mortgage: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the ARM

Last October, I mentioned that I had finally hit a net worth of zero, celebrating the occasion of being officially worthless. At that point I mentioned that my next step was to buy a house. I can now say that I finally did get down and buy a house, closing on June 13th). I started looking in November just to see what was out there but didn't … [Read more...]

Calculating the Salary Requirement Fallout from Mortgage Rate Increases

I wanted to follow up on our Monday piece with a bit more math (I'll do it for you - I know you don't want to bust out the TI-83 in a vacation week). Today's piece hinges on 'mortgage qualification', because of a few comments on Monday's piece.  In a nutshell, mortgage qualification comes down to two ratios: "Front End Debt To Income" - The … [Read more...]

More on That Rapidly Increasing Mortgage Rate…

As of the writing of this article (weekend before the 4th), 30 year mortgage rates are now at roughly 4.4%  on average nationwide - 4.39%, according to Bankrate.  As recently as early last month, Bankrate showed average rates at 3.40% on a 30 year mortgage. It's not that the current mortgage cost increase is unprecedented in modern history - … [Read more...]

Canadian Real Estate: A Rapidly Inflating Bubble

I love Canada. I say that without a hint of sarcasm.  I speak for a majority of Americans here - jokes about hockey, curling, and freezing temperatures aside, we really do want Canada to succeed. Your neighbors to the south (The United States) recently went through some incredibly hard times in our real estate market - our real estate crash … [Read more...]

What Would a Rental Meltdown Look Like?

Not to heft blame on any particular entity for the housing collapse (well, in this article anyway), but one of the instruments that allowed the bubble to run so high in the first place was the Collateralized Debt Obligation.  The CDO, as it is known, combined separate tranches (levels of security risk) of mortgages into a single security, allowing … [Read more...]