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Funny market we are in. Homes sales were up 27% in December to more than 500,000 in the State of California. There is just 5 months worth of homes in inventory versus 11 months a year ago, another good sign.
Thirty-year fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 5.29% during December 2008, compared with 6.10% in December 2007, according to Freddie Mac. The time it took to sell a single-family home was 46.1 days in December 2008, compared with 66.7 days for the same period a year ago. Again another positive trend.
So what’s the one part of the equation not going in the right direction? Home prices. In California, according to the state association of Realtors, the median price fell nealry 42% in December to $281,100.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.