Home prices peaked in the US five years ago. Here is a look at the key issues affecting home prices as the spring real estate market approaches.
US home prices fell 1 percent in November compared with the previous month, according to a widely followed 20-city index released by Standard & Poor's Tuesday. It's the latest sign that, five years after home prices peaked, the housing market remains an important weak link in the economy. Still, housing experts say 2011 could be a pivotal year when home prices bottom out and a more stable environment begins to emerge. Here's a look at the key issues.
Mortgage rates for a 30-year loan now stand at 4.86.
Unemployment claims fell below 400,000 the week before Christmas, the latest indicator of continued slow economic growth.
Mortgage rates dipped to 4.81 percent for a 30-year loan, down from 4.83 percent last week.
Now at an average price of $3 a gallon, gasoline could cost at least $3.50 a gallon by spring. Rising gas prices go hand in hand with higher oil prices, driven up by outlook for a stronger economy.
Home sales revived in November, but mortgage rates have been edging up. Some analysts say that might prompt more potential buyers to take the plunge now, before rates go even higher.
The mortgage interest tax deduction is cherished by many Americans as the path to homeownership. But the co-chairmen of the US debt panel say it should be rolled back.
Mortgage rates are going up as the economic outlook brightens.
Reversing four months of gains, a key US house price index fell modestly in August, and some economists see more declines ahead. But the index is still well off the recession's low point.