Archive for March, 2009

Time to Buy or Refi

A chart from Carpe Diem:

The 30-year fixed mortgage rates are the lowest ever recorded. It’s a great time to refinance or buy a home.



California’s Real Estate Market is Coming Back

From the Wall Street Journal:

California existing-home sales slid 0.8% in February, but jumped 83% compared to the same period a year ago as homebuyers continued to flock to sharply reduced prices and interest rates in the nation’s largest housing market.

The sales of 620,410 single-family homes on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis came as the median price of a home plunged 40.8% to $247,590 from a year ago, according to estimates released Wednesday by the California Association of Realtors. The increased sales activity from a year earlier helped shrink the inventory of unsold homes to 6.5 months in February from 15.3 months in the 2008 period, the Realtors group reported.

California’s resurgence comes as housing markets nationally are showing signs of new life, as well. Existing-home sales nationwide jumped a seasonally adjusted 5.1% in February, the biggest one-month gain since late 2003, the National Association of Realtors reported on Monday. The group said buying activity was strongest in places such as Southern California and Las Vegas, which have a glut of foreclosures.

Few experts say California is out of the woods, though. With an unemployment rate of 10.5% in February that is expected to continue to rise, they say many more foreclosed properties are likely to end up on the market, weighting down housing prices.

Why Economics is one of the Best College Majors

A great explanation from David Colander as to “why” an economics major is one of the best choices. Economics is the most popular major at Harvard.

Community College Penalty

Bad news for those who attend a Community College first. They don’t know why yet, I look forward to those results: 


Average annual earnings by education:

Final degree earned No asso-ciate degree With asso-ciate degree
Bachelor’s $54,667 $52,022
Master’s 61,323 56,997
Doctorate 71,246 62,906
Professional 79,491 70,349

Source: The Federal Bank of St. Louis, based on data from the 2003 National Survey of College Graduates

California’s Great College Deal

Dan Walters points out what a great deal California’s college system is:

The $20-per-unit community college fee is, by far, the lowest in the nation. The $600 it costs for a year’s full load of classes in California would be more than $900 in the next-lowest state, New Mexico, and is less than one-fourth the national average of $2,700.

State university fees, $3,849 a year, are much lower than any of the other comparable state university systems and scarcely half the average of $7,516.

The University of California’s current fees, $8,027 a year, are not quite the lowest of comparable systems – University at Buffalo, N.Y., has that ranking at $6,285. But UC’s fees are nearly $2,000 below the average and just two-thirds of the most expensive school, the University of Illinois.

Small Business Needs to be a Priority

Lost in all the big business (AIG, autos, and banks) press is one very important announcement:

Obama announces plan to aid small businesses.

Why is this important, because small businesses account for 70% of U.S. jobs.

Good News in Retail

From The Mess That Greenspan Made:

The Commerce Department reported a big upward revision to retail sales in January and a modest decline of just 0.1 percent in February as tumbling automobile sales were offset by higher spending at gasoline stations and clothing stores.