Mid Term Election

Today is the mid-term election here in the United States of America.  So go vote, wisely. Speaking of living the American dream, CoreLogic reports home prices, including distressed sales, rose by 5.6% year-over-year in September.  That’s the slowest year-over-year appreciation rate since August 2012.  Last month’s reading is 0.28% less than August and well below the 11.8% recorded half a year ago in February.  Looking forward, CoreLogic expects a 5% rise from September 2014 to September 2015.  Don’t panic, historically speaking, a five percent appreciation rate is a nice healthy average. Oil prices have dropped significantly over the last two days, leaving a barrel of sweet crude at only $77 a barrel.  I think that I’ll fill up the car with gas on the way to the polls this afternoon. Thirty year FHA loans are at 3.25% while Conventional 30 years hangs at 4.0%. Fifteen year rates are still at 3.0% (APR will generally be higher, depending on the loan and down payment amounts, and amortization term–as closing costs and the presence of mortgage insurance affect each loan differently.)

A Hodgepodge of Useless Information

Scotland has voted to remain part of the United Kingdom and will hash out their tax rate changes which take effect as early as 2015.    While doing a bit of research on the UK debacle, I ran across this bit o’ information about our taxes here in the U.S. that was of more interest to me personally.  The IRS claims that 47% of tax returns filed in 2012 reported adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $30,000, while only 3.6% of tax returns reported AGI of at least $200,000. There are about 300 million households, but in 2012 only 145 million tax returns were filed.  Of those who filed, 64% of the returns paid federal income tax while 36% of the returns did not pay any federal income tax.  So if you paid any income taxes in 2012, you are included the 31% minority of the population which did so.  Thank you for keeping our government afloat (is that the right word?  BTW: This is not a cry for a vote of secession).
Interestingly enough the National Association of Realtors shows that 54% of all licensed agents earn less than $50,000 per year while 7% earn more than $200,000 per year.  Real estate agents are more polarized in their incomes than the national averages listed above.  Realtors earn an average of $39,140 per year and it’s the 89th best job to have in the country according to US News and World report (#1 is software developer).
How is that for a smattering of useless information? Here’s what you really want to know: Thirty year FHA loans are at 3.5% and Conventional loans are at 4.25%. Fifteen year rates are way lower at 3.0% (APR will be higher, depending on the loan and down payment amounts, and amortization term–as closing costs and the presence of mortgage insurance affect each loan differently.)