Week in Review: What We Liked From the Week That Was

The Chinese began celebrating their New Year this week, ringing in the Year of the Rabbit. According to the Chinese zodiac, this will be a year of tranquility, beauty and abundance. I like the sound of that!

From one critter to another, on Groundhogs Day this week, Punxsutawney Phil predicted spring will come early this year!  Let’s hope a speedy arrival for warmer weather puts an end to the record-breaking winter weather many states have been experiencing.

The Fiserv Case-Shiller Index estimated that by the end of 2012, 75 percent of metro markets in the country will have price stability. The index reports that New York City, Minneapolis, and Portland are expected to stabilize by the end of 2011 and San Diego, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco are already there. Although this is encouraging, the index also reports single-family home prices could drop 5.5 percent this year.

In an effort to protect the housing market from another bust, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle “back proposals which would make mortgages more expensive and difficult to obtain.” Under the proposals, homebuyers will need to make a higher downpayment and have better credit scores, among other things. Wells Fargo, for instance, is pushing for borrowers to put 30 percent down, a significant increase. What do you think, in the words of the Boston Globe’s Scott Van Voorhis, will this cure or kill the market?

For those who think millionaires are unaffected by the housing market, think again. According to data, one in seven homeowners with loans over $1 million are “seriously delinquent” compared to one in 12 with mortgages below $1 million, according to CBS News.

Nine of the Top Ten Cities with the Biggest Increases in Home Prices
Nine of the Top Ten Cities with the Biggest Increases in Home Prices

Is everything really bigger in Texas? The Lone Star State has nine of the top ten cities with the biggest increases in home prices since mid-2006.

Speaking of big, if the royal engagement has you daydreaming about a castle of your own, get inspired by five royal residences on this side of the pond.

What team do you hope will win the Super Bowl on Sunday?

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