Time to purchase a house?

US News and World Report implies (hopes?) we may be nearing a bottom in housing prices but with a mountain of resets coming in the next few months, it’s difficult to see how a bottom can be seen or even predicted.

The real problem is mortgages. They are much hard to get now. We moved from CA to CT about this time last year and got a fixed rate alt mortgage because neither of us had jobs here at the time. The alt rate was slightly higher than for a top rated mortgage. Given the tightening of the credit markets since then, were we moving now, we might not be able to get an alt mortgage because they’ve mostly vanished. And we have high FICOs and money in the bank.

So imagine what it must be like for a first time buyer scrambling to get into a home now. Mortgage applications are indeed way up. That’s because people are making multiple applications and hoping one of them is accepted. In 2005, if you could fog a mirror, you got the mortgage. But those days are gone.

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