Friday's Personal Finance stories
- Home prices will be flat in 2011
- Two million people to lose jobless benefits
- Your paycheck is going to shrink
- Small investors catch Wall Street's wave
- 10-step inflation survival guide
- What to do with your portfolio now
The group's chief economist says it'll take two more years to wring out all the foreclosures and short sales still holding up the housing market. But he also says that five years from now, people will look back at 2010 as the year to buy, thanks to the combination of weak home prices and ultralow mortgage rates (rates that have nowhere to go but up, unless they just stay flat for a while). Read Amy Hoak's update from the NAR conference in New Orleans.
Plus, don't miss the latest job-market news (good: job growth exceeded expectations; bad: 2 million people are about to lose their unemployment benefits). And read how small investors can profit in these times.
Also, read our 10-step inflation guide. Because, in yet another good news/bad news story, apparently we've sidestepped deflation and a double-dip recession, but inflation's just around the corner. You may already know that from your trips to the grocery store.
—Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor
Nationwide, homeowners can expect little, if any, increase in home values in 2011, the National Association of Realtors said in a forecast released Friday at the group's annual conference in New Orleans.
Read more: Home prices likely to stay flat in 2011: NAR.
Question: My nephew recently got married and moved into his bride's house. He has been trying to sell his house in the $100,000 range for eight months. He purchased the house for $80,000 five years ago. His down payment was $5,000 and he has a 30-year mortgage.
Read more: When renting out a home is the best option.
A gauge of pending sales of homes fell 1.8% in September, signaling an "uneven recovery entering 2011," the National Association of Realtors reported Friday.
Read more: Pending home sales fall 1.8% in September.
The likelihood that Congress will fail to make a decision on the Bush tax cuts by Dec. 31 means most Americans will see higher withholding on their paychecks starting in January. Plus, the Making Work Pay credit is expiring. In other words, get ready for a smaller paycheck.
Watch video: Your paycheck is going to shrink.
Joe Jewell has a list, and he's not afraid to use it. The deputy director of the Office of Marine Fisheries in Mississippi keeps a contact list of major media outlets and the press, and if he sees something wrong with the state's monthly seafood samples from the Gulf, the first thing he will do is call reporters.
Read more: Gulf seafood declared safe, but doubts linger.
About 2 million long-term jobless workers could lose eligibility for unemployment-insurance payments by the end of the year due to the expiration of federal funding.
Read more: Two million people to lose jobless benefits in December.
The U.S. economy added jobs for the first month since May and the nation's unemployment rate held steady at 9.6% for the third straight month, suggesting the labor market may be stabilizing.
Read more: Payrolls grow by 151,000 in October.
Finally, the economy is starting to deliver some good news. Not great news, but good.
Read more: Good news on payrolls isn't good enough.
The Federal Reserve's second round of quantitative easing has brought joy to most financial markets.
Read more: QE2 and jobs: more hope than certainty.
There was another loser in the American midterm elections besides President Barack Obama and his party: Big Labor. Having reportedly raised about a third of the funding for all Democratic candidates, the unions and their affiliates now must wonder whether the American voter, besides punishing Congress and the White House, also meant to humble organized labor.
Read more: Israeli unions to Obama: Try economic humility.
There are snappy headlines all over cyberspace right now about the Federal Reserve setting sail with QE2 — or a second round of "quantitative easing" policies, for those more aware of the famous ocean liner than economic jargon.
Read more: 10-step inflation survival guide.
Rock ‘n' roll duo Jan and Dean sang about sun-drenched "Surf City," with its lure of "two girls for every boy." Stock investors nowadays are finding that the surf's up on Wall Street, where lately there's been at least two bulls for every bear.
Read more: Small investors catch Wall Street's big wave.
We have, it would appear, plenty of reason to cheer. The Republicans have taken control of the House and that should bode well for government spending and for tax cuts being extended. And the Federal Reserve plans to buy $600 billion in government securities, a move designed to give the economy the near-equivalent of an eight-month energy drink.
Read more: What to do with your portfolio now.
High-frequency trading systems should face new rules in the aftermath of the "flash crash" that rattled the markets worldwide on May 6, some members of a joint securities and futures regulator advisory committee said Friday.
Read more: Advisers urge high-frequency trader rules.
Hedge funds generated solid returns in October, but managers lagged a jump in the stock market because some were still cautious heading into the month.
Read more: Hedge funds up in October, but lag equities.
The era of big government is over, Bill Clinton said after his Democratic Party suffered a midterm shellacking 16 years ago.
Read more: The era of broken government.
Defying calls from some members of her own party to step aside, outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she'll run for House Minority Leader after her party lost its majority in the chamber to Republicans.
Read more: Pelosi to run for House Democratic leader.
Regulators should require big banks to undergo another round of stress tests, focused on the litigation and other costs to financial institutions from investors seeking to force banks to repurchase or "put-back" bad mortgages the banks sold them, two high-profile academics said Friday.
Read more: Second round of bank stress tests advocated.
In a week when the Federal Reserve announced a $600 billion bond-buying plan, the above chart shows how commodities have strengthened and the dollar has dropped since the Fed's plans were first hinted at during a speech in late August by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The dollar has dropped 13%, and the Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB commodity price index has climbed 18%.
Read more: In charts: Dollar, payrolls, car sales.