Flood Insurance: Senate to vote Monday on bill to delay flood premium increases

According to an article in the Times-Picayune of New Orleans, the US Senate is finally scheduled to vote on Monday to allow debate to proceed on legislation to delay flood premium increases .

To summarize my previous posts on this subject:
– only a small percentage of homes in flood zones carry insurance
– the NFIP has worked well with the exception of major catastrophes
– Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Act without understanding the consequences
– FEMA was supposed to complete an affordability study before implementing new rates, but didn’t
– an independent study suggests  that FEMA “used a mapping method fit for the Pacific coast, where the wave periods are much longer and the beaches are straighter, instead of developing a correct approach for New England.”

Other than that….. (more…)

Is the 30 year fixed rate mortgage an endangered species?

Discussion about mortgage rates normally focuses on the 30 year fixed rate mortgage (FRM). As the table below shows, the US is unique in developed countries in having FRMs as the dominant product:


Only Denmark and France have significant FRM markets and their products differ from the US in certain ways. (more…)

Swampscott 2013 Housing Review and 2014 Outlook

I will start with the Single Family Home (SFH) market and comment on the condo market at the end of this post.

2013 was a strong year for the Swampscott SFH market in terms of both sales and median price increase.

Sales jumped 38% to a level exceeded only once  – in 2004, and then by only 7 units – this millennium.

The median price increased for the second year in a row, by 11% to $442,000, although it is still below the 201o level and 15% below the peak level of 2005 which increasingly looks like an anomaly. (more…)