INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE... We all do better with an upbeat attitude and there are plenty of reasons to have one now. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported their Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) increased 1.2% in November to 114.6. Increases are indicative of a loosening of credit. In line with this, the most recent MBA Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey reported the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index UP 1% from the week before. And, as of September, the year-over-year share of cash sales fell for the 21st month in a row, according to a major provider of property information.

A real estate listing site, analyzing Q3 income and home values, concluded renting is now twice as expensive as buying. They found that on average, home buyers making the median U.S. income and purchasing the typical U.S. home spent 15.3% of their income on the monthly payment, down from a norm of 22.1% during the 1985 to 1999 pre-bubble period. On the other hand, renters spent 29.9% of their monthly income on rent in Q3, up from 24.9% historically. An independent economic research consultancy says housing is still a touch undervalued, very affordable, and a decent investment, explaining that "on balance, we expect prices to rise by 4% next year."