Double Dip for Housing -- Or Is It an Extended Single Dip?

double dip housingIs the housing market experiencing a double dip? It depends who you ask.

The latest data on home prices, including the influential Case-Shiller Index, indicates that values are falling again in almost every market across the nation. Then again, the Commerce Department recently reported that the sales of newly constructed homes rose 17.5 percent in December.

Meanwhile, the Mortgage Bankers Association's numbers on new applications for mortgages show a steady slide.

David Blitzer, chairman of Standard & Poor's Index Committee, told the New York Times that signs of a double dip are pretty clear. "We shouldn't kid ourselves," Blitzer said. "The last few months have been weak."

But Radar Logic's president and CEO, Michael Feder, argued in his debut column for AOL Real Estate earlier this week that cries of a double dip in housing are misleading. Unfortunately, Feder's assessment was even gloomier. "This is not a second leg," he wrote. "Rather it is a continuing deterioration of value which could continue for some years to come."

For more insight on mortgages and refinancing see these AOL Real Estate guides:

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More Refinance Tips

  • Spend Less -- Refinance Your Mortgage
    If you are stretching to meet your monthly payments on your mortgage, you may need to consider refinancing options. If you can get a lower interest rate than you currently have, you'll be able to save substantially on your monthly payment. The key is to look down the road. Don't get yourself into an incredibly low interest 3 year ARM program unless you plan to sell your home or refinance again within that timeframe.

  • Refinance -- Fixed or ARM?
    Refinancing is very popular nowadays, especially since interest rates have been low. There are also several different refinancing options you may explore. For instance, you can opt for a fixed rate or an adjustable rate mortgage. A fixed rate mortgage will usually be for a term of 15 or 30 years and the interest rate will stay the same for the duration of the loan. An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) means that after a term (usually of 3-5 years), your interest rate can change (usually upwards).

  • Home Improvements? Cash Out Refinancing!
    If you have equity built up in your home and you have an expanding family, you may want to improve your existing home. After all, with the way many home prices are going, you might not be able to afford to move back into your own neighborhood! If you decide to improve your home, you can easily refinance and pull out money to add a bathroom, a bedroom or upgrade your septic system. Banks and mortgage companies often offer special incentives for home improvement equity loans. In some cases they even have special loan programs for higher amounts.