5 housing trends in early 2011

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Affordable housing prices, plus low interest rates make it a great time to buy a home. So, why is no one buying? I’m Kristin Arnold with your Bankrate.com Personal Finance Minute.

Prices have fallen a lot, and they have been falling for five years. Homeowners are stuck in their houses, unable to sell their homes and move to pursue opportunity. Fannie Mae recently did a survey, and one-third of respondents said they’re more likely to rent their next home, rather than buy.

Then there’s the difficulty of getting a mortgage. The days of zero-down home loans are gone. Most lenders require a substantial down payment. The minimum credit scores are higher than they used to be, and now most lenders conduct at least two credit checks — when the borrower applies, and then a day or two before closing. And lenders have imposed new fees and restrictions. It’s not only more difficult to get a mortgage now — it’s more expensive and it takes more time.

The situation will improve. but First unemployment will have to fall back to normal. And memories of this housing downturn will have to fade. That will take years — not months.

For more information on the housing market, visit bankrate.com. i’m kristin arnold.