Housing is still dealing with some difficult issues – namely shadow inventory and negative equity. The former has shown much improvement based on data released during the last quarter of 2011; the latter will be helped by HARP 2.0, which is expected to be fully engaged by March.

The good news is economic and job growth will continue to remove rot from the system; that is, if buyers and borrowers are sufficiently motivated to act. Unfortunately, we see too few buyers and borrowers sufficiently motivated. The one question we field most often these days is, “Are mortgage rates going lower?” Embedded in the question is the belief that rates are going lower, which keeps too many people on the sidelines.

Our wish list for this year includes a stronger economy, more jobs, and more confident consumers. We'd also like to see a ratcheting up of interest rates. That way, borrowers prone to procrastination will be less prone to procrastinate when they realize that any uptick in rates won't be followed by two downticks.

What's more, rising rates will be indicative of the sustained economic growth we all want.

Courtesy of Jessica Regan.

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