On the housing front, the good news is that the president wants Mel Watt to head the FHFA. The really bad news is that the problems in the U.S. housing system are currently so entrenched that, even if he is confirmed, Mel Watt will be hard-pressed to resolve them.
Although most of the housing markets with big price gains exhibit unhealthy fundamentals, some markets with rising prices are healthy. Markets with flat or falling prices include both healthy and unhealthy markets.
Nationally, rents rose 5.2 percent year-over-year, still slightly ahead of the national price gain of 5.1 percent. In Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, rents are rising much faster than home prices.
Prices are rising in at-risk metros because prices have fallen so far that they've attracted interest from prospective investors and international homebuyers, whose interest in U.S. homes can be volatile; in contrast, prices are rising in the in-the-clear metros primarily due to job growth.
Marking a big shift from the boom years, the cost of buying relative to renting has fallen a lot. But just because prices dropped and rents held steady or rose in most places, does that make now a great time to buy? The answer depends on you and on where you live.