Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why Won't L.A. Media Use L.A. Stats When Reporting on Housing Woes?

You may remember my rant from yesterday in which I expressed frustration that an L.A. Times story on the debate over ending mortgage interest tax deductions didn't focus on the unique plight of Angeleno homeowners. Even though it was an L.A. Times story.

Today, the paper reports on rising interest rates, and at least uses a Southern California couple this time as its anecdotal example. That's a start.

But then this part gets me:

A separate survey by Informa Research Services indicates the 30-year average rate last week topped 5% for the first time in six months. Economists at the Mortgage Bankers Assn. project that it will rise to 5.1% by the end of 2011 and 5.7% in 2012.

That means higher monthly payments, making it harder to qualify for a loan. If you borrow $200,000 over 30 years, a 1-percentage-point increase to 5.5% from 4.5% would boost the amount you pay each month by $122 to $1,136.

That's an interesting stat -- but who in Los Angeles is borrowing just $200,000 to buy a home? How about using $500,000 as a bench mark? For starters, the amount added to monthly mortgage payments would be even heftier -- making for a much better example.

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