Friday Roundup

    This hurricane season is brought to you by the letter O.  Forecasters at Colorado State University are predicting a dangerous hurricane season along the gulf and east coasts of the U.S. this coming summer and fall.  Fifteen storms, they predict, will be worthy of names, and four will be storms to remember, with winds topping 111 miles per hour.  Their colleagues at North Carolina State have made a similar prognostication, predicting that 13 to 15 storms will be name worthy in 2008, one of which will be major in intensity.  We have heard this all before, most recently in '06 and '07, which were duds as far as storms (and predictions) go.  Thankfully, we might add.  If we get to hurricane 15, the names Oliver, Ozzie or perhaps Othello (The Dark Prince) might be in play...
    Hey buddy, wanna buy a mortgage?   Moody's Economy.com reports that mortgage delinquencies in the first quarter of the year increased most in Puerto Rico, Florida and Nevada.  In Puerto Rico, more than 8% of all mortgages were delinquent. The rates in Florida and Nevada were each close to 7%.  The national average for delinquency rates is 3.86%.  Metro areas in California and Florida logged seven of the eight highest delinquency rates, interrupted only by Detroit in 7th place.  Foreclosure rates are tracking more or less with the delinquencies, as are bargain real estate, especially condos, in formerly hot markets.  The Wall Street Journal has a good map of the bad news   ...
    Middle of the Road.  I wrote here some weeks ago that when the time comes for my wife and I to sell our primary home in Connecticut, I plan to invite three real estate agents to "bid" for our listing.  The winner will be the one whose appraisal falls between the other two.  I don't want to give it to the one who provides the lowest estimate; he probably wants a quick sale.  I also won't give it to the agent with the highest appraisal on the theory that she thinks our house is worth more than it is, or might be just trying to appeal to our emotional connection to the home in which we raised our kids.  According to an article in the Hartford Courant's real estate section this past Sunday, a homeowner in the town next to ours put his own wrinkle on my approach.  After receiving two appraisals $100,000 apart, he took matters into his own hands.  He listed the home right in the middle of the two estimates, at $849,000 and is selling it himself...
    To retire and move, or not to.  With the economy in recession mode, the newspapers are filled with stories about folks who are putting off retirement and staying put wherever they are.  But is that necessary or what they really want?  One way to test your assumptions and hang out with others in similar situations is to consider a unique weekend in beautiful Asheville, NC.  The University of North Carolina's Center for Creative Retirement , located on the Asheville branch's campus, is holding a Creative Retirement Exploration Weekend May 23 - 25, which is Memorial Weekend.  About 150 people from 26 states will consider whether this is indeed the right time to relocate.  The weekend will be lighter on financial justifications and more about personal issues related to choosing a retirement location.  The Center has an excellent reputation, and you could do a lot worse than a weekend in the mountains of Asheville.  I devoted most of an issue of my newsletter, HomeOnTheCourse, to Asheville's beautiful and diverse communities.  Contact me and I will be happy to email you a copy with my compliments and good wishes.