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Labor Day, Jobs and the Weekend Poll

This Labor Day finds nearly a 10th of the U.S. workforce looking for a job. We in the Washington area have it easier than most, considering our 6.2 percent unemployment rate, but as The Post's V. Dion Haynes reports, pay raises are likely to be scarce and skimpy.

Even the region's biggest employer -- the federal government -- will probably limit pay raises to 2 percent in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. Labor Day also traditionally kicks off the Washington area's second most active season for buying and selling homes. With continued insecurity about jobs and paychecks that are barely growing -- if they're growing at all -- there's still a big drag on home sales. The bright spots, of course, are continued low mortgage interest rates (30-year, fixed-rate loans averaged 5.08 last week, according to Freddie Mac) and that $8,000 first-time-buyer tax credit. It's still available if you can get a deal closed by Nov. 30.

WEEKEND READING: In Saturday's Real Estate section, The Post's Ylan Q. Mui has more details about the "Extreme Makeover" house recently completed in Prince George's County. We'll have lots of photos in the newspaper and on our Web site.

CHAT DAY: Join the gang of regular chatters in the Real Estate Live discussion Friday at 1 p.m. If you can't make it on the dot, you can submit a question or comment early.

The Weekend Poll

This is a non-scientific user poll. Results are not statistically valid and cannot be assumed to reflect the views of Washington Post users as a group or the general population.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  September 4, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Remodeling and repair , The economy , Weekend Poll  
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Next: Chat Plus: Borrow From Condo A for Condo B


One important thing that came up in your chat?

Living with relatives -> renting/buying

It's extremely difficult to get financing for a house purchase if you can't prove you've been able to handle a monthly housing nut of similar size. I don't recall what the fraction is. But it's really best to rent first and get used to paying out that money for housing. You pay practically no principle in the first year of a 30 year mortgage anyway, so don't worry about the "throwing money down the drain" problem. Get used to paying for housing first, get it documentable to get a good loan.

Posted by: kingstowne_renter | September 4, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Good points, thanks.

Posted by: Erazzi | September 4, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Medical billing is a fast growing field today. Find a local school to get a degree in medical billing in few months

Posted by: frankstarnes0709 | September 7, 2009 6:03 AM | Report abuse

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