Things are O.K.

Standard & Poors downgraded US debt. The stock market is bouncing back and forth. Interest rates are predicted to go up but mortgage rates are at historic lows. The “shadow inventory” of foreclosures looms over the market, but home values have stabilized for a couple of years now.

What gives?

Things are O.K. They’re not real good, they’re not real bad, in the aggregate.

Think back to late 2008. Investment banks folded, a global economic crisis loomed, and the nation was losing 700,000 jobs a month. The stock market lost a quarter of its value in a few weeks.

Things aren’t great. The economy is basically stagnant – not gaining much, but not losing much. Employment, same deal. Homeowners are catching up on their payments, which is good; the number of people two months behind or more has fallen about 12% over the past year.

Our point is, things are just O.K. They’re not terrible, the way they were in the autumn of 2008; they’re not fabulous, the way we think of any period of time as fabulous.

One bright spot on the horizon: KOMO News reports that the financial data firm Fiserv predicts that ” people who live in Tacoma are in for a 25 percent increase in home prices by the spring of 2013. The company predicts gains of about 10 percent in Seattle.”

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