Up from the bottom

Stockton is on the road to recovery. Granted, there’s 999 miles to go. But news like this shows we’ve rolled a few miles in the right direction.

The data says formerly bathyspheric home prices bobbed up a healthy 15.7 percent between December 2011 and December 2012. Anecdotally, realtors say in the last two months appreciation is as much as 25 percent.

My house was marginally underwater. So a several months ago I applied to the HARP program, which allows responsible but slightly underwater homeowners to refinance at lower rates. The refi promised me savings over $4,000 a year.

As the refi moved forward, a bank asked for an appraisal of my house. I hired an appraiser. He reported the other day that the home is no longer underwater! Meaning I qualify for a conventional refi at an even lower rate, one that promises to save me roughly $6,000 to $8,000 a year.

This story is being repeated by hundreds of local homeowners. When they have money, they’ll spend it. Hiring will pick up. People will lose their fear of being laid off and spend more freely. A semblance of normality will return. Barring the unforseen, that ought to be the economic narrative between now and 2015.

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  • Blog Author

    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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