Real Estate Columnist Is Mixed Up About Rising Mortgage Rates

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Wall Street Journal reporter Kelly Evans deserves much praise for her sometimes insightful "Ahead of the Tape" column. But in the case of her entry today, titled "The Good News About Rising Mortgage Rates," her logic and conclusion are dead wrong. Evans claims that "one reason buyers have remained hesitant [about buying a home] is that there is little reason to act if rates may fall even further." Hence, she suggests, climbing mortgage rates will encourage buyers still on the sidelines to make a move. Fat chance: With unemployment still hovering near 10 percent and mortgages harder to obtain than ever -- even for borrowers with excellent credit -- it doesn't matter what the rates are if folks can't afford or obtain them. Never mind that Evans's own paper reported today that housing inventories increased for the eighth month in a row. That means that it will be a long time before we're out of this housing mess, no matter how many people buy. As for those who still can't afford to, let them eat cake.

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