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What Impact is the Obama Stimulus Plan Having on Housing Prices?

Dear Ali;
Now that it's spring -- traditionally the peak time for housing sales -- I wanted to ask: what impact is the Obama Stimulus Plan having on housing prices?
A: Why of course you did. At this time of year, one's thoughts turn to lilacs, love, and the lift in housing prices -- not necessarily in that order. But according to a recent survey by the Website, Realtors don't think that the stimulus plan makes much difference:

8% say the stimulus has decreased home prices

3% say the stimulus has increased home prices

55% say the stimulus has had no impact on home prices

34% say the stimulus has stabilized home prices

Both nationally and in the submarkets surveyed -- California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas -- more than half the real estate agents surveyed said the stimulus plan had "no effect" on prices.

The pessimism, if that's the right thing to call it, is strongest in New York, one of the last states to enter the housing downturn. In New York, two-thirds of Realtors surveyed don't think the stimulus plan is having any impact on housing prices.

Nationally about one-third of Realtors do think the plan has "stabilized" the markets, although only about one-quarter of agents in New York and New Jersey think so.

Texas claims the least impact, with only 2 percent of agents surveyed saying that the stimulus has increased prices, and only 4 percent saying that it has decreased prices. Guess it takes a lot to move the needle in Texas.

If all this gloom and doom is getting you down, may I recommend Glee. I was suspicious of this new TV show, which got a sneak preview last week. From the promos it seemed like "Fame" meets "American Idol" meets "High School Musical" meets "Grease" -- but it was really, really fun. If you Tivo'd the premiere episode, watch it this week -- you'll enjoy.

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