As we finally sail out of the Sargasso Sea Where ships drift, disappear, or worse — look it up that is Christmas to New Year’s, it’s time for a roundup of a few of the more interesting things that have happened as of late.

HUD provided $73 million in grants to organizations that help first-time homebuyer wannabes become first-time homebuyers (or help people keep their homes, among other things). Recipients in Virginia included

  • People Incorporated Of Southwest Virginia (Abingdon), Piedmont Housing Alliance (Charlottesville)
  • The Prince William County Virginia Cooperative Extension (Manassas)
  • The Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation; and
  • Total Action Against Poverty in Roanoke Valley.

(Click here to see the full nationwide list.)

imageNAR’s Realtors Property Resource (read all about it in the March/April Commonwealth) has added school-district boundaries to its growing collection of merged databases. Realtors using RPR can now see what public schools students living in a property would attend.

Gary Shilling says house prices will drop another 20% over the next few years.

[The] huge and growing surplus inventory of houses will probably depress prices considerably from here, perhaps another 20% over the next several years. That would bring the total decline from the first quarter 2006 peak to 42%.

This may sound like a lot, but it would return single-family house prices, corrected for general inflation and also for the tendency of houses to increase in size over time, back to the flat trend that has held since 1890.

Click here to read the whole thing.

As I go through my e-mail and RSS feeds there will be more to come. But these are a good start for a Monday, I think.