Bubble Watch
By Megan Johnston

(MONEY Magazine) – RECORD HIGH Share of metro areas with double-digit increases in home prices 48%

[DOWN] IT'S A BUBBLE! Nearly half of the country's metro areas saw home-price hikes of 10% or more last fall, the National Association of Realtors reports. The previous record for metros with double-digit rises: 38% of the total, last spring. Prices can't soar like this forever.

NEAR-RECORD LOW Share of household income devoted to mortgage payments 23%

[UP] NO IT'S NOT! Our mortgage-to-income ratio barely budged from a low of 22% in 2003 to 23% last year, says Freddie Mac. (The ratio did go as high as 40% in 1981.) So, even as prices have risen, lower rates have kept homes affordable. The boom has lots of room. --MEGAN JOHNSTON