6 top real estate obsessions of 2011

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To accurately compile a time capsule of the American zeitgeist circa 2011, one would have to document the obsession with the Royal Wedding (particularly, Pippa Middleton's posterior), that other nuptial-turned-divorce drama (Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries) and Lindsay Lohan's legal woes.But I would vote for the inclusion of a handful of other phenomena -- all obsessions of the real estate variety. Here are six issues, questions and conundrums that have had real estate consumers (i.e., anyone who pays for the place they live) nearly as fixated this year as they were on the Arnold Schwarzenegger-Maria Shriver split: 1. Interest rates -- how low will they go? American homebuyers and homeowners alike are completely fixated on interest rates, which have fallen to the low- to mid-3 percent range, and stayed in that neighborhood much of the year.Homeowners who are stuck in upside-down mortgages (owing more than their homes are worth) have practically salivated after super-low r...