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Mark Hemingway

Mortgage Market Update for August 1st

Thursday, August 1, 2019 - Article by: Mark Hemingway - Security Financial Services, LLC - Message

The Federal Reserve cut the benchmark short-term Fed Funds Rate (FFR) yesterday by 0.25% for the first decrease in that rate since December 2008. The move did not come as a surprise though the Fed signaled that there may just be one more rate cut in 2019, down from three cuts that were expected before yesterday's Fed meeting. The decrease in the short-term rate will impact personal and car loans, credit cards and the like. The FFR is the interest rate at which depository institutions (banks and credit unions) lend reserve balances to other depository institutions overnight, on an uncollateralized basis.

US construction spending fell for the second month in a row in June and was the biggest decline in seven months fueled by a big drop in private construction spending. The Commerce Department said construction spending declined 1.3% from May. In a separate report, the ISM National Manufacturing Index fell to 51.2 in July, the lowest reading since August 2016. The declines were due in part to the lingering effects of the trade issues between the US and China.

Mortgage rates were unchanged this week and remain near multi-year lows and seem to be bottoming out after the steep decline in 2019. Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was unchanged this week at 3.75% with an average 0.6 in points and fees. Freddie Mac says going forward, the combination of low mortgage rates, tight labor market and high consumer confidence should set up the housing market for continued improvement in home sales heading into the late summer and early fall.

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