Morning Roundup (7/21/21) — Housing Construction Up, Mortgage Availability Down

Good Morning! Today is Wednesday, July 21. Amazon magnate Jeff Bezos returned safely from his historic spaceflight on Tuesday. The Delta variant makes up an overwhelming majority of new COVID cases in the U.S. Multiple members of the Texas Democratic group in Washington have tested positive for SARS-Cov-2. The wildfire in southern Oregon has grown so large it has begun to affect the local weather. 

And in mortgage and housing news…

Housing Market Outperformed Expectations in June: Housing starts—the number of new homes on which construction was initiated—came in at more than 1.6 million in June, above forecasts of 1.59 million.

Refinance Rates Drop Again: Mortgage refinancing rates dropped yesterday after federal officials announced the end of a key refinancing fee. 

Getting Harder to Secure a Mortgage: Mortgage lending standards are increasing, with credit availability reportedly at its lowest level since September of last year.

The Next Big Market? The Wall Street Journal puts Billings, Montana at number one on its Emerging Housing Markets Index, potentially signaling a boom in a relatively isolated western city. 

Little Paris Goes Big: Cincinnati—long hailed as “the Paris of America” due to its beautiful architecture—had the fastest-selling housing market in the country last month, according to RE/MAX’s June National Housing Report.

New Meaning to the Term “Pre-War”: The oldest house on this week is a Massachusetts colonial built in 1683.

Should You Refinance? If you’re looking to take advantage of favorable refinance conditions, first figure out if refinancing is something you should do.

End of the Refinance Fee? Will lenders follow federal guidance and drop the mortgage refinancing fee?

Analysis: Interest Rates Are Higher Under Biden. Good News or Bad?