Good morning! Today is Monday, July 19. Concerns about the Delta variant of the Coronavirus are putting downward pressure on stock and commodity futures. At least one U.S. gymnast has tested positive for COVID-19. Europe is reeling from a series of landslides. The Biden administration is blaming China for a hack of Microsoft Exchange email server software that compromised tens of thousands of computers around the world earlier this year.
And in mortgage and housing news…
Mortgage refinances spike: Low interest rates drove a 20% spike in mortgage refinance rates last week, with a declining 30-year fixed rate spurring heavy refi activity.
Supply prices down: Wood futures are declining from their dizzying highs earlier this year, signalling potential relief for homebuilders, though homebuyers still might not realize any savings from the drop.
Nationwide record housing prices continue: Regions from North Texas to Utah to New Hampshire continue to report sky-high average housing prices, continuing a white-hot market trend.
Signs of slowdown? Yet experts say there are signs that the white-hot real estate market is slowing down after a year of feeding frenzies.
Bipartisan efforts for veteran homebuyers: New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan is leading efforts to reform a key federal homebuying program for veterans.
Relief for some homeowners: The Federal Housing Finance Agency has eliminated the Adverse Market Refinance Fee for loan deliveries effective August 1, 2021, a move that will save some homeowners money when they refinance their mortgages.
Rental rates up along with everything else: As housing prices continue to climb, rental rates are also going up, to the point that workers earning a minimum wage are struggling to afford rent anywhere in the country.
15-year vs. 30-year mortgage: How to decide? Add up the numbers and see which one fits your budget.