A for sale sign is seen near a house for sale in South Pasadena, California on April 24, 2020. Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images Record low mortgage rates are clearly not as impressive as they used to be. Even with another new low set last week, mortgage application volume decreased 5.1% from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted index. Demand is still considerably higher for refinances and purchase applications than it was a year ago. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances of up to $510,400 decreased to 3.14% from 3.20%. Points, including origination fee, increased to 0.39 from 0.37 for loans with a 20% down payment. The rate was 87 basis points higher than a year ago. Applications to refinance a home loan, which are most sensitive to weekly rate moves, fell 7% for the week but were 84% higher annually. Generally, if a borrower can shave 75 basis points off their current rate, it makes financial sense to refinance. So many borrowers have already refinanced that there may not be significant interest for doing so. Still, at
Courtney Davis Source: Courtney Davis In a few weeks, Courtney Davis will give birth to her first child, a son, Bentli Jaymes. In the meantime, she's afraid that she won't have a home to bring him back to. "My biggest concern is becoming homeless right now," Davis, 23, said. Without an extension of a federal unemployment benefit, the single mother will have only her weekly state check from Georgia to rely on: $158. That payment isn't enough to even cover the rent on her one-bedroom apartment. She doesn't know how she's going to afford diapers or formula for her son, either. Before the pandemic, Davis worked as a server at the Waffle House in Macon. In April, her hours dried up. More from Personal Finance:Unemployed and eligible for Social Security? What you need to knowMore than half of Americans can't pass a basic quiz on Social SecurityHow the coronavirus pandemic is shaking retirement confidence "I'm so ready to go back to work, but the pandemic isn't slowing down at all," Davis said. "And I'm concerned about working with people. "I don't want to catch it and bring it home to my newborn," she
Home prices in June saw their strongest monthly rise in seven years, spurred on by strong buyer demand and record low mortgage rates. Forecasters, however, say the gains will start to moderate soon, and prices could end up slightly lower by June 2021.
Houses on Kelly Street in Kentish Town, London. Yui Mok | PA Images | Getty Images The U.K. government has released details of how tradespeople can get involved in its £2 billion ($2.60 billion) "green homes grant" initiative. Announced in July, the scheme will enable landlords and homeowners in England to apply for vouchers to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.In a speech at the time, the U.K.'s Finance Minister, Rishi Sunak, said the grants would cover at least two thirds of the cost of certain home improvements, up to £5,000 per household. Low-income households would see the vouchers cover the full cost of works up to £10,000, he added. People will be able to use the vouchers – available from the end of September – for works such as the installation of cavity-wall insulation and low-carbon heating systems. The vouchers can also be used for modifications such as the replacement of single-glazed windows with double- or triple-glazed ones. Fleshing out how the scheme will work in practice, the government said Tuesday that tradespeople such as plumbers and builders wanting to take part had to register for TrustMark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme