US Long-Term Mortgage Rates Fall; 30-Year at 4.55%
Long-term U.S. mortgage rates were flat to lower this week. The benchmark 30-year rate marked its fourth decline in the past five weeks.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 4.55 percent, down from 4.57 percent last week. By contrast, the 30-year rate averaged 3.88 percent a year ago.
The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans was unchanged from last week at 4.04 percent.
Long-term loan rates have been running at their highest levels in seven years. The average 30-year mortgage rate reached a high this year of 4.66 percent on May 24; the 15-year rate hit 4.15 percent that day.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week.
The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. The average fee on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was unchanged from last week at 0.5 point.
The fee on 15-year mortgages rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.
The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 3.87 percent from 3.83 percent. The fee remained at 0.3 point.
California May Block New Local Soda Taxes
California lawmakers are expected to vote to prohibit new local taxes on soda for the next 12 years.
The debate planned for Thursday is the result of a last-minute deal to block a beverage industry-backed ballot measure that would make it much harder for cities and counties to raise taxes of any kind.
The makers of soda and other sugary drinks are fighting hard against a growing wave of taxation by local governments and are turning increasingly to state legislatures for relief.
The move drew a strong rebuke from public health advocates who view soda taxes as a crucial front in their efforts to contain diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
But local government officials reluctantly backed the legislation because they feared the industry-backed ballot measure.
Apple, Samsung Settle 7-Year Battle Over Smartphone Design
Apple and Samsung have finally settled a seven-year battle over smartphones that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The bitter rivals notified U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh of the truce in a notice filed Wednesday. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed.
The resolution comes a month after a jury concluded Samsung owed Apple $539 million for copying some of the iPhone’s innovations in some of Samsung’s competing products. The verdict was reached after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 2016 ruling that determined a portion of earlier damages awarded to Apple needed to be re-examined.
Apple had been seeking more than $1 billion in the latest trial while Samsung argued it should only pay $28 million.
Equifax Must Boost Security Under New Agreement with States
Equifax Inc. has reached an agreement with eight states that will require the credit-reporting agency to put stronger security measures in place to prevent future data breaches.
About 147.9 million Americans were impacted by Equifax’s 2017 data breach, which was the largest exposure of personal information in history.
While Equifax has taken steps to correct the problems that led to incident, state regulators say Wednesday’s consent order addresses deficiencies that have persisted. The states involved were: California, Texas, New York, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Georgia, Alabama and Maine.
The order requires Equifax to take a number of steps to shore up weaknesses in its information technology and data security operations over the next year.
Equifax, which is based in Atlanta, said that a “good number” of the action items have been completed and that it expects to “meet or exceed” all the commitments made in the order.
Wisconsin Legislative Leader Open to Incentives for Harley
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he’s open to considering tax breaks to keep Harley-Davidson jobs in the state, but he feels existing incentives are competitive.
President Donald Trump has been tweeting criticism of Harley this week after the company announced it was shipping some motorcycle production overseas to avoid European Union tariffs.
Vos said Wednesday that he “would never do anything that hurts the ability of Harley-Davidson to be competitive worldwide.” As for Trump’s tweets, Vos said he would “prefer to use more of a carrot approach to say what can we do to make sure you stay here as opposed to a stick.”
Trump is scheduled to be in Wisconsin on Thursday for the groundbreaking of the Foxconn Technology Group factory.
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