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Personal finance weekly news roundup June 24, 2023

Weekly Personal Finance News Roundup - JUNE 24, 2023

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Credit Sesame’s personal finance weekly news roundup for June 24, 2023. Stories, news, politics and events impacting the personal finance sector during the last week.

  1. Home sales and prices down over the past year
  2. Mortgage rates drift downward
  3. Home builders are regaining confidence
  4. Business formations hold steady in May 2023
  5. FDIC cautions institutions about misrepresenting deposit insurance
  6. Job openings continue to grow in some states
  7. Mortgage applications level off
  8. Southern states struggle with access to credit and banking

1. Home sales and prices down over the past year

Existing home sales showed a slight gain of 0.2% in May. In the bigger picture, existing home sales volume is off by 20.4% from a year ago. The lower sales volume impacted prices, but only to a limited extent. The median home price for existing homes was $396,100 in May, down 3.1% from May 2022. The impact on prices was slight compared to the steep drop in sales volume. Experts attribute this to a limited supply of properties for sale. See article at NAR.realtor.

2. Mortgage rates drift downward

Mortgage rates declined for a third consecutive week, though they had little overall progress to show for it. 30-year mortgage rates fell to 6.67%. That was a decline of just 0.02% from a week earlier and a total of just 0.12% from their recent peak of 6.79%. Mortgage rates are up by 0.86% from a year ago but have been more or less flat since last September. See details at FreddieMac.com.

3. Home builders are regaining confidence

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index shows home builders have regained confidence recently. The index measures the percentage of home builders that view the market positively rather than negatively. The percentage viewing the market as positive rose by 5% in June to 55%. A number above 50% is significant because it means more builders are optimistic than pessimistic. Builder outlook had been dampened by the surge in mortgage rates over the past year. However, builder optimism has begun to return as buyers have adjusted to higher rates. The outlook index has now risen for six straight months. See article at Yahoo.com.

4. Business formations hold steady in May 2023

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that there were 436,048 applications for new businesses in May 2023. This number was up 0.4% from April’s total after the seasonal adjustment. However, based on the nature of those applications, the Census Bureau projects that the number of businesses that will be formed over the next year dropped by 3.4% from April’s projection. Though the South experienced the most business formations during the month, it was the only region of the country that experienced a slowing of the pace of formations during May. See press release at Census.gov.

5. FDIC cautions institutions about misrepresenting deposit insurance

The FDIC has warned three financial institutions to stop making misleading statements about deposit insurance. Bodega Importadora de Pallets, Money Avenue LLC, and OK Coin USA Inc are the institutions in question. Each has been warned about making statements falsely suggesting they or their products are FDIC-insured. If there is any question about an institution’s FDIC insurance, consumers can check using the “Bank Find” function on FDIC.gov. See statement at FDIC.gov.

6. Job openings continue to grow in some states

A new release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that more states had an increase in job openings than had a decrease. Overall though, the number of job openings showed little change in most states. Job openings grew in 13 states in April. The largest percentage increase was in Maryland, where job openings increased by 1.4%. The only two states where job openings decreased were Maine and Virginia. Meanwhile, job openings were little changed in 35 states plus the District of Columbia. See report at BLS.gov.

7. Mortgage applications level off

Applications for home mortgages were little changed last week, despite three weeks of declining mortgage rates. After adjustment for seasonal differences, the mortgage loan application volume was just 0.5% higher than the prior week. Application volume was sharply lower than it was a year ago. Applications for new purchase mortgages were down by 32% compared with a year earlier. Refinancing volume was hit even harder, with refinance applications down 40%. See release at MBA.org.

8. Southern states struggle with access to credit and banking

A new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that residents of southern states have less access to credit and banking than people in the rest of the country. For example, 27% of applicants for mortgages in rural areas of the south are turned down, compared with 11% nationwide. When rural Southerners get credit, they typically pay interest rates that are 0.38% higher than the national average. As for access to banking, Mississippi and Louisiana have the highest rates of unbanked citizens. 11.1% of people in Mississippi are unbanked, as are 8.1% of those in Louisiana. See release at ConsumerFinance.gov.

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Richard Barrington
Financial analyst for Credit Sesame, Richard Barrington earned his Chartered Financial Analyst designation and worked for over thirty years in the financial industry. He graduated from St. John Fisher College and joined Manning & Napier Advisors. He worked his way up to become head of marketing and client service, an owner of the firm and a member of its governing executive committee. He left the investment business in 2006 to become a financial analyst and commentator with a focus on the impact of the economy on personal finances. In that role he has appeared on Fox Business News and NPR, and has been quoted by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, CNBC and many other publications.

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