In the Money

Future markets indicate a 0.25% cut at July Fed meeting

Trump’s intended Fed nominee pushes for bigger reduction
Traders in futures markets have signaled a 77.5% probability of a quarter percentage point cut at next week’s Federal Reserve meeting and a 22.5% chance of a half percentage point cut, according to the CME’s FedWatch tool. In an unusual move, Trump’s intended nominee for Fed board is pushing for the bigger reduction.
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Equifax agrees to pay up to $700 million for data breach

Credit reporting agency settles federal and state probes into 2017 mega-hack
Equifax, one of the nation’s top three credit reporting agencies, agreed to pay up to $700 million to settle federal and state investigations into the 2017 hack that exposed Social Security numbers and other personal data of almost half the population of the U.S. "Equifax failed to take basic steps that may have prevented the breach," FTC Chairman Joe Simons said. Click the headline to read more.
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Renovation spending will slow in 2020 after record-setting year, Harvard report says

Soft housing market will crimp demand for renovations
While renovation spending rose to a record at the end of June and will reach a new high by the end of 2019, a slowdown is on the horizon. Americans spent $322 billion on remodeling and home repairs during the 12 months ending in June, a 6.8% jump from a year earlier, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. However, 2020 will be a different story.
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Housing starts slid further in June as rising construction costs weakened the market

Housing starts fall 0.9% in June
Rising construction costs and a growing shortage of skilled labor contributed to housing starts falling further in June, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Commerce. According to the analysis, housing starts fell 0.9% in June 2019 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.253 million units.
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Fed Chairman Powell tells Congress he would ignore Trump if fired

“I fully intend to serve,” the nation’s top central banker said
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress on Wednesday that he wouldn’t leave his post as the nation’s top central banker even if President Donald Trump fired him. Any whiff of instability at the top of the nation’s banking system could cause rates to rise as mortgage-bond investors seek additional compensation for perceived risk.
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Harvard: Americans have more equity, less mortgage debt

Equity levels double in last 7 years
Americans now have nearly as much home equity as they did when levels peaked before the housing crisis, according to a recent study on the state of the nation’s housing market from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. The report shows aggregate home equity climbed from $7 trillion in 2011 to $15.5 trillion in 2018.
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Wondering why low mortgage rates haven't goosed the housing market? Here's the answer

American household income fell in May, washing out the effect of low rates
You can't get a mortgage if you don't have enough income to cover the payments. American household income fell in May, even with the unemployment rate at the lowest level in almost 50 years. Stagnant or even falling wages are making it tougher for Americans to buy homes as prices continue to rise, said Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders. That explains why cheap rates haven't goosed the housing market, he said.
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June's job report reveals the nation's job growth is slowing down

Construction jobs fell by 18,000 jobs in June
The National Employment Report revealed that private sector employment increased by 102,000 jobs from May to June, rising predominately in the service-providing sector. However, jobs in the good producing sector, including construction, manufacturing and mining all experienced a decline in June, according to ADP Research Institute and Moody’s Analytics. Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute claims the nation’s job growth is starting to show signs of a slowdown.
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Cerberus issues $174 million of debt secured by home equity lines of credit

They're baaaaack, and rated triple-A
A unit of Cerberus Capital Management last week issued $174 million of debt secured entirely by home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, according to The Wall Street Journal. It’s a type of mortgage bond that went extinct in the wake of the financial crisis after a reversal in home prices made older versions worth pennies on the dollar.
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Blend announces $130 million capital raise

Inches its way closer to unicorn status
Mortgage tech startup Blend raised $130 million in a Series E funding round, the company announced Monday. Led by Temasek and General Atlantic, the latest capital raise brings Blend’s total funding to $310 million.
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