In the Money

Democrats, Republicans vote unanimously to pass flood insurance reforms

NFIP 5-year extension skips divisive issues, requires modernization of the nation's flood maps
In a rare show of unity, Democrats and Republicans on the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass a five-year extension to the National Flood Insurance Program that includes a mandate to improve the nation’s flood maps. The bill provides $500 million a year over five years for updating maps and modernizing technology to identify high-risk zones.
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Housing starts decline in May, signaling a slowdown in production

Housing starts fall 0.9% in May
Housing starts reversed course in May, signaling a slowdown in production, according to the latest report from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Navy Federal Credit Union Economist Robert Frick said another weak housing report shows the housing industry is far from producing homes at a rate to satisfy demand.
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Fannie Mae downgrades economic forecast citing "ratcheting up of trade tensions"

Says 2020 will be the worst year since the Great Recession
Fannie Mae downgraded its forecast for U.S. economic growth, citing a "ratcheting up of trade tensions," and said 2020 will see the worst economy in more than a decade. The mortgage giant revised its projection for GDP growth to 1.5% for next year, which would be the worst performance since a 2.5% contraction in 2009, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
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Homebuilder confidence weakens as cost concerns mount

Builder sentiment slides two points to 64 in June
As cost and labor concerns continue to grow, homebuilder confidence retreated to 64 points in June, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde said while demand for single-family homes remains sound, builders continue to report rising development and construction costs, with some additional concerns over trade issues.
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Dueling polls on Fed's next move suggest the safe bet is a July rate cut

Only 2 out of 46 economists in WSJ poll say the FOMC will act at next week's meeting
Traders in futures markets are signaling a 22.5% probability of a Fed rate cut next week and an 86% chance of a cut at or before its July 30-31 meeting, according to CME Group. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal gave a different picture: About 0.5% said they expect a move next week and 40% pegged it to the July gathering. That makes July the safe bet, with perhaps language added to the FOMC’s June statement aimed at reassuring markets.
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Almost 1 in 5 American households expect to move in next year, Fed report says

Highest May reading in 2 years comes as more Americans are uncertain about their financial futures
About 19% of American households surveyed in May expected to move in the next 12 months, according to the Survey of Consumer Expectations report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Households also reported lower expectations of future income growth.
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Amazon's home ranks as best state economy in WalletHub study, Alaska is worst

Utah is second, followed by Massachusetts and California
Washington ranked as the best state economy for 2019, followed by Utah, Massachusetts and California, according to a WalletHub study. Alaska had the worst economy, followed by Louisiana, Mississippi, Hawaii and West Virginia. "U.S. economic growth depends heavily on the performance of individual states, but some contribute more than others," the report stated.
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Tumbling mortgage rates have made 6.8 million people "refi eligible"

This week's 21-month low added almost 1 million borrowers to the pool
When the average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped to a 21-month low this week, it pulled almost 1 million more mortgage holders into the pool of homeowners who are "refi eligible." There are now 6.8 million mortgage holders who would benefit from a refinancing, according to Black Knight.
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U.S. job growth cools as economic tensions heat up

The nation's unemployment rate holds steady at 3.6% in May
In May, the U.S. economy added only 75,000 jobs, according to the latest Employment Situation Summary report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions Chief Economist said that this report, combined with nerves around tariffs, will be enough to force a rate cut from the Fed in either June or July.
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WSJ: Chance of a rate cut at next FOMC meeting is 25% as trade worries mount

"Darker economic outlook" may force policymakers to take accommodative stance
The chance the Federal Reserve will cut its benchmark rate in two weeks at its next meeting in Washington, D.C., is mounting as trade tensions threaten the economy. Traders in futures markets are putting about a 25% chance of a rate cut at the June 18-19 meeting and a 75% chance of a cut at the meeting after that, on July 30-31, according to data from CME Group.
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