Consumer spending struggles despite affordable interest rates

Following the Great Recession, mortgage rates began a steady upward climb. Over the past year, rates have surged from nearly 3 percent all the way up to almost 5 percent. For a while, it appeared that no end was in sight, but 2014 has brought about a different trend.

Following the Great Recession, mortgage rates began a steady upward climb. Over the past year, rates have surged from nearly 3 percent all the way up to almost 5 percent. For a while, it appeared that no end was in sight, but 2014 has brought about a different trend.

Since the start of this year, rates have actually shifted back down and remain historically affordable. This is good news for many homebuyers across the country, and it would make sense if real estate agents started to see business increase.

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.20 percent for the week ending May 15, slightly down on a weekly basis. This is also true for the 15-year FRM, now at 3.29 percent compared to 3.32 percent. 

"Mortgage rates were little changed amid a week of light economic reports," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac. "These lower than expected rates are welcome news with the spring homebuying season underway and may even provide those who haven't already refinanced possibly a reason to take another look."

Consumer spending remains flat
Given these affordable interest rates, it would make sense if more consumers took the opportunity to increase their personal spending, either using home equity or credit cards. However, MarketWatch reported that this isn't the case.

Instead, the recent financial crisis may still be on the minds of many Americans, the news source noted. That may even be true for those who refinanced to drastically cut their monthly mortgage payments. To further complicate matters, job creation isn't advancing as rapidly as some would hope and the number of jobless workers remains high.

To help convince homebuyers and sellers to make a move in this market, real estate agents will need access to high-quality information. Thanks to CRS Data, this is easier than ever before. Instead of making a trip to the local courthouse, access mortgage records, warranty deeds and much more online.



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