June and July have been strong economically, with a Federal Reserve rate cut, strong housing, and other economic factors, as well as low unemployment and rising household income. A defining characteristic of West Virginians is our ability to weather some economic uncertainty and thrive. This month’s recap shows us just how our communities endure and grow.
Interest Rate Cut
The Federal Reserve cut its key interest rate by one-quarter of a percentage point on July 31st in an effort to provide a continued boost to the economy. The new lending rate is now set between 2 percent and 2.25percent. Lower rates typically ripple through the economy by spurring business investment and increasing consumer spending. Interest rate cuts are always felt in the mortgage and housing sector, both for purchasing and refinancing. What this means for the overall economy as we head into the 4th quarter remains to be seen, especially in light of pending proposed tariffs on Chinese imported goods. Read more: Federal Rate Cut
Freddie Mac is a leading source for mortgage rate forecasting, and they recently cut their previously-predicted rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages from 2019 from 5.1 percent to 4.1 percent. This is significant as it can mean a larger home or a more desired neighborhood for buyers, and provide budget breathing room for people refinancing. With inventory still tight, an interest rate drop like this could be what they’ve been waiting for. However, this can also drive home prices up. At the moment these are predictions, so the true impact of the historic low mortgage rates remains to be seen.
Statewide, housing and employment numbers remain strong. Employment rose 0.3 percent in June, real personal income rose 1.3 percent, and unemployment is down 0.5 percent over June 2018. Housing remains strong as well, with state-wide home values appreciating 1.8 percent in May and 3.0 percent on a year-over-year basis. West Virginia’s mortgage delinquency rate has decreased yearly since 2011. Personally, I love seeing the growth and strength in our state’s economy and housing. I hope to see it continue! Economy Snapshot
School Supplies For Tickets
Spencer is offering to forgive unpaid parking tickets in exchange for school supplies! What a fantastic idea – buying one item from a list of elementary, middle, or high school supplies will wipe your parking ticket slate clean! It’s a one-for-one program (one school supply item = one unpaid ticket cleared) and supplies can be dropped off at the city’s municipal building. I call that a win-win.
Read Aloud West Virginia, a non-profit focused on changing “the literacy culture of West Virginia” is looking for volunteers to regularly read to children around the state. They currently have 205 schools throughout West Virginia enrolled in the program, including Berkeley County. With schools starting up again this coming week, now is a perfect time to get started making a difference. Go to their website to learn more about this fantastic organization and find a school near you!
West Virginia Football’s Exciting New Era
New head coach Neal Brown is proving to be an exciting addition to the program. The team held their first official practice in late July and the players have reported a feeling of energy they haven’t felt for a long time. The Mountaineers are ranked number 7 in the Big 12 and are set to open their season against James Madison on August 31st. We can’t wait! Check out the game schedule and get tickets.
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