November 2013

Fixed Mortgage Rates Rise

Mortgage rates ticked up this week, with the average 30-year fixed rate loan rising to 4.29 percent from 4.22 percent a week earlier, according to Freddie Mac. The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage also moved up, from 3.27 percent to 3.3 percent.

Mortgage rates have risen over the last six months in anticipation the Federal Reserve may begin to taper its bond buying program, which has the effect of holding down interest rates. 

Fired Pizza Hut Manager To Get Job Back

The Pizza Hut manager who was fired for refusing to open on Thanksgiving has been offered his job back. 

Tony Rohr became a national folk hero earlier this week when he told the honchos at Pizza Hut he wouldn’t open his store up on the holiday. The move cost him his job, but that was before the story went viral. Rohr’s firing received nationwide media coverage and the mild-mannered pizza store manager was interviewed several times on television.


Pizza Hut Manager Fired for Refusing to Open on Thanksgiving

An Elkhart, Indiana Pizza Hut manager is earning praise after he refused to open his store on Thanksgiving Day. Tony Rohr decided enough was enough after the restaurant chain said it wanted its employees to work the holiday to squeeze out more profits. 

Rohr wasn’t having it, calling the company decision “a greedy, immoral request.” He felt terrible about asking his team to work on the holiday and wasn’t afraid to say so.


Latest Case-Shiller Home Price Index Shows Fastest Gains Since 2006

U.S. single-family home prices posted their strongest annual gains in September in more than seven years, according to the latest figures from S&P’s Case-Shiller home price index.

The index of 20 U.S. cities rose 0.7 percent from the previous month and 13.3 percent from September of last year.

Price gains were most pronounced in the West, where some economists fear another housing bubble is forming. Home prices in Las Vegas rose 29.1 percent year-over-year, while San Francisco and Los Angeles were close behind with 25.7 percent and 21.8 percent increases, respectively.

Pending Home Sales Plunge

Pending home sales fell for the fifth straight month in October, confirming a sharp slowdown in U.S. housing activity. Signed contracts for new and existing homes declined by 0.6 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors(NAR). Sales fell most in the West, where deteriorating affordability has sidelined many potential buyers.

Golden State Economy Kicks Into High Gear

The Golden State’s economy was a job creating machine last month – California employers added 39,800 positions and the official unemployment rate fell to 8.7 percent, close to its lowest level since before the financial crisis.

In the past year, California's job creation record has been bettered by only one other state: Texas. Since October 2012, California has added 207,300 jobs, while Texas tops the list at 267,400.

Fewer Atlanta Homeowners Underwater

Optimism is returning to the Atlanta housing market five years after the financial crisis. A report by found fewer metro Atlanta homeowners were “underwater” in the third quarter, where they owed more on their mortgage than their home was worth. 


Late Credit Card Payments Rise

Late credit card payments spiked in the third quarter, according to credit reporting agency TransUnion.

The agency said on Thursday that the rate of late payments 90 days past due was 1.36 percent in the July to September quarter, up from 1.27 percent in the previous quarter.

TransUnion says the rise is due in part to seasonal factors.

“The credit card delinquency rate typically rises in the third quarter, partly because of back-to-school spending,” said Toni Guitart, director of research at TransUnion.


Mortgage Rates Dip

U.S. mortgage rates fell this week. Freddie Mac said on Thursday that the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage dipped to 4.22 percent from 4.35 percent last week. Meanwhile, the average 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.27 percent from 3.35 percent.

Rates have certainly eased over the last two months, after spiking more than a full percentage point over the summer on speculation the Federal Reserve would reduce the pace of its bond purchases. 

Oregon Health Exchange Still Not Running

If you thought the federal health exchange was bad, you should try using the one built by Oregon. Dubbed “Cover Oregon,” the online exchange has yet to enroll a single subscriber, requiring residents to fill out paper applications instead.