• Mortgage Applications Rise, Walmart Plans Staff Cuts

    Mortgage Applications Rise

    Mortgage applications increased 1.2% for the week ended July 29 from the prior week, the latest fluctuation as applications and home sales have slowed significantly in the face of rising interest rates, the Mortgage Bankers Association trade group reported.

    A potential reason for the uptick is that the full effect of last week’s 0.75% hike in the Federal Reserve’s key lending rate, the latest in a series, has not yet been reflected in mortgage rates. The trade group said last week’s home purchase applications rose 1% from the prior week, with refinance applications up 2%.

    “Mortgage rates declined last week following another announcement of tighter monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, with the likelihood of more rate hikes to come,” Joel Kan, the trade group’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement Wednesday. The 30-year fixed rate as of July 29 was 5.43%, down from 5.74% the prior week, with the 15-year fixed rate at 4.74%, down from 4.95%.

    Walmart Plans to Trim Real Estate and Corporate Staffs

    A week after warning that its fiscal second quarter earnings would decline, Walmart Inc. is reported to be cutting about 200 corporate jobs.

    The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the company, the largest private U.S. employer, notified employees at its corporate offices in Bentonville, Arkansas, and elsewhere that cuts were likely to merchandising, technology and real estate departments.

    Walmart said last week that higher costs were causing consumer spending to drop, affecting its bottom line. The company employs about 1.7 million people in the U.S and 2.3 million worldwide.

    Source: www.CoStar.com