Average US 30-year mortgage rate rises to 4.19 percent

Published: Thursday, January 26, 2017 @ 10:18 AM
Updated: Thursday, January 26, 2017 @ 10:17 AM


            This Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, photo shows a house for sale, in Miami. On Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, Freddie Mac reports on the week’s average U.S. mortgage rates. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
This Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, photo shows a house for sale, in Miami. On Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, Freddie Mac reports on the week’s average U.S. mortgage rates. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Long-term US mortgage rates rose this week after three weeks of declines, marking their first increase of the year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year fixed-rate loans climbed to an average 4.19 percent from 4.09 percent last week. That was still sharply higher than a 30-year rate that averaged 3.65 percent for all of 2016, the lowest level recorded from records going back to 1971. A year ago, the benchmark rate stood at 3.79 percent.

The average for a 15-year mortgage increased to 3.40 percent from 3.34 percent last week.

Mortgage rates surged in the weeks since the election of Donald Trump in early November. Investors in Treasury bonds bid yield rates higher because they believe the president-elect's plans for tax cuts and higher spending on roads, bridges and airports will drive up economic growth and inflation.

That would depress prices of long-term Treasury bonds because inflation would erode their value over time, a prospect that caused investors to demand higher yields.

In the latest week, the price of the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond dropped, pushing up its yield.

Bond yields move opposite to prices and influence long-term mortgage rates. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.52 percent Wednesday from 2.42 percent a week earlier. The yield continued its steady march higher since Election Day Nov. 8, when it stood at 1.87 percent. It held steady at 2.52 percent Thursday morning.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage fell this week to 0.4 point from 0.5 point. The fee on 15-year loans also slipped to 0.4 point from 0.5 point.

Rates on adjustable five-year loans eased to 3.20 percent from 3.21 percent. The fee was unchanged at 0.4 point.

Donald Trump: Only modern president without pets in the White House

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 10:45 PM

WASHINGTON - MARCH 15:  U.S. President Barack Obama greets his dog Bo outside the Oval Office of the White House March 15, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Martin H. Simon-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON - MARCH 15: U.S. President Barack Obama greets his dog Bo outside the Oval Office of the White House March 15, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Martin H. Simon-Pool/Getty Images)(Pool/Getty Images)

The Trump White House is likely to become known for many things, but cute and cuddly is apparently not one of them. Breaking from tradition, the First Family has not welcomed pets into their lair.

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"There are no plans at this time" to add animals to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Communications Director Stephanie Grisham told CNN. That would make the Trumps "the only first family in modern presidential history without a pet," CNN says.

Ivanka Trump wrote about her ex-husband's ambivalence toward her poodle, Chappy, in her memoir, Raising Trump. Chappy "had an equal dislike of Donald," she was also quoted as saying.

In recent times, dogs have been the most common furry friend at the White House. Who doesn't remember the Portuguese water dogs, Bo and Sunny, who frolicked with the Obamas, or the many mutts of the Bush presidents. George W. Bush's dog, Spot, was born at the White House, the offspring of Millie, during George H.W. Bush's administration. George W. and Laura also had terriers, Miss Beazley and Barney, famous for his "Barney Cam" videos.

But the history of First Family pets is also full of unusual sidekicks, from James Buchanan's elephants to Martin Van Buren's tiger cubs, according to CNN. Though unconfirmed, legend has it that John Quincy Adams had an alligator.

Many of these more unusual animals were gifts. First families with young children often went more traditional, taking full advantage of the benefits of living at America's most famous residence.

The Kennedy White House included a pony, horses, hamsters, dogs, parakeets, a canary, a rabbit and a cat. Pets "help create an atmosphere of the White House as a family, a lived-in place and not just a stiff museum, but a place where a family lives and plays and enjoys each other's company," the chief historian at the White House Historical Association, Ed Lengel, told CNN.

But it's not like the Trump administration is bereft of pet-lovers. Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence keep a menagerie at their nearby home at the U.S. Naval Observatory.

Their rabbit, Marlon Bundo, is a social media star with his own Instagram account. One of their longtime cats, Oreo, recently passed away but they've since added a new kitten, Hazel, who joins another feline, Pickles. The family's beloved 13-year-old beagle, Maverick, died days before the election. But an Australian shepherd puppy, Harley, has happily joined the family. 
More famous First Family pets 
• Thomas Jefferson: A mockingbird and several bear cubs.
• Woodrow Wilson: A flock of sheep and a ram, who grazed the White House lawn.
• William Taft: A Holstein cow named Pauline.
• Warren Harding: Laddie Boy, an Airedale terrier who had his own chair in the Roosevelt Room for Cabinet meetings.
• Calvin Coolidge: First Lady Grace Coolidge had an opossum and a raccoon, which she walked on a leash.
• Theodore Roosevelt: Nearly 30 pets, including his bulldog, Pete, famous for tearing the pants off the French ambassador.
• Richard Nixon: Checkers the cocker spaniel.
• Jimmy Carter: Daughter Amy had a Siamese cat named Misty Malarky Ying Yang. 
• Ronald Reagan: Rex, a King Charles spaniel.
• Bill Clinton: Socks the cat.

Vegetables sold at Walmart, Trader Joe's recalled for Listeria

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 9:43 PM

Mann Packing recalled various vegetable products over Listeria concerns. (Photo: Food and Drug Administration)
Mann Packing recalled various vegetable products over Listeria concerns. (Photo: Food and Drug Administration)

Mann Packing is voluntarily recalling various vegetable products sold at Walmart, Trader Joe's and Target over concerns of Listeria monocytogenes, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The company said “a single positive” test result in random sampling by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency sparked the decision to issue the recall notice. Listeria infection can cause fever, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms and even miscarriages.

"As an owner of this company and a mom, providing safe and healthy foods to our consumers and their families is always our top priority," Gina Nucci, director of corporate marketing, said in a release.

The recall includes Brussels sprouts, broccoli and vegetable medley products distributed throughout the United States and Canada with “best if used by” dates from Oct. 11 to 20.

Affected items include:

  • Walmart 12-oz. bags of broccoli cauliflower florets, broccoli florets and stir fry medley, 32-oz. bags of broccoli florets, 16-oz. bags of broccoli slaw, 10-ounce bags of cauliflower florets and super blend, 6/16-oz. bags of cauliflower and 2-lb. bags of vegetable medley.

  • Trader Joe's, 10-ounce bags of kohlrabi salad blend.

  • Archer Farms 12-oz. bags of broccoli slaw, broccoli cauliflower florets, broccoli medley and brussels sprouts, 9-oz. bags of shaved brussels sprouts and 10-oz. bags of cauliflower florets.

Aldi supermarkets also issued recall notices for Mann products.

Conjoined twins thriving after surgery to separate them

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 8:33 PM

Conjoined twins were separated and are thriving. (Photo: WSOCTV.com)
Conjoined twins were separated and are thriving. (Photo: WSOCTV.com)

Conjoined twins from Mooresville are thriving nearly five months after a long surgery to separate them.

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Erin and Abby DeLaney, 15-month-old girls, were attached at the top of their heads.

Their surgery, which was on June 6, took 11 hours, but it was a success. They were recently discharged from the hospital.

The family said it is grateful to the team at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Priscilla Presley parts ways with Church of Scientology, reports say

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 8:06 PM

File photo.  (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Dream Foundation)
Jesse Grant
File photo. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Dream Foundation)(Jesse Grant)

Priscilla Presley has quit the Church of Scientology, 40 years after she joined, according to the Daily Mail.

“I’ve had enough. I’m done,” Presley reportedly said.

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Presley — who initially joined the church after the death of her husband, Elvis — allegedly told friends she was leaving.

The church’s membership includes a long list of Hollywood celebrities, including John Travolta and Tom Cruise.

“Priscilla reached out to John Travolta after Elvis died in 1977, and that’s how she ended up in the church,” the source said. “She has been in it ever since, and she raised her daughter, Lisa Marie, in it.”

Lisa Marie Presley left the church in 2014, which apparently made remaining with the church a difficult task for her mother.

“They are very close as a family, and leaving the church has been a family decision,” the source claims.

In recent years, several celebs have ditched the church, including Katie Holmes and Nicole Kidman, who are both ex-wives of Tom Cruise, still a member himself. The testimonies and interviews of former member Leah Remini; one of the stars of the popular sitcom, “King of Queens,” appear to be impacting the church.