Mortgage Rates record lows this week, Refinancing, Holiday Shopping Season, Halloween spending

September 23, 2016

Friday – September 23

Mortgage rates continued to hover just above record lows this week, and the low rates have helped the refinancing end of the spectrum remained high. Freddie Mac reported that the 30-year fixed conventional mortgage rate ($417,000 or less), edged lower to 3.48% from 3.50% with 0.6 in points and fees. Last year this time the 30-year fixed was 3.90%. Low rates have fueled the housing market for the past six years, after the housing bubble burst back in 2008 and early 2009.

With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, retailers are gearing up for what they hope will be a banner season for sales. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports that retailers will hire 700,000 seasonal positions this season, below the 739,000 that were hired last year. This year, the average hourly wage for seasonal workers is expected to be around $14, up from $10 last year. The seasonal hiring will begin earlier than usual this year, due to competition for shoppers’ dollars and the promotions that begin earlier every year.

Halloween spending is expected to hit its highest level according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation. Consumers are expected to shell out a record $8.4 billion this year for an average of $82.93 per shopper, up from $74.34 last year, with 171 million Americans planning to revel in festivities this year. According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.1 billion on costumes, $2.5 billion on candy, $2.4 billion on decorations and $390 million on greeting cards.