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GDP Growth Climbs to 4.0% in Q2

The U.S. economy experienced a sharp turnaround from the first quarter to the second, fueling hopes of a rebound as the rest of the year plays out. Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 4.0 percent in the second quarter of the year, according to an advance estimate released by the Commerce Department. Growth came in at the high end of a survey of economists, with the consensus forecast calling for an increase of 3.1 percent.

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Refinancing Falls Further; Cash-Outs Tick Up

After fizzling out over the past several quarters, the post-recession refinance boom officially ended in the quarter, according to data from Freddie Mac. The mortgage behemoth released on Tuesday the results of its quarterly refinance analysis for Q2, showing that refinancing fell in the last three months to below 50 percent of total mortgage activity as rising interest rates have stifled demand.

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Homeownership Down to 19-Year Low

According to an estimate from the Census Bureau, the U.S. homeownership rate was 64.7 percent in the second quarter, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the first quarter's previous low and 0.3 percentage points from the same time last year. It was the lowest rate since 1995. Homeownership continued to slide among the millennial age group, who find themselves burdened by high debt, tight credit conditions, and limited job prospects.

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Consumer Confidence Hits Post-Recession High

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index reached 90.9 in the group's July survey, up from 86.4 in June. As of July, the index stands at its highest level since before the Great Recession. Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said the surge was fueled by strong job growth and a brighter short-term outlook for the labor market and personal incomes.

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Home Price Growth Slows More than Expected

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, released Tuesday, showed house prices gained 9.3 percent across 20 of the country's biggest cities, down substantially from the 10.8 percent increase recorded for April and the slowest growth rate since February 2013. Economists had expected an increase of 9.9 percent for May.

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CFPB Director to Testify About Discrimination Allegations

The House Financial Services Committee is set to hear testimony from CFPB Director Richard Cordray on Wednesday about allegations of discrimination at the bureau. Wednesday's hearing will be the third hearing on the matter following earlier allegations from whistleblowers that CFPB fostered "a culture of racial and gender discrimination and retaliation against its employees."

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Mortgage Loan Risk Recedes

According to the American Enterprise Institute's (AEI) latest National Mortgage Risk Index, the share of home purchase loans at risk of going sour in the event of an economic downturn fell nearly half a percentage point last month to 11.44 percent. According to the group, the risk value of loans securitized in Fannie and Freddie's portfolios fell slightly to 5.8 percent, while the risk index for FHA slipped to 23.6.

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