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Stagnant Price Growth Drags Down Consumer Spending

Consumer spending turned down in November after nearly a year of steady gains, according to Deloitte's Consumer Spending Index. The index, which tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future spending, comprises four components: tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages, and real home prices. The index dipped from 4.14 in October to 3.89 in November, turning around several months of improvement. The index reflects data through October but does not yet show the complete impact of superstorm Sandy.

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Mortgage Rates Hover as Fed Extends Bond-Buying Program

According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) interest rate averaged 3.32 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending December 13, down slightly from 3.34 percent the previous week. The 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.66 percent (0.6 point), down week-to-week from 2.67 percent. Rates measured by Bankrate's weekly survey were even more sluggish. The 30-year fixed averaged 3.52 percent, a slight increase from last week's low of 3.50 percent.

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FHLB of New York Announces Results of Board Elections

Releasing the results of the financial institution's board elections, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York has announced updates to its directorship. Through the bank's electoral process, appointees were named for two independent director positions and two member director positions, from New Jersey and New York respectively.

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Zillow: Hard-Hit States House Top Sellers’ Markets

In its latest research brief, Zillow analyzes data on actual sales prices compared to asking prices, the number of days listings spent on Zillow, and the percentage of homes on the market with a price cut. With the exception of Seattle and Washington, D.C., the top sellers' markets are all in the West, with six of the top eight located in California. Besides their geographic location, the top sellers' markets have one huge commonality: They were some of the worst-hit markets in the crash.

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FOMC Ties Fed Funds to Unemployment Rate

Fed

Despite recent improvements in the unemployment rate and housing, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted Wednesday to continue its program of purchasing $40 million a month of mortgage backed securities and to maintain the target Fed Funds rate at 0 to 0.25 percent. The FOMC vote was 11-1 with only Richmond Fed President Jeffery M. Lacker dissenting.

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Actress to ‘Flip’ Her Southern California Mansion for $3.55M

Most famous for her real-life role as Charlie Sheen's third ex-wife, actress Brooke Mueller has put her home in Tarzana, California, on the market for $3.55 million, attempting to flip the property one year after purchasing the 0.62-acre estate. According to RealEstalker, Mueller bought the posh pad from former Spice Girl member Mel B for $3 million, which was $159,000 less than the singer and her husband paid for the abode in 2009.

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