Interest rates dropped to new lows at the end of the first week in October. Thirty-year fixed-rate conforming loans were available in some areas with an interest rate of less than 4 percent. However, during the same week, mortgage applications dropped 4.3 percent, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.In past markets, low interest rates ignited the home-sale market. Not so today. One reason homebuyers are holding back is that current economic news is anything but comforting. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index plummeted to 45.2 in August. It was 100 in 1985, which was not a particularly robust housing market. The Confidence Index improved marginally in September to 45.4. Economists who previously said we'd avoid a double-dip recession are now not so sure. Economic growth has been slowing nationally and internationally. Even if we don't slip back into a recession, most real estate analysts predict little improvement in the home-sale market for another five...
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