Americans stepped up their spending on cars, restaurant meals, groceries, and clothing in August, suggesting that consumers will help sustain U.S. growth despite a broader global slowdown . The Commerce Department said last week that retail sales rose 0.2 percent in August, after advancing 0.7 percent in July. Sales have increased 2.2 percent over the past 12 months, as solid hiring has translated into surges in spending at auto dealerships and dining establishments.
What did the Fed do? As expected, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates near zero in a decision seen as an indicator that officials still lacked confidence in the strength of domestic economy in light of “recent global economic and financial developments.” The Fed still plans to raise interest rates this year, according to new economic projections published last week. Any debt with a floating, rather than fixed interest rate, could gradually get more expensive after the Fed finally moves. Homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMS, may want to refinance to get a fixed-rate mortgage. Their monthly payments may go up in the process, but they’ll be locking in some of the lowest fixed-mortgage rates in history. However, I personally can see the Fed waiting until after the first of the year to raise rates.
Home sales in the San Antonio area cooled off in August, dipping about 14 percent from July, according to data released by the San Antonio Board of Realtors. But, that’s common for this time of year with the start of school, real estate agents say. However, August home sales still were up 5.1 percent compared to last year at this time. Plus, median home prices were up 7.7 percent, in August compared to the same time period last year. The August median home price stood at $197,100 for the San Antonio area.
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