Apple buys UK fintech start-up Credit Kudos. Credit Kudos develops software that uses consumers’ banking data to make more informed credit checks on loan applications. The company operates in a nascent space in the world of fintech known as “open banking.” It is not yet clear what Apple has planned for Credit Kudos. Apple has been expanding into financial services over the years.
Mortgage refinance demand plunges 14%, as interest rates spike higher. The number of high-quality refi candidates was already down more than 75% through last week – these latest jumps will likely cut that population even further. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($647,200 or less) increased to 4.50% from 4.27%. Read more here.
Arizona to support digital driver’s licenses in Apple Wallet on iPhone. The first state to do so. iPhone owners in Arizona are now able to load their driver’s licenses or state ID into their iPhone’s wallet app, Apple announced on Wednesday. The digital ID will allow holders to pass through TSA checkpoints in Sky Harbor International Airport, in Arizona.
U.S. new-home sales declined in February for a second month. Purchases of new single-family homes decreased 2% to a 772,000 annualized pace following a downwardly revised 788,000 in January, government data showed Wednesday. The drop in sales suggests buyers are shying away from the market amid high home prices and rising mortgage rates as the Federal Reserve tightens policy.
Elon Musk opens Tesla’s first European factory. Elon Musk formally kicked off customer deliveries at Tesla Inc.’s first European factory outside Berlin, marking a milestone in the electric-car maker’s international expansion. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed the plant as an economic boost for eastern Germany, which is still catching up with the country’s wealthier west more than three decades after reunification.
Rents keep shooting up. February was the seventh straight month where rent price increases were in the double digits costing renters nationally an average of 17.1% more than what they paid last year. In Miami, rents jumped 55% since February of last year followed by Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville. Austin, TX; San Diego; Las Vegas; Phoenix; San Antonio, TX; and Memphis, TN, rounded out the top 10 metros seeing the highest rent increases. Read more here.
Luxury housing developers turn to senior-living projects. The massive generational shift of retiring baby boomers is rejiggering the economics of the entire senior housing industry. The looming prospect of mass baby boomer retirees – and the generation's considerable wealth – is driving market segmentation to cater to more luxury-seeking clientele.
WHAT TO WATCH
The US has signaled it will join European allies and escalate sanctions on Russia this week. The White House also warned the conflict in Ukraine would not end easily or rapidly. Officials offered few details, but they said President Joe Biden would announce measures during his visit to Europe. His trip begins today in Brussels. The US president will also meet with NATO and G7 partners. Source(0:49)
Stellantis, LG Energy Solution to invest $4.1 billion in Canadian EV battery plant. Automaker Stellantis and LG Energy Solution will invest about $4.1 billion through a joint venture to establish the first large-scale, domestic, electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in Canada. Construction of the plant in Windsor, Ontario is scheduled to begin later this year with operations planned to launch in the first quarter of 2024. Source.
Hispanic homeownership could hit 50% by 2025. In 2021, the Hispanic homeownership rate rose to 48.4 percent, compared to 47.5 percent in 2019. These individuals were able to take advantage of record-low interest rates. Latino youth, high workforce participation, and commitment to homeownership attainment reassure that future growth in the homebuyer market remains largely dependent on the Latino population. Read more here.
The ‘Yield Curve’ is close to inverting. Wall Street typically looks at the relationship between the 10-year Treasury note and the 2-year Treasury note. Right now, the 10-year yield is just 0.21 percentage points higher than the 2-year yield, down from a 1.17 percentage point differential six months ago. Investors should watch out for an inversion in the yield curve that would suggest rising odds of a looming recession.