Mortgage Rates Tick Up; Still Lower Than a Year Ago

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Mortgage Rates
Bill Sikes/AP
WASHINGTON -- Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages edged up slightly this week, remaining near historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the nationwide average rate for a 30-year loan rose to 4.15 percent from 4.12 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage increased to 3.24 percent from 3.22 percent.

Mortgage rates are slightly lower than they were at the same time last year, having fallen recently after climbing last summer. That's when the Federal Reserve began talking about reducing the monthly bond purchases it has been using to keep long-term interest rates low.

Rates have fallen modestly this year as Fed officials have signaled strongly that while they are trimming the bond purchases, they are in no rush to start boosting a key short-term rate the Fed controls.

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The 7 Best Things to Buy in July
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Mortgage Rates Tick Up; Still Lower Than a Year Ago
It's time to hit the thrift stores, consignment shops and furniture outlets. Now that most people have done their spring cleaning and renovating, their used furniture is on the market. That means a hefty supply, plus low prices since stores only have so much space. You can also find discounted new furniture in July, because the next year's models arrive in stores in early August. Don't be afraid to try to negotiate on prices. It often works.
Electronics -- computers and tablets specifically -- see decreases in price starting in early July. These prices continue to drop as the school year gets closer, and best way to stay on top of the hottest deals is to sign up for e-newsletters from retailers. Remember to take advantage of company and educational discounts that may be available to you, and to negotiate for free or discounted accessories.
Bottled water goes on sale throughout July as a lure to get you into stores. it also gets purchased more frequently throughout the summer -- the natural result of barbecue and picnic season, when people entertain and spend more time outdoors. So if you drink bottled water year-round, stock up now.
If you can manage, hold off purchasing your new grill until after the Fourth of July, when mark-downs approach 50 percent off. This applies to grilling accessories, too, including grill baskets and utensils. Also, check consignment shops and thrift stores. Many people buy new grills for the Fourth of July and donate or sell their old ones.
Speaking of grilling, among the hottest buys during July are condiments for burgers and hot dogs: mustard, ketchup, relish, sour cream, sauerkraut, mayonnaise and pickles, etc. Buy in bulk, and pair in-store specials with coupons for super-low prices on these summer must-haves.
If you're in the market for a sweet new pair of jeans, July is the best time to buy them. Few people buy jeans during one of the hottest months of the year, so retailers put them on sale to move them. Stores also get new jeans in the late summer in anticipation of fall shopping season, so they're eager to sell old ones to make room for new duds.
Formal suits are also seldom purchased during the middle of summer. Consequently, many suit retailers will hold sales to keep business moving. If you have an upcoming formal wedding to attend -- or if you simply need new suits for work and special occasions -- July is the best time to buy.
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