Stimulus talks resume, home prices rise: What today's news means for your money

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have resumed talks about a new coronavirus stimulus package. Meanwhile, home prices are on the rise.


Home mortgage applications are way up, and you might be one step closer to getting that additional stimulus check. Here's how today's headlines could affect your money:

More people are buying, refinancing homes 

Mortgage applications are up 28% from last year, according to a Wednesday report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, while refinancing applications are up 40%. Credit a continued streak of record-low mortgage rates. According to the latest Freddie Mac data, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate is 2.91%. This time last year, it was 3.58%. 

The downside of lower rates: They can increase demand and prices. Home prices in July saw the biggest gains in two years, up 5.5% from 2019 according to CoreLogic. The National Association of Realtors also found that inventory of homes priced under $100,000 was down 32% compared to last year.

Don't let that stop you. Just remember that lower rates will also help improve your buying power, which might take the sting out of rising prices. 

How to make your home-buying dream a reality

Video by Jason Armesto

Stimulus talks, unstalled?

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a House meeting Tuesday that both he and President Donald Trump "support additional fiscal response," adding that he would speak with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about pushing forward a new coronavirus aid package. Pelosi later said the two sides still had "serious differences" to bridge.

Fiscal stimulus talks stalled in August as lawmakers fought over both the allocation of aid and the dollar amount, with Republicans floating a $1 trillion figure and Democrats initially proposing $3.4 trillion. 

What's on the table this time around? A second stimulus check of up to $1,200 per adult and up to $500 per dependent to individual households, funding for Covid testing, an eviction moratorium, and bailing out the USPS to ensure safe Covid-era voting.  

Words you've heard: fiscal stimulus

A fiscal stimulus is an umbrella term for a government-led plan to jump-start an ailing economy through means like cash handouts or raising/lowering interest rates. Don't confuse it with "bailout package," which typically refers to aiding individual industries or entities — the auto industry or the financial services industry, for example. 

Although the daily news can have an impact on your wallet, remember to take a long-term outlook when it comes to decisions on spending, saving, and investing.

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