The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continued to hover near its all-time low, offering low borrowing costs to home shoppers and refinancers. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.73% again this week; its all-time low was 2.65%, which was set in early January, Freddie Mac reports.
“Mortgage rates remained flat this week and near record lows, signifying an economy that continues to struggle,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “This rate environment is advantageous for those who are looking to refinance in order to strengthen their financial position. While many have already refinanced, the evidence suggests that upper-income homeowners have taken advantage of the opportunity more so than lower-income homeowners who could stand to benefit the most by lowering their monthly mortgage payment.” Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Feb. 4:
30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.73%, with an average 0.7 point, unchanged from last week. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.45%.
15-year fixed-rate mortgage: averaged 2.21%, with an average 0.6 point, rising slightly from last week’s 2.20% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.97%.
5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.78%, with an average 0.3 point, dropping from last week’s 2.80% average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.32%.
Freddie Mac reports average commitment rates with average points to reflect the total upfront costs of obtaining a mortgage.
Homes sales in South Central Kansas rose by 18.5% in January compared to the prior year. Sales inJanuary 2021 totaled 763 units, up from 644 in 2020.Among existing homes, 702 units sold in January, an increase of 18.6% from 592 units that sold in 2020.The average sale price of existing homes was $192,225. This represents an increase of 24.4% from theJanuary 2020 average price of $154,493.
A total of 854 contracts for sale were written in January 2021, up from 758 in January 2020. This is anincrease of 12.7%. Contracts written during the month reflect, in part, sales that are set to close in thenear future.The inventory of active listings in South Central Kansas stood at 885 units at the end of January, which isdown from 1,735 homes that were on the market at the end of January last year. At the current rate ofsales, this figure represents 0.9 months' supply of homes on the market.
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TCG FAVORITE RECIPES
Well the Groundhog certainly saw his shadow! The temperatures have been below freezing now for about 2 weeks. We are sharing a great winter weather soup and 10 Inventive uses for leftover Valentine's Chocolate!
Creamy Taco Soup
for this COLD weather!
1poundlean ground beef
2(10 fluid ounce)cans Ro-tel diced tomatoes & green chilies
1/2 TBSP chili powder
1(12 fluid ounce)can corndrained
1(15 fluid ounce)can black beansdrained & rinsed
1(8 ounce)block of cream cheese
Salt & pepperto taste
Toppings (optional): grated cheddar, avocado, cilantro, tortilla strips, etc.
How to Make It
Take the cream cheese out of the fridge to let it soften up.
Add the ground beef to a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Brown the beef and drain the fat.
Add all the ingredients except for the cream cheese and salt & pepper.
Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Turn down the heat so it's simmering gently for 8 minutes. While the soup cooks, prep your toppings.
Cut the cream cheese into smaller pieces and add it to the soup. Let it melt in (you may have to stir it a fair bit until it's fully dissolved). Season the soup with salt & pepper and serve with toppings as desired.
10 Inventive Uses for Leftover Valentine’s Chocolate
The day of love has come and gone, but the mounds of gifted chocolate will remain for weeks to come. Instead of forcing yourself to nibble on foil-wrapped hearts until May (or freezing them until forever), find cool ways to turn those leftover sweets into new treats. The possibilities are endless, but here are 10 ideas to help get you started.
1. CHOCOLATE FONDUE
Leftover milk chocolate plus marshmallow crème makes for one delicious party platter. Simply melt the chocolate, then mix in a 7-ounce jar of crème, ¾ cup of heavy whipping cream, 3 ounces of white baking chocolate, and ¼ cup toasted almonds, plus a dash of almond extract. Serve with fresh fruit or cubed pound cake. 2. CHOCOLATE-COVERED BACON
There is no wrong way to eat bacon, which means that there are numerous right ways to eat it. A drizzle of melted white and dark chocolate is one of those right ways. Many recipes you’ll come across for chocolate-covered bacon are pretty straightforward, and involve just 10 minutes or so of prep time. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes, and you’ve got yourself a sweet-and-savory post-Valentine’s Day snack. 3. LAVA CAKE
A warm treat with a molten surprise inside—made of yesterday’s date night gift, of course—is like celebrating twice. 4. POPCORN DRIZZLE
Chocolate-covered popcorn is a delicious alternative to the salty, buttery theater staple that you’re used to, and you can make it as simple or as involved as you like. Simply pop the popcorn, drip some chocolate on top, and start snacking away. Or, add in a few more ingredients like cocoa powder and vanilla, place the mixture on an oiled pan, and bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 5. HOMEMADE TRAIL MIX
Good trail mix demands the presence of tasty chocolate. Grab a few other essentials (nuts, raisins, seeds), mix in chopped Valentine’s goodies, and you’re ready to hit the trail (or gym). 6. SWEET FRENCH TOAST
Treat friends (or that special someone) to a post-Valentine’s Day brunch. The standout on your menu: Chocolate-and-banana french toast. 7. MODIFIED S’MORES
The chocolate component of a s’more is traditionally a bar, but who says it has to be? Break the rules and use whatever pieces you have lying around, even if they have nuts or other added ingredients. You may end up creating your new favorite campfire tradition. 8. STRAWBERRY HEARTS
Cut strawberries lengthwise, placing them flat side-down, so that the two halves form the general shape of a heart. (Stick a toothpick through the berry to keep them secure.) Melt some chocolate in the microwave (a minute or two should do the trick), then pour over the fruit. Refrigerate for an hour and serve. 9. BARBECUE SAUCE
Reusing chocolate doesn’t always have to be a sweet endeavor. Experiment with ways to make it add a hint of chocolate to savory condiments, like barbecue or other sauces. If you’re not sure where to begin, great recipes are just a web search away. 10. HOT COCOA
If you have access to a powerful blender (plus melted chocolate, espresso powder, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and whole milk), you’ve got everything you need to whip up this wintertime staple.