Mortgage rates fall to new all-time low

U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week as the key 30-year loan reached a new all-time low for the tenth time this year.

Home loan rates have marked a year-long decline amid economic anxiety in the recession set off by the coronavirus pandemic. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year mortgage fell to 2.81% from 2.87% last week. By contrast, the rate averaged 3.69% a year ago.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 2.35% from 2.37%.

The low borrowing rates have bolstered demand by prospective homebuyers. But the demand has been constrained by the economic hardship brought by the coronavirus pandemic as well as the scarcity of available homes for sale.


Amazon Prime Day spurs holiday buying

Black Friday, the traditional kickoff to the holiday season, is more than a month away, but Amazon Prime Day — delayed until Oct. 13-14 — got at least some shoppers to get a head start. Nearly 30% of people who shopped at Amazon on Prime Day purchased holiday gifts, according to a report from Chicago-based research firm Numerator.

"Amazon's strategy to hold Prime Day as a precursor to the holiday shopping season seems to have paid off. While most Prime Day buyers still plan to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they plan to spend less than last year," Numerator analyst Amanda Schoenbauer said in an emailed statement.

It's not clear how much consumers spent at Amazon, but one estimate said the company could see sales of close to $10 billion from the event.

The average Amazon order was $44.21, down from $59.02 in 2019, and had 1.6 items.


Utility cuts off Tesla for unpaid water bill

A German utility company says it has shut down the pipes supplying Tesla with water for the construction of a factory near Berlin because the automaker hasn't paid its bills.

A spokeswoman for the company WSE said Thursday that Tesla was given repeated warnings its water supply would be turned off.

"The 14-day notice period has expired," Sandra Ponesky told The Associated Press. "We can't treat Tesla any differently than other customers."

Tesla is building it first European factory outside the German capital and aims to eventually build 500,000 electric vehicles there. It wasn't immediately clear how the lack of water would affect construction work at the site in Gruenheide, which has been taking place at breakneck speed.

Tesla didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ponesky said that as soon as the company pays its bills, a worker would be sent out to turn the tap back on again. She declined to say how much Tesla owes.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner