Interest Rate Watch: The Federal Reserve Board officials who set the course of short-term interest rates will meet this week, and Southern California’s struggling residential real estate industry will be watching. Falling mortgage rates have helped regional home sales, but the boost has not been as strong or as long-lasting as had been hoped for. July home sales in Southern California fell 19.3% from June, according to Dataquick Information Systems. “It was surprising; we thought that we would have sales going up,” Dataquick’s John Karovoll said. Conventional 30-year mortgage rates, which fell steadily through much of the spring and early summer, have risen recently, climbing to 7.94% this week, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. Those real estate brokers and home buyers looking for further rate cuts will probably be disappointed. The Fed, which last month cut its benchmark federal funds rate by a quarter of a percentage point, to 5.75%, is expected to leave rates alone.
<i> Times Staff Reports</i>