30-year mortgage rate falls to its lowest level in nearly three years

Economic uncertainty drove mortgage rates down, according to Freddie Mac data released Thursday, with the popular 30-year reaching its lowest level in nearly three years. The 30-year fixed-rate average fell to 3.55 percent from 3.60 percent — the lowest since November 2016 — with an average 0.5 point. (Points are fees — equivalent to 1 percent of the loan amount — paid to a lender on top of the interest rate.) It averaged 4.51 percent a year ago. (Wash. Post)

 

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Two Towson commercial hubs change hands for a combined $5.9M

Two high-profile properties in Towson have changed hands for a total of $5.9 million. One of the properties — the former First Mariner Bank branch and office complex at 1641 E. Joppa Road — is located at a high-profile corner on the Joppa Road corridor near the former Bel Loch Diner, now a Starbucks. The property sold in May for $1.5 million to Massachusetts-based investor M&S LP, state records show. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Maryland lottery, casinos set new sales and revenue records in fiscal 2019

Maryland's lottery and casinos brought in record amounts of money last fiscal year, a new report shows. Together, the state-run lottery and six privately owned casinos generated sales and revenue worth nearly $4 billion in fiscal 2019, according to data recently released by Maryland Lottery and Gaming. Of that, $1.3 billion went to the state through required contributions, a 4.7% increase over the year before. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Pr. George’s food incubator, Arlington girls tech startup win UPS Small Biz Challenge

Washington, D.C.-area companies took home both top prizes in a national small business competition from UPS earlier in August. Food business incubator Flavors Culinary Group of Landover and Arlington’s Boolean Girl Tech were the two winners of the annual The UPS Store Small Biz Challenge, which is also sponsored by Inc. Magazine. (Wash. Bus. Journal)

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A trade war with Europe would be larger and more damaging than Washington’s dispute with China

The United States has more to lose from a full-blown trade war with the EU than it does with its current conflict with China, experts have told CNBC. President Donald Trump has kept up his tough rhetoric against the European Union despite focusing on Chinese tariffs in recent months. But his administration is due to decide in November whether to impose duties on one of most important industries in Europe: autos. There have already been tariffs on European steel and aluminum — which led the bloc to impose duties of 25% on $2.8 billion of U.S. products in June 2018, and, there’s an ongoing dispute regarding Airbus and Boeing — (CNBC)

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Family Healthcare of Hagerstown receives nearly $118K in quality improvement grants

Family Healthcare of Hagerstown has a new title as one of the top health centers in the country — one of a number of accomplishments that comes with almost $118,000 in grant funding. The nonprofit facility on South Cleveland Avenue was announced Wednesday as being in the top 20% of health centers nationwide by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its Quality Improvement Awards. In total, nearly $107 million in grants were given out to 1,273 health centers across nearly all U.S. states, territories and Washington, D.C. (Herald-Mail)

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Mayor says he’s confident economic development agency is on track

In response to a board member’s question about whether the Baltimore Development Corp. has lost direction, Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said Wednesday that he believes the city’s economic development agency is serving its purpose. Young, during a regular news conference at City Hall, said he wants to see more development in city neighborhoods. But overall, he said, he’s happy with the agency’s performance. “Their mission really hasn’t changed, except that I told them I want there to be more focus on community development in our city where they haven’t seen development in decades,” Young said, echoing a sentiment often espoused by former Mayor Catherine Pugh. (Daily Record)

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'Stuff like that's going to help downtown': Parade during rush hour doesn't worry employees

Downtown workers aren't too concerned about a parade closing several major roadways on Wednesday night. In fact, some say they're excited. "People love getting out of the office early," said Dave Brown, who provides legal tech support to law firms. All of Brown's afternoon appointments were canceled when the closures were announced, he told me Wednesday morning while standing at the intersection of Pratt and Light streets. The parade is part of the Prince Hall Shriners conference that has brought thousands of visitors into the city this week. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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