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Mortgage rates highest since 2008

Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

Mortgage rates highest since 2008

Mortgage rates have climbed back up to a 14-year high, said Rob Wile at NBCNews. The average fixed rate on a 30-year mortgage hit 5.89 percent last week, the highest since 2008. After surging this spring as the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates, mortgage rates "briefly declined for a period this summer" as mortgage applications dipped. Higher mortgage rates, which have now nearly doubled since January, have significantly impacted potential homebuyers and are beginning to bite sellers, too. "For the first time in nearly 18 months, the average U.S. home sold below its asking price, according to Redfin." The median home sale price in August was $370,000, down 6 percent from June. 

A job deficit for recruiters

Tech-job recruiters have quickly gone from boom times to bust, said Erin Griffith in The New York Times. After years of "aggressive growth and hiring sprees," tech companies have been dialing it back in recent months, and some have even announced layoffs or hiring freezes. That shift has been painful for recruiters, who had been "the frontline soldiers in a war for talent." Last year, "there were more job postings for recruiters in tech — 364,970 — than for software engineers — 342,586." Now some recruiters have been forced to cut back their rates or are getting transferred to work in different departments. Veteran recruiters expect the industry to bounce back. But companies have shifted, they say, from "gumdrops — or 'nice to have' hires" to "painkillers, who are employees that solve an acute problem."

Finders keepers? Not so fast...

A U.S. appeals court overturned a ruling that had allowed hedge funds to keep $500 million that was accidentally wired to them by Citigroup, said Sujeet Indap and Joshua Franklin in the Financial Times. In 2020, Citi mistakenly sent the entire principal and all outstanding interest — roughly $900 million — to creditors of Revlon, the cosmetics giant. Despite the glaring error, several asset managers "refused to return their share," arguing they were owed the money anyway. Citi's error became infamous in finance circles, and the saga has now lasted two years. A federal judge ruled last year that the creditors could keep the money, but the appeals court said that "the circumstances were suspicious enough that the lenders" should have checked with the bank.

This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.

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