Housing

The average starter home in West Virginia is only $42,000

Adapted from howmuch.net; Chart: Axios Visuals

While credit card and auto loan rates aren't falling, mortgage rates are.

What's happening: U.S. mortgage giant Fannie Mae said in a recent report it expects average U.S. 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rates will drop to 3.7% in the second half of 2019, lowered from expectations of 3.9% in the second half analysts predicted just a month ago. Mortgage rates averaged 4.4% in Q1 and 4% in Q2.

Millions of Americans make 5x leveraged bets on their homes

Data: Unison Home Price Volatility Index; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

You wouldn't make a 5x leveraged bet on the S&P 500 — not unless you were an extremely sophisticated financial arbitrageur, or a reckless gambler.

Even then you wouldn't put substantially all of your net worth into such a bet. Stocks are just too volatile. But millions of Americans make 5x leveraged bets on their homes — that's what it means to borrow 80% of the value of the house and put just 20% down.