Business briefs: Average rate on 30-year loan at 4.23 percent |

Business briefs: Average rate on 30-year loan at 4.23 percent

— Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages fell this week as the latest data continued to indicate a pause in the housing market’s recovery.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year loan declined to 4.23 percent from 4.32 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan dipped to 3.33 percent from 3.4 percent.

Mortgage rates have risen about a full percentage point since hitting record lows roughly a year ago. The increase was driven by speculation that the Federal Reserve would reduce its $85 billion per month in bond purchases. Saying the economy was gaining strength, the Fed pushed ahead last week with a plan to reduce the bond purchases, which have kept long-term interest rates low.

Data released Tuesday by real estate specialist CoreLogic showed that U.S. home prices slipped from November to December, and the year-over-year increase slowed, likely a result of weaker sales at the end of last year.

— The Associated Press

New small business development center to open in Kremmling

The town of Kremmling, Kremmling Area Chamber of Commerce, Northwest Council of Governments and Northwest Small Business Development Centers has announced a joint partnership that will bring the SBDC's experience and resources to Kremmling.

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The Northwest SBDC team is opening a satellite office in the Kremmling Visitor's Center. The Kremmling Chamber's executive director, Christine Mahorney, is becoming a certified business consultant, and will serve as a co-host of the program and as an onsite resource.

"This is an exciting opportunity for both current and prospective business owners in West Grand county," Mahorney said. "We hope business owners will take advantage of the deep resources that will be available through the SBDC."

Read more at Sky-Hi News.

Habitat for Humanity eyes Aspen site

Aspen is best known for its opulent mansions and family retreats, but now, it might get its first Habitat for Humanity housing for low-income families.

The nonprofit organization's Roaring Fork Valley chapter is investigating an opportunity to team with the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority on a project, according to the leaders of both organizations.

"This is historic," said Scott Gilbert, president of Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork Valley. "I never thought I'd use the words 'Habitat for Humanity' and 'Aspen' in the same sentence."

— Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

Read more at The Aspen Times.

Silverthorne affordable housing complex Villa Sierra Madre II welcomes new residents

Dawn Dickert could not stop grinning as she stood next to the forest-green door. A bright red ribbon stretched across the entrance to the new apartment building Wednesday afternoon.

Cousins Kaleb — carrying the giant red scissors with pride — and Ellie were the first through the door, ready to explore, as Dickert's sister Heather followed close behind.

Inside, up carpeted stairs still covered with protective plastic runners, the group instantly was taken aback by the modern kitchen with dark wood cabinets, hardwood floors and new appliances. The kids ran from room to room, opening every door — the laundry room with washer and dyer, the tiled bathrooms and even out to the porch just for their unit with a view of the mountains.

— Kelsey Fowler/Summit Daily

Read more at Summit Daily.