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Suddenly, mortgage rates are over 7%

Although rates are still below the historical average of 7.76%, it's the sudden change that's upending the market.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images Real estate agent Skyler Hines, right, speaks with a visitor during an open house in the Arlington Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

By Laura Blasey, Amy Hubbard

Hello, it's Friday, Oct. 28, and here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:

TOP STORIES

The latest jump in rates chills the housing market

The cost of buying a home took another leap this week as the average rate on the popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage surpassed 7% for the first time since 2002.

It was just last month that rates climbed above 6% for the first time in 14 years. Although rates are still below the historical average of 7.76%, it's the sudden change that's upending the market: "Rates rose so rapidly that people weren't prepared," said an L.A.-area mortgage broker.

With rates rising so quickly, buyers have had to try to buy homes with values set when money was cheap. Many can't. Those still willing and able to buy may find it a relatively easier experience than at the beginning of the year. Multiple offers are far less common, and sellers are increasingly willing to give buyers money to pay their closing costs or buy down their interest rate.

The U.S. says it faces, for the first time, two nuclear threats at once: China and Russia

In a newly released defense strategy plan, the Biden administration says China remains the most dangerous security threat to the U.S. but that "for the first time," Washington faces two possible nuclear conflicts, with that country and Russia. The review will guide the future size and shape of the U.S. armed forces.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly raised the specter of using nuclear weapons to attack Ukraine, the neighboring country his forces invaded eight months ago. Although the threat has alarmed governments around the world, U.S. defense officials say they have not seen signs that Putin is about to deploy a nuclear device. Still, the threat is being taken seriously at a time when global tensions are high.

More politics

  • Paul Pelosi, the husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was "violently" attacked in the couple's San Francisco home early Friday.
  • Organizers have launched a bid to recall Kevin de León. The L.A. City Council member, caught up in the scandal over racist leaked recordings, has said repeatedly he has no plans to step down.
  • Election day is Nov. 8. But in courtrooms across the country, efforts to sow doubt over the outcome have already begun.
  • A Tennessee man who dragged a police officer into a mob of rioters during the attack on the U.S. Capitol was sentenced to more than seven years in prison.
  • Rick Caruso is expected to spend more than $53 million on his advertising onslaught in the L.A. mayor's race, spending that outpaces opponent Karen Bass 13 to 1.

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times' state politics reporting and the latest action in Sacramento.

More Latinos are falling into homelessness

In the last two years, homelessness among Latinos has outpaced that of other demographic groups as COVID-19 and the housing shortage have hammered the working class.

Latinos have long relied on social ties, squeezing into crowded spaces and sharing the burden of unaffordable rents, to avoid joining L.A.'s ever-swelling homeless population. But rising rents — and incomes that are not commensurate — have made it increasingly difficult for low-income Latinos to keep roofs over their heads.

When it comes to crooked colleagues, California lawyers can remain silent

Numerous states have laws or statutes stating that lawyers should report misconduct by peers. But in California, there has been no expectation — much less an obligation — that lawyers alert authorities to wrongdoing in their ranks, no matter how egregious or damaging the misconduct.

The feeling that reporting unethical behavior is disloyal is so prevalent in the state that many attorneys and the State Bar of California have used mob parlance to refer to the requirement as the "snitch" or "rat" rule.

The Tom Girardi scandal is prompting a reconsideration. There was evidence in court cases as early as the 1990s that he was mishandling settlement money and stiffing colleagues out of legal fees, but fellow attorneys have said they were reluctant to turn in the powerful litigator to the State Bar.

This high school teacher-turned-lawyer is accused of being a fixer for the Mexican Mafia

Using the protections granted to attorneys as a shield, Gabriel Zendejas Chavez conferred with underworld figures in the country's highest-security lockups, prosecutors charged in a recent case. He relayed orders to have people beaten and killed, and exposed government informants whom he'd ferreted out through his access to case files, they said.

Chavez claimed he was a victim, and in the end a jury couldn't decide what to believe. A mistrial was declared and a new trial set for January.

But questions of guilt and innocence aside, the former high school teacher, in a short amount of time, became immersed in a dangerous underside of society. He acknowledged as much when he told the jury, through tears, "There's no manual for this situation."

Also: "'A well-oiled machine': The Mexican Mafia's money-making operation in L.A. County jails"

Check out "The Times" podcast for essential news and more.

These days, waking up to current events can be, well, daunting. If you're seeking a more balanced news diet, "The Times" podcast is for you. Gustavo Arellano, along with a diverse set of reporters from the award-winning L.A. Times newsroom, delivers the most interesting stories from the Los Angeles Times every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

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CALIFORNIA

Rosalind Wyman, the youngest council member ever elected in L.A., has died at 92. Wyman, who joined the Los Angeles City Council at age 22 in 1953, was best known for keeping an unusual campaign promise — vowing to bring Major League Baseball to Los Angeles. She was instrumental in convincing the Dodgers to uproot from Brooklyn and head to L.A.

Spending on adults with disabilities differs by "race and place." The system charged with ensuring that California adults with developmental disabilities get crucial services is plagued with stark differences, according to a newly released report. At the majority of regional centers, it said, disparities in spending between Latino and white adults worsened over time.

Oil giants are selling thousands of California wells, raising worries about future liability. Even with strong cash flow in the short term, producers have more to gain from offloading wells and the associated liability — chiefly expensive environmental cleanup — than from pumping more oil and gas, experts say.

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NATION-WORLD

Two men tend to a machine in the back of a van in a park at night.
Lee Jiann-Shing sets up a radio station in the trunk of his van at a riverside park in Taipei, Taiwan. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

If China declares war, these ham radio enthusiasts could be crucial. In the age of smartphones and DMs, amateur radio has become a niche hobby in Taiwan. Participants — many of them older than 50 — tinker with electronics, exchange postcards with new contacts and compete to see who connects with the most far-flung places. But ham radio might turn out to be more than just a pleasant pastime.

Abuse reports from detained Black immigrants in the U.S. are disproportionately high, advocacy groups say. A new report analyzed the records of nearly 17,000 calls between 2016 and 2021 from its national immigrant detention hotline and found a pattern of racism and abuse toward migrants from predominantly Black countries, despite accounting for a minority of the detained population.

Russian-installed officials fled Ukraine's Kherson region amid heavy fighting. The authorities fled the capital of southern Ukraine's Kherson region along with tens of thousands of residents as Ukrainian forces pressed their campaign to recapture the city. Amid the battles, Moscow issued a warning that the U.S. could be drawn into the conflict.

Warning of "global catastrophe," the U.N. said climate change measures were "highly inadequate." The world, especially richer carbon-emitting nations, are not doing nearly enough — nor even promising to do enough — to reach any of the global goals limiting future warming, a United Nations report said.

The U.S. hit Iran with new sanctions over its "brutal" crackdown on protesters. As widespread demonstrations against restrictions on women and other issues continued, the sanctions were aimed at holding accountable Iranian officials responsible for the crackdown on protesters, abuse inside Iran's notorious prisons, censorship and "malicious cyberactivity against the Iranian people."

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HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

In the wrenching "Armageddon Time," a filmmaker powerfully confronts his own privilege. James Gray's eighth feature as a writer-director is an epic of boyhood disillusionment, what you might call a coming-of-rage story, in which 11-year-old Paul's eyes are opened to hard realities, based on events from Gray's own childhood. And there's nothing especially rose-tinted about the lens through which he peers back at his early life, writes film critic Justin Chang.

Women and people of color are being shortchanged by the TV industry, a study has found. Shows with diverse casts — such as "FBI," "Bridgerton" and "Snowpiercer" — are popular with audiences, but white men are getting more opportunities to head up series with substantial budgets than are women and people of color, according to a UCLA study.

Review: Bob Dylan's new book is revealing, misogynistic and a special kind of bonkers. "The Philosophy of Modern Song" is a mouthful, a phrase that puts on airs. Still, "philosophy" is a useful term, vague and baggy enough to accommodate the mix of music criticism, beat poetry, wolverine snarls and Lear-on-the-heath tirades that comprise the book's 66 chapters about 66 songs.

Was the historic 2022 Miss USA pageant rigged? The Miss Universe Organization has suspended the Miss USA president and her firm and launched an investigation into the contest, which made history as Miss Texas R'Bonney Gabriel was the first Filipina American to win.

BUSINESS

Elon Musk closed his $44-billion Twitter deal, ending a months-long saga. The world's richest man is now in charge of the struggling social network after six months of public and legal wrangling over the deal. Shareholders will be paid $54.20 per share, and Twitter will now operate as a private company.

The U.S. economy returned to growth last quarter. The economy grew at a 2.6% annual rate from July through September after two straight quarters of contraction. Thursday's data showed that stronger exports and steady consumer spending, backed by a healthy job market, helped restore growth to the world's biggest economy. Still, the outlook for the economy has darkened.

OPINION

Op-Ed: The allure of the Republican Party is baffling. Voters will regret falling for it. The GOP is dominated by an extremist faction whose prominent members claim (or have claimed) not only that former President Trump won the 2020 presidential election but also that climate change is a hoax and COVID-19 is a conspiracy. Although many Republicans do not say such things (and many who do probably don't believe what they're saying), the Trumpian extremists are in charge.

Op-Ed: How Elon Musk's plans for Twitter could threaten free speech. Musk has said he'll dial back safeguards that are there to protect against disinformation. When arenas for public discourse are flooded with disinformation, free speech begins to shed its value. Audiences can become primed to distrust everything, and it becomes impossible to persuade people, even with the most compelling argument or evidence.

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SPORTS

The Lakers' latest loss shows their issues extend beyond Russell Westbrook. The team's season ended last spring inside Denver's arena, with the Lakers leaving the building and heading into an offseason of certain change. On Wednesday they returned to Denver with new coach Darvin Ham, seven new players and a bunch of the same problems. After losing to Denver, Anthony Davis said: "We gotta figure ourselves out first before we can focus on any other team. ... How can we get better?"

"Books and ball, that's what this place is all about." So says UCLA football coach Chip Kelly. UCLA is one of only six schools to make the top 25 of the U.S. News & World Report national university rankings while also producing a Football Bowl Subdivision team ranked in the top 10 in the Associated Press poll during the last five years. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson said the players with the most football smarts reside on the offensive line, their weights and IQs both running well into triple digits.

YOUR WEEKEND

A sugar skull surrounded by marigolds, candles and decorations
Día de Muertos (Marisol Ortega / For The Times)

35 ways to celebrate Día de Muertos in L.A. and O.C., plus a digital option. It's the time of year when altars come alive with colorful papel picado, fresh or paper marigolds, food and drink and mementos. Event organizers and communities around Southern California are building altars so the public can contribute a photo or memento of the person or pet they want to celebrate, including The Times with an altar at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. There's a celebration for almost everyone. And, if you can't make it in person, you can contribute to The Times' digital altar, which is accepting ofrendas until Nov. 1.

Do you like scary movies? So do we. With streaming options galore for getting your horror fix, it's also a great moment to be a genre fanatic. Jen Yamato has pulled together a list of 10 new must-stream options. "Barbarian" — "the best horror movie of the year" — is newly arrived on HBO Max, a "Hellraiser" reboot on Hulu and plenty of other spooky delights that are worth your time.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.

Why politics has become so stressful. This overview gives U.S. politics some historical context. Politics today "may be both more rigid and more unstable than at any other time since at least the Civil War." With large swaths of the country locked down as either Democratic or Republican, a small number of voters in a small number of states "can tilt the balance of power." That's stress-inducing. The Atlantic

These reef networks might just have what it takes to survive. Amid climate change, fishing, pollution and coastal development, researchers see a glimmer of hope for battered coral reefs. The crucial factor is corral connectivity, according to researchers in a new study. "Through modeling analyses, they identified six major reef networks around the world that could maintain and regrow coral even after mass bleaching, as long as sections of them fall within climate refuge zones — areas of the Earth that are more resilient to environmental stressors like acidification and rising temperatures." Hakai Magazine

FROM THE ARCHIVES

People sit in a line with paperwork and suitcases. A man in a suit, standing, looks at a clipboard.
Sept. 22, 1942: Japanese Americans wait at the Santa Anita Assembly Center before being moved to Rohwer, Ark. (Horton Churchill / Los Angeles Times)

Eighty years ago this week, on Oct. 27, 1942, the Santa Anita Assembly Center closed. In the World War II mass incarceration of Japanese Americans, Santa Anita was a first stop before they were shipped to other camps.

In 2014, The Times' Cindy Chang wrote about a reunion at Santa Anita of some of those who'd been incarcerated. About 19,000 people, mostly from Southern California, were held there over the course of six months. Some slept in the same stalls where horses had slept, and the pungent odors of the track brought back memories. They recalled armed guards patrolling the camp and searchlights scanning for escapees.

They also shared memories of softball games, sumo wrestling matches and new friendships. "We were young enough, and we made lots of friends," said Amy Hashimoto. "Our Issei [first-generation immigrant] parents — it was the hardest on them." Arriving adults mourned the loss of homes and livelihoods.

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today's Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at headlines@latimes.com.

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