Fed Has Few Tools to Heal Economy

Low interest rates have yet to revive the housing market.

U.S. mortgage rates are the lowest in at least four decades, with a 30-year fixed loan available at 4.09 percent. That didn’t help Alexis Wolf buy a townhome in Beaverton, Oregon.

“Unless you have family help, you’re stuck renting,” said Wolf, 26, a real estate broker who turned to relatives for a loan because she didn’t have the credit and employment history needed to qualify for a mortgage.

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