5 housing trends for fall 2011

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If you want to buy a home and you qualify for a mortgage, now is the time. I’m Clark Palmer with your Bankrate.com personal finance minute.

With mortgage rates at historic lows, falling home prices and plenty of distressed properties for sale, buyers can find once-in-a-lifetime opportunities this fall.

It’s true that historically low mortgage rates won’t last forever, but many industry observers say they don’t expect a significant jump in rates this year.

But, if your credit is less than perfect, you’ll be faced with stringent underwriting requirements through the rest of this year and well into next year. Unfortunately, these strict standards keep potential buyers out of the market.

If you do qualify for a mortgage, you’ll have to settle for a smaller one this fall. Loan limits fell across the country at the beginning of October.

Meanwhile, there are still a lot of homeowners going into foreclosure. Many of them have become renters of other foreclosed properties. This trend is gaining in popularity, so much so that the Obama administration is considering proposals to make rentals out of Fannie Mae- and Freddie-Mac owned properties.

For more homebuying tips, visit Bankrate.com. I’m Clark Palmer.