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Mortgage and real estate news this week: The hottest housing markets and whitewashing for appraisals

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Rising mortgage rates remain the driving force for everything going on in the real estate market right now, but they’re not the only story. Here’s what you need to know about what else is happening this week.

1. January’s hottest housing markets

The new year started off strong for sellers in California, where three of the top five hottest housing markets were located last month. In San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, more than half of properties sold for more than list price. Representing the East Coast were Buffalo, a newcomer to the hot list, and Boston.

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2. Treasury yields are higher, pushing mortgage rates up

The yield on 10-year Treasury notes broke the 2 percent barrier on Thursday. While experts say that’s more a psychological threshold than anything else, it does hint that higher home loan rates are here to stay.

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3. Why homeowners of color may hide who they are for appraisals

Inequities in real estate are nothing new and are no secret, but the legacy of discrimination is far reaching. One symptom is a deeply entrenched distrust that many nonwhite homeowners feel toward the appraisal system. It’s reinforced whenever a new story crops up about a Black family’s home being undervalued, and causes many to “whitewash” their properties to try to boost its estimated worth.

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4. How pre-fab homes can help address the affordability problem

With the price of building materials ballooning, landowners who want to build a place of their own may be able to do so more easily by taking advantage of manufactured options. Cities, too, could benefit by populating otherwise-vacant lots with more affordable structures.

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5. Using home equity to upgrade your place

Tapping into the equity you’ve built up in your home can be a great way to finance big spending, especially on projects that will add to the value of your property even further. Here’s a guide to how it works and what you need to know to make it happen.

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Written by
Zach Wichter
Mortgage reporter
Zach Wichter is a former mortgage reporter at Bankrate. He previously worked on the Business desk at The New York Times where he won a Loeb Award for breaking news, and covered aviation for The Points Guy.
Edited by
Senior mortgage reporter