Mortgage and real estate news this week: Rising rates and the top housing markets

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It seems the rate rise may be happening faster than expected, with mortgage interest jumping up to start 2022. But it’s not all bad news for consumers in real estate. Here’s everything you need to know this week.

1. Mortgage rates are higher

Just getting the big one out of the way: rates reached their highest levels since April 2020 in Bankrate’s latest survey, averaging 3.63 percent. Experts seem unsure, however, if they’re going to keep climbing from here or take a breather in the coming weeks. Even so, these higher rates mean the refinance window is closed for many homeowners, though new home purchase activity should keep underwriters busy.

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2. Where to move this year

If you’re looking for a big change of scenery this year, Bankrate has you covered. We evaluated major metro areas around the country and present to you our top 20, based on cost, vibe and past popularity. While the results somewhat favor the Sun Belt, all climates and time zones are well-represented.

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3. Hottest (and coolest) housing markets of December

Price is obviously a big factor for those considering a move, and as usual, California dominated the most expensive markets last month — though Boston did break in at number 4. Meanwhile, Florida cooled down somewhat, with four of the five least competitive markets being in the Sunshine State.

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4. How to deal with unsolicited offers

If you get a letter requesting to buy your home, you shouldn’t just agree to sell without doing some research and getting in touch with an agent. Even if the deal by mail seems good, you could still be leaving money on the table.

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5. Seasonal home maintenance

Any homeowner can attest that there’s almost always something to fix or attend to in your house. To keep minor problems at bay, it’s a good idea to get into a rhythm of regular maintenance. This checklist can help you keep track of what needs to be done, and also offers some advice on financing projects that turn out to be bigger than you might hope.

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Written by
Zach Wichter
Mortgage reporter
Zach Wichter is a 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
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