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Mortgage and real estate news this week: The great Fed taper and Zillow says bye-bye to iBuying

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Change is in the air in the real estate and mortgage industries, and it’s not just because of falling temperatures. From policy shifts at the Fed to advice for millennial homebuyers, here’s what you need to know.

1. The Fed prepares to taper

It’s the moment economists have been predicting for months. The Federal Reserve tried to keep the economy stimulated during the worst of the pandemic by boosting asset purchases. Now that there are more shots in arms and COVID-19 is more under control, the central bank is preparing to return to a normal economic policy. It’s likely going to have wide-reaching effects, including (almost certainly) higher mortgage rates.

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2. Buying in a winter wonderland

Cold weather usually leads to a quieter real estate market, but savvy purchasers can use the lull to land better deals. Especially as conditions become slightly more favorable to buyers anyway, this winter could be a great time to consider buying real estate. Here’s what you need to know about the winter market.

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3. Zillow exits the iBuying market

After realizing that it had overpaid for many of its properties, Zillow’s iBuying arm shut down this week in an effort to offload its inventory and stem anticipated losses. Unfortunately for would-be homebuyers, Zillow mostly is selling the properties to other companies, and iBuyers more generally are here to stay.

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4. Millennials as real estate market movers

For nearly a decade, millennials have represented the largest share of U.S. homebuyers each year. But their preferences and practices are different than those of previous generations, and the real estate industry has had to adapt to keep up.

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5. Home price growth should cool

Property prices have been surging for more than a year, increasing 13 percent in the last 12 months alone on average. But now, experts say, that growth is likely to slow — though a major drop in prices is still not expected.

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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.