Mortgage and real estate news this week: Fourth-quarter predictions and a scam alert

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The fourth quarter of 2021 is upon us (even though it still firmly feels like Q1 2020 — maybe Q2 at a stretch) and the next few months may actually feel like some kind of pre-pandemic normal. Here’s what you need to know as the year winds down, and some other tips and tricks for what’s going on in the mortgage and real estate corner of the world.

1. Mortgage rates are likely to rise

It’s always fun to live through history, and 2021 saw the lowest mortgage rates ever. But experts said from the beginning that it wouldn’t last, and the tide should really start to roll back in this quarter. Inflation and Fed policies are likely to push mortgage rates up before the end of the year, and the trend should continue into 2022.

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2. Actually, mortgage rates are already rising

This week saw a big jump, with mortgage 30-year mortgage rates gaining 12 basis points on average. If you haven’t already refinanced, you should really do it. There may be some fluctuation ahead, but there’s no going back to the interest sub-basement at this point.

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3. Seasonality returns to real estate

The pandemic-era real estate market bucked just about every normal trend but this winter should see the usual transaction slowdown. Inventory and affordability issues still persist, but experts say the winter and into 2022 should be a little less frantic.

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4. Reverse mortgage scams to watch out for

Don’t fall prey to someone trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Reverse mortgages can be a great financial tool, but there are plenty of shady dealers out there looking to take advantage of you if you have access to new funds. Here are some of the most common tricks, and other things to keep in mind before taking out a reverse mortgage.

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5. Home equity loan or line of credit — what’s the difference?

One benefit of the crazy housing market is rising equity for current homeowners. If you’re looking to take advantage of that for yourself, the two most common options are a home equity loan and a home equity line of credit (HELOC). The best option for you depends on your situation, so it’s important to understand the difference so you can decide what you need.

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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 editor
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