Mortgage and real estate news this week: Millennials and their home equity, and understanding the Fed taper

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Mortgage rates may be rising gradually, but that doesn’t mean the housing and finance markets are still buzzing. There’s still plenty to keep tabs on, and here are the highlights.

1. Millennials see home equity a little differently

In a recent Bankrate survey, millennials said they were more likely to feel comfortable using equity they’d built up in their home to fund nonessential purchases like vacations or luxury items. Baby boomers and Gen Xers, meanwhile, remained more committed to using those funds for emergencies or improvements like renovations.

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2. The taper is coming

The Fed keeps signaling that policy changes are on the horizon, and as it tapers asset purchases, mortgage rates and other kinds of interest are likely to rise. That’s why it’s more crucial than ever to seriously consider refinancing your mortgage if you haven’t already. Today’s ultra-low rates will be in the rearview mirror before long.

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3. Mortgages imperiled by debt ceiling debate — but maybe not how you think

President Biden said during a press conference this week that defaulting on the national debt could lead to Americans paying more toward their mortgage each month. It’s true that no deal on the debt ceiling could lead to economic catastrophe, but it might not do much to your mortgage payments, depending on your loan terms.

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4. CFPB complaints vary by race

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a new data analysis that breaks out complaint categories by census tract. The report shows that minority and low-income borrowers interact with the financial system much differently than wealthier, white Americans. No matter how you cut it, however, mortgage-related complaints were a leading category last year.

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5. I spy (on homebuyers)

As home security cameras become increasingly popular, homebuyers should be aware that sellers may be watching while they take their tours. It’s a complicated landscape, with each state enforcing different regulations on sellers, but at the end of the day, Realtors warn, you should always act as if you’re being watched.

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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.
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