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Mortgage and real estate news this week: Updates on a hot housing market and what to make of inflation

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The usual trends persist: the real estate market remains brutal for buyers and a veritable goldmine for sellers. Mortgage rates are still low, and we have an assortment of other tips and tricks for people considering buying or selling property, or refinancing their loans. Here’s a closer look.

1. Hottest (and coolest) housing markets

It’s that time of the quarter again: Bankrate’s rankings of top and bottom state housing markets are here. The West mostly held onto the top five, while the South was where cooler conditions prevailed — basically, opposite to regional weather patterns. Check out Jeff Ostrowski’s in-depth analysis.

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2. Rising home prices squeeze down payment savings

With real estate prices going up rapidly in most markets, buyers are finding the money they’ve saved isn’t going as far toward their purchase as they might like. If you’re looking to buy, there are a few strategies you can follow to make the most of what you have. They vary from holding out for a quieter period to trying out some alternative investment methods.

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3. What to do when you inherit rundown property

Finding out you inherited property can go from an exciting financial boost to a major headache quickly if it turns out the previous owner didn’t keep on top of maintenance. Most experts say it’s usually better to sell the estate as is, but that’s not your only option.

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4. How inflation affects the housing market

Inflation is basically a fancy way of saying prices are going up for pretty much everything. That includes real estate right now as the U.S. is experiencing a higher than normal inflation rate. Here’s what it means for homebuyers and sellers, and how you should factor it into your decision to get into the property market.

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5. A guide for first-time homebuyers

Although the current housing market inarguably favors sellers, that doesn’t mean it’s not the right time to buy if the numbers seem right to you. If you do decide to take the plunge, all the general advice about how to proceed applies, and here’s what you need to know.

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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.