Mortgage and real estate news this week: Holiday refis and trends for 2021

A yellow house in a snowstorm.

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With the winter holidays upon us, we’re in what’s usually a quiet period for the mortgage and real estate industries. But with this most unusual year just about over, there are still some developments worth noting.

1. Why you should consider a holiday mortgage refi

You’ve read this from us before, but mortgage rates are still at all-time lows. Normally, the winter is a quiet time for home purchases, which can mean mortgage lenders have a little more capacity to process refinance applications. If you haven’t refinanced recently, now could be a great time to take advantage of that efficiency, and let your bank account benefit from the low rates.

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2. Looking ahead to 2021

Most likely, the early part of the new year will feel very similar to 2020 when it comes to mortgages and real estate. But, the winds of change are blowing, and mortgage rates seem poised to start rising again before too long. Here are the key trends to look out for in the year ahead.

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3. President Trump’s legacy for homeowners

Perhaps the biggest effect president Trump had on American homeowners was limiting the tax deductions available to them. His policies, which rolled back mortgage interest as well as state and local tax deductions for middle-class homeowners, made owning property more expensive for many.

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4. How the Fed affects mortgage rates

On the heels of this week’s Federal Reserve meeting, we refreshed our guide to help you understand how the Fed’s policies influence mortgage rates. Our central bank does not directly dictate mortgage interest, but its influence on other key economic indicators does have a knock-on affect to what homeowners pay.

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5. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about land loans

If you’re looking to buy an empty lot to develop, you should know you won’t be able to do it with a standard mortgage. For that kind of transaction, you’ll need a land loan instead, which will have different terms and regulations. If you’re considering this type of purchase, here’s what you should know.

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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.