Mortgage and real estate news this week: Rent relief, house hacking and more

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Congratulations, if you’re reading this, you’ve made it to the end of another wild week.

We’re going to tune out everything else and focus on what’s going in the mortgage and real estate worlds for a few minutes. Here are the top stories we published in the last few days.

1. What renters should expect from the Biden administration

President-elect Biden has made some big promises around affordable housing and coronavirus-related assistance for renters. He has pledged to extend the eviction moratorium through the end of September and, longer-term, to pump billions of dollars into affordable housing initiatives. Here’s what else renters can expect out of Washington once Democrats are fully in control.

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2. How to become a house hacker

Want to be a homeowner without having to pay for your mortgage? One way to do it is to buy a multiunit building where you can charge rents high enough to cover your own monthly costs. This kind of real estate investment has been around for ages, but in the social media era it’s been rebranded as “house hacking” and has attracted a new crop of upstart would-be real estate tycoons.

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3. Is a 15-year mortgage right for you?

Thanks to record-low interest rates, more homeowners than ever are taking advantage of the savings that come with shorter-term mortgages. There’s plenty of benefit to paying off your housing debt more quickly, mainly that you save loads of money in interest. The main downside is higher monthly payments while you’re still carrying the loan. Interested? Learn more.

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4. Housing Choice Vouchers guide

If you’re getting by on the lower end of the income spectrum, you should make sure you know about the resources available to you. One of the biggest housing assistance initiatives in the country is the Housing Choice Vouchers program, also known as Section 8. With high demand for the vouchers, it can be difficult to secure the assistance in some cities, but here are the key things to know about the program.

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5. Mortgage market starts the year off hot

The Mortgage Bankers Association saw a big spike in loan applications to start off 2021. “Booming refinance activity in the first full week of 2021 caused mortgage applications to surge to their highest level since March 2020, despite most mortgage rates in the survey rising last week,” Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement.

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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.