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Mortgage and real estate news this week: Falling rates and visualizing the housing market

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The sound of falling mortgage rates echoed through the virtual cubicles of Bankrate this week. Here are some top stories to help you stay on top of the housing and mortgage markets this weekend.

1. 5 charts that explain current housing trends

Sometimes words just don’t do the weirdness justice. In order to truly appreciate how extreme the current real estate situation is, you may need to turn to visuals. This week, we rounded up data initially compiled by John Burns Real Estate Consulting to help you understand what’s going on out there.

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2. What declining Treasury yields mean for mortgage rates

I understand if that subhead made your eyes glaze over, but it’s still good to know: as the return on Treasury bonds decrease, mortgage rates usually do, too. So with bond yields down this week, most experts expect another period of favorable interest terms for homebuyers and refinancers.

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3. Don’t fret about your mortgage getting sold

If you get a letter in the mail or an email telling you that your mortgage has been sold to another company, don’t panic! It’s a totally normal practice in the mortgage industry, and aside from changing who you send your payments to, it rarely means anything for the terms of your loan. Greg McBride explains how mortgage loan transfers work, and what they mean for borrowers.

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4. It doesn’t always make sense to pay off your mortgage early

Carrying mortgage debt can be a burden, but it’s generally seen as good debt to have, and tends to be relatively low-interest. If you’re considering using extra funds to pay down your mortgage, you might want to direct that money somewhere else, said Michael Roberts, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

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5. What to know about VA renovation loans

If you’re considering a home improvement project (like so many others these days) and qualify for VA mortgages,  you may be able to get a renovation loan through the department, which can save you money and help facilitate the financing of your work.

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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.