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Mortgage and real estate news this week: Housing market conditions and why you should refi now

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Summer unofficially starts this weekend, which means you may be looking for a new place to set up your barbecue. As we head into the warmer weather, here’s what to know about the mortgage and real estate industries this week.

1. The housing market’s still hot…

There’s a homebuying frenzy across the country, but some places are more frenetic than others. Bankrate’s quarterly Housing Heat Index shows that Utah, South Dakota, Montana, New Hampshire and Idaho were the top five states for purchases at the start of this year.

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2. …and it shows no sign of cooling down.

If you’re looking to buy a home, don’t expect it to get much easier anytime soon. Home prices increased 12.6 percent in 2020 compared to their 2019 levels, and they’re still going up. The persistent problem of low inventory won’t be solved overnight, so competition is likely to remain fierce for a while.

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3. A great time to refinance your mortgage

Experts mostly expect mortgage rates to trend up this year, but a week of retreating interest means now is really the time to consider a refinance if you’re still holding out. It’s unlikely rates will get much lower than they are now, so start in on your paperwork to maximize your savings.

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4. What to know about the 3% interest threshold

Although rates fell below 3 percent toward the end of this week, they were above that benchmark early on. Keep in mind, 3 percent is still historically low for mortgage interest, but it’s a major psychological threshold for homeowners and buyers, so as rates fluctuate around that mark, it’s a good idea to get your mortgage finances in order before rates return firmly to the 3s.

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5. Skip the chapel, go straight across the threshold

Netflix’s new reality show “Marriage or Mortgage” shows how many young couples are choosing to forgo a lavish wedding in favor of a true investment in their future: purchasing a house.

Read the story.

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.