Mortgage and real estate news this week: Booming market, increasing equity

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The mortgage and real estate industries remain as hot as ever, which means now can be a great time to buy your first home, refinance your mortgage or tap your home equity to do some remodeling. Here are five stories Bankrate published this week to help you navigate these options.

1. Looking ahead: Housing heat stays on through the fall

There’s no indication that home sales are going to see a significant dropoff in the coming months. Tight supply and low mortgage rates have combined to make it look like the cooler weather and school restarting will do little to dampen competition in the real estate market. Even after some regular, seasonal loss in momentum, the fall is likely to be pretty busy.

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2. Home prices are staying up

Unlike the Great Recession in 2008, the coronavirus-induced economic downturn hasn’t resulted in homes losing their values. It sounds counterintuitive, but that’s to be expected. In most economic contractions since the 1980s, home values have held or even gone up.

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3. Even with prices up, homeownership is in reach for many

When does more actually mean less? When you have a mortgage. Thanks to low interest rates, many borrowers can afford to a larger mortgage than they could have even a year or two ago, because their monthly mortgage payments will be lower, even with more principal. So, even as home prices are going up, the market is staying competitive.

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4. Higher prices mean more equity

Even if you’re not planning to sell your home, the competitive housing market can be a benefit to you. Higher home prices mean more home equity for owners who are planning to stay put, and low interest rates are extending beyond mortgages, making it cheaper than ever to take advantage of the equity you’ve built up with a home equity loan or line of credit (HELOC).

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5. Tap that equity and renovate

Alongside the boom in working from home, there’s been increasing demand for home renovations since the pandemic forced many Americans to change their daily routines. The classic bathroom and kitchen projects have remained popular, but new outdoor amenities have seen a spike in interest, too. If you’re thinking about renovating, here are the trends to keep in mind, and ways to pay for the project.

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