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Mortgage and real estate news this week: The end of the refinance boom?

Bankrate logo Bankrate 10/24/2020 Zach Wichter
a young boy using a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: A father and young son looking at a computer, probably reading about mortgages. © Marko Geber/Getty Images A father and young son looking at a computer, probably reading about mortgages.

It’s been another week of historically low interest rates, but that’s not all that’s going on in the real estate and mortgage industries. Here are Bankrate’s top five stories from the week that was.

1. Is the refi boom winding down?

The aforementioned low mortgage rates have driven a historic boom in refinancing. Homeowners have flooded lenders with applications to lower their monthly payments or tap their home equity. But economists now say that interest rates are poised to start rising again, and that may make refis less attractive.

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2. Buying your first home? Here’s what to know

Purchasing a home of your own is exciting, but there are a lot of things to know before you do. Fortunately for you, Bankrate isn’t just populated with personal finance experts; some of us are real-life homeowners, too. Here’s a collection of our best advice, based on our own home-owning experiences.

Read the story.

3. How climate change affects real estate

Inevitably, climate change will alter life for many people, including where they live, and that change is already beginning to happen in real estate. A new study out of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business shows how some areas hard-hit by climate change are already beginning to see changes in homebuying patterns.

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4. The refinance fee really is coming

In comments at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s virtual conference this week, the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency defended a 0.5 percent fee on all refinances worth $125,000 or more, set to take effect on Dec. 1. The fee, he said, will help keep mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac solvent.

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5. Cash-out refis are becoming widely available again

In response to economic uncertainty at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, many lenders temporarily stopped offering cash-out refinances. But now, seeing that the real estate market has remained stable and the mortgage market strong, lenders are back to business as usual, letting homeowners tap their equity.

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