In the Competitive Coronavirus Housing Market, This Loophole Is Making It Easier to Buy a House

The pandemic’s latest effect on the housing market could be a good one for borrowers: Fewer mortgages are requiring a home appraisal, which is making it a whole lot easier for some people to purchase a home or qualify for a loan refinance.

According to a September report from the public policy think tank American Enterprise Institute, appraisals were waived on 42% of all government-sponsored purchase and refinance mortgages in July, up from roughly 20% in December.

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Procrastinators, It’s Not Too Late to Refinance Your Mortgage and Save Thousands

Mortgage rates keep falling. Freddie Mac’s widely quoted Primary Mortgage Market Survey put rates at 2.86%, the lowest rate since the company began tracking mortgage rates in 1971. Yet, some experts say refinancing right now doesn’t make sense for every homeowner. What are the questions every homeowner needs to ask to determine whether now is the right time to refinance?

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House Hunters Now Need Pre-Approval Letters to Walk in the Door. What the Trend Means for Buyers, Sellers and Agents

Home buyers eager to take advantage of low interest rates are rushing to schedule home tours, just recently allowed in some places as stay-at-home restrictions are eased. To curtail potential exposure to the coronavirus, however, many sellers are trying to limit the number of people traipsing through their properties. To achieve this, real estate agents are suggesting that sellers only admit buyers who have been pre-approved for a mortgage.

A pre-approval letter is a written offer from a lender stating that a potential buyer has been tentatively approved for a mortgage and how much they would be permitted to borrow.

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A First for the Housing Market: Mortgage Rates Below 3%

It’s no secret mortgages are cheap right now. For some borrowers they’re hitting levels many experts might have thought impossible just a few months ago. Welcome to the world of the sub-3% mortgage.

The 30-year fixed-rate average sank last week to 3.15% with an average 0.8 percentage points paid, according to Freddie Mac. That’s the lowest level recorded since the mortgage giant began tracking mortgage rates in 1971. But 3.15% is just the average rate—some buyers and refinancers are qualifying for rates below 3%, something even mortgage pros are seeing for the first time.

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