Weekly Mortgage News Roundup for October 16

A man and woman signing home purchase papers while sitting at a desk and shaking hands with the realtor.

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The best news for would-be borrowers this week is that mortgage rates have remained near record lows. But whether you're shopping for a new home or considering refinancing your existing one, it pays to keep up with what's happening in the world of mortgage loans and housing prices. Here's the news you need to know for the week ending Oct. 16.

Despite the fact that mortgage rates have plummeted, most people interested in purchasing a home are finding that low inventory and high prices have made it an inopportune time to buy.

The CARES Act entitled homeowners with government-backed mortgages to 180 days of forbearance, with the possibility of extending that for an additional 180 days. The initial 180 day period is coming to an end and there are now fewer buyers whose payments remain paused.

Lenders have tightened their standards for approving buyers for home loans, which is making it more difficult for people to qualify for mortgage loans and take advantage of today's record low rates.

Self-employed workers always face special challenges in getting approved for a mortgage, but the FHA is making things even more difficult. The FHA has issued new guidance requiring lenders to take extra steps to ensure that self-employed borrowers have a stable source of income.

Starting Dec. 1, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will assess a new 0.5% fee on refinance loans. These government-sponsored entities are the primary purchasers of mortgage loans on the secondary market. This fee is likely to be passed on to consumers and raise mortgage rates, but you may be able to avoid it by locking in before it takes effect or by keeping your mortgage under $125,000.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has promised to protect homebuyers from abusive lending practices, as well as to protect tenants from abusive landlords. These are just a few of the key changes you may see if Biden becomes president after the next election.

Thinking about trying to sell your house yourself? Pictures matter a lot in attracting buyers, and you'll want to make sure any potential buyer is pre-approved before accepting an offer. These tips, and more, will help you make sure your transaction is a success.

Whether you're in the market for a new home, looking to refinance your mortgage, or are just interested in keeping tabs on housing and home loans, The Ascent's mortgage coverage has you covered. Check in regularly to see all the news you need to know.

Today's Best Mortgage Rates

Chances are, mortgage rates won't stay put at multi-decade lows for much longer. That's why taking action today is crucial, whether you're wanting to refinance and cut your mortgage payment or you're ready to pull the trigger on a new home purchase. Click here to get started by scanning the market for your best rate.

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