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Mortgage rates remained very competitive during the week ending Nov. 27, but current and future homeowners need to know about much more than just continued low rates. Here's all the news that matters this week about mortgages and housing. 

There has been a dramatic increase in demand for mortgages, and lenders can't keep up. As a result, the time it takes to close on a new mortgage or on a mortgage refinance loan has increased dramatically. Find out here how long it may take you to reach closing after securing a home loan. 

An estimated 19.4 million borrowers could reduce their monthly mortgage payment by an average of $309 per month by securing a mortgage refinance loan. And some current homeowners could save even more. Are you one of them?

It's definitely a seller's market right now, with home prices rising 7% year over year in September according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index. There hasn't been that large of a year-over-year increase since September of 2014. Unfortunately, low inventory and high demand driven by low mortgage rates are driving prices up and making it harder to find an affordable home. 

The White House will have a new inhabitant beginning in late January, and the country will have a new executive at the helm. President-elect Joe Biden has a plan to make it easier for more Americans to become homeowners and his efforts, coupled with reduced economic uncertainty post-election, could enable more people to become homeowners. 

The percentage of home mortgages on which borrowers have paused payments has increased as the majority of Americans who put their loans into forbearance at the start of the pandemic have extended their period of nonpayment. This could be a bad sign for the economy, but may also simply mean more homeowners have become aware of forbearance options made available under coronavirus relief legislation. 

Homeowners associations can charge you expensive dues and restrict what you're able to do in your home. They can also impact your ability to get a mortgage or to sell your property. Learn why buying in an HOA can have these effects. 

In October 2020, the median price of U.S. homes hit $313,000. This is around a 16% increase from a median home price of $271,100 in 2019. Home prices are being driven up by high demand as would-be buyers want to take advantage of today's record-low mortgage rates. At the same time as many people want to purchase homes, sellers are reluctant to list their properties due to COVID-19. 

Just 1.42 million homes were for sale across the U.S. in October, according to the National Association of Realtors. That's 19.8% below the number for sale at the same time last year and is the lowest number of inventory of homes for sale since NAR began keeping track in 1982. Find out what that means for homeowners. 

With so much happening in the world of mortgages, it's important for those planning on buying a home or considering refinancing to stay up to date. Follow The Ascent's mortgage coverage to read all of the week's big news about mortgages and the housing market.