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Mortgage rates have stayed competitive this week and, in fact, they hit their 14th record low. That's not all there is to know in the world of mortgages and housing this week. Here's a roundup of all the biggest news. 

The increase in equity was driven by rising property values, and it's made it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages or secure home equity loans or lines of credit. 

There was a decline in mortgage applications, which may have been prompted by inflated prices as demand for homes continues to outpace supply. 

Protections put in place by coronavirus relief legislation will be expiring soon, which could mean more foreclosures. While that would lead to an increase in housing inventory, it's bad news for current homeowners -- and for the economy. 

Buying a home looks very different this year. Inventory is scarce and prices are high, but the good news is that mortgage rates are near record lows so you should be able to get a good deal on a home loan. 

As of October 2020, the average mortgage balance was $215,655. Whether yours is above or below average, you can pay it off faster by making extra payments when you get a windfall, making biweekly payments, or refinancing to reduce your rate. 

Mortgage debt is good debt, and owning a home helps you to build wealth. That's why it's good news that Americans owe around $9.86 trillion on their mortgage loans. 

If your application for a mortgage loan was turned down, you can take steps to boost your credit; repay some of your debts; look for a steadier job; save more money; or check your credit history for inaccuracies. 

Making a higher down payment, securing the most affordable home loan, and refinancing a high interest rate mortgage could all help you to reduce your monthly mortgage payment. 

Mortgage rates have repeatedly broken new records by hitting new lows. They did it again this week, dropping to the lowest level in around 50 years. 

Buying a home in a smaller city could help you buy into a calmer lifestyle at a lower price than purchasing an urban abode. But it's not necessarily right for everyone. 

Adjustable rate mortgages are expensive and needlessly risky right now. You should likely steer clear of them when borrowing to buy a home. 

Surprisingly, paying off a mortgage doesn't necessarily cause your credit score to go up -- largely because you eliminate one type of credit. 

Whether you're looking for a new home, refinancing, or just curious about the housing market during these crazy times, keep up to date with The Ascent's mortgage coverage every week.