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If you feel a bit of whiplash hearing the varying takes on the housing market right now, you’re not alone. Home prices are still rising — but not as much! Mortgage rates are generally up — but recently they’ve held below 6%! (See the lowest mortgage rates you can get now here.) There are bidding wars galore — but not everywhere! That’s why MarketWatch Picks created a series where we ask prominent economists and real estate pros their take on the housing market now.

This week, we talk to Danielle Hale, who has been the chief economist at for the last five years. She’s responsible for developing and translating real estate trend data into consumer and industry insights. Before that, she worked as an economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) for nearly a decade. We asked her to share five things she thinks home buyers should know, given the current real estate market. ( is owned by the same parent company as MarketWatch.)