PORTLAND Many say that 2013 was a good year for the residential real estate market in the metro area. The New Year promises to continue that momentum but with some important changes, especially if you're looking at taking out a mortgage.

Portland Metro area real estate values increased between 11 and 13 percent last year. There were bidding wars on some properties. Predictions for 2014 are that appreciations will go up around 5 to 6 percent.

With inventory still in the three-and-a-half months range it s still a seller s market.

But interest rates are going up; maybe as high as 5 or 6 percent by year s end. While still low, that would cut into how much home a first-time buyer could afford.

The biggest change will come this month when new mortgage rules kick in.

For anyone who applies for a new loan beginning Jan. 10, they are going to find the guidelines more restrictive, said Ken Maes of Skyline Home Loans. The underlying guidelines will be tighter, especially for people on the lower end of loans. It's going to be tougher to pass all of the qualifications necessary with this new law.

That means people with a higher debt-to-income ratio will be hardest hit and securing an FHA, VA, or USDA loan will be tougher.

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