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Nine Million-Plus U.S. Properties Seriously Underwater in Q1


RealtyTrac has released its U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report for the first quarter of 2014, which shows that 9.1 million U.S. residential properties were seriously underwater — where the combined loan amount secured by the property is at least 25 percent higher than the property’s estimated market value—representing 17 percent of all properties with a mortgage in the first quarter.Click to continue

Loan Officer Paying an Assistant

House Cash/Copyright: Getty Images/Credit: Jupiterimages

Question: We are an FHA-approved lender with several branch officers. At one of our branches, a loan officer has an assistant, who is not licensed, but helps him close loans. The loan officer pays his assistant directly from his own compensation. Is this arrangement permissible?

Answer: The arrangement described above is not permissible. A loan officer may not pay his assistant out of his own compensation; rather, the lender must bear this expense.Click to continue

Mortgage Rates Continue Downward Trend, Hit 4.27 Percent for the Week


Freddie Mac has released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing average fixed mortgage rates easing further for the second consecutive week helping to increase homebuyer affordability at the onset of the spring home buying season. For the week ending April 17, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.27 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.34 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.41 percent.Click to continue

Southern California Home Sales Down 14.3 Percent Year-Over-Year in March


Southern California home sales quickened last month compared with February, as they normally do, but remained far below average and at the lowest level for a March in six years. The median sale price rose to a more-than-six-year high, driven up by demand that continues to exceed supply in many areas, as well as a shift toward a greater share of sales in middle and high-end markets, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.Click to continue

Mortgage Apps Climb 4.3 Percent Week-Over-Week

For Sale/Credit: Stockbyte

Mortgage applications increased 4.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 11, 2014. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 4.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased five percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased seven percent from the previous week.Click to continue

Moody's Sees Finance Reform Provisions Negatively Impacting Home Prices

For Sale Sign/Copyright: Getty Images/Credit: Hemera Technologies

Provisions in the comprehensive housing finance reform bill introduced by U.S. Sens. Tim Johnson and Mike Crapo will modestly dampen prices of multifamily properties and increase refinance risk, according to a new report by Moody’s Investors Service, Proposed Housing Finance Reform Will Be A Moderate Credit Negative for Multi-Family CMBS.Click to continue

NAHB: Housing Starts Up Nearly Three Percent in March

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Led by a six percent rise in single-family starts, nationwide housing production rose 2.8 percent above an upwardly revised February rate of 920,000 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000 units in March, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau.Click to continue

FNC: Sales of Non-Distressed Homes on the Rise in February

House for Sale Pic

The latest FNC Residential Price Index (RPI) shows U.S. home prices increased again in February as sales of non-distressed homes continue to rise and regain market share. The index, constructed to gauge the price movement among normal home sales exclusive of distressed properties, indicates much of the nation’s underlying home value shows solid growth as dwindling REO sales fall to their lowest levels since 2007.

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Mortgage Apps for New March Home Purchases Rise 15 Percent

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The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Builder Application Survey (BAS) data for March 2014 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased by 15 percent relative to the previous month. This change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns. By product type, conventional loans composed 68.3 percent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 17.2 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 1.6 percent and VA loans composed 12.9 percent.Click to continue

LA Metro Area Housing Appreciates 48 Percent Over Past Five Years

For Sale/Credit: Stockbyte

Pro Teck Valuation Services’ March Home Value Forecast (HVF) updates research and examines the factors that cause a housing bubble and why no national housing bubble is expected even in the hottest markets. The Home Value Forecast cited Collateral Analytics’ previously developed “bubble indicator” for the real estate market, which has determined that in the past, real estate crashes always have followed a five year period of 150 percent or greater total appreciation.Click to continue