Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Here's a breakdown of home prices in the 4 largest states

Home prices nationwide increased in February, albeit a slight 1.2% increase, with the four largest states staying within the same range. Here’s an extra break down of home prices in the four largest states.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Kathleen Zadareky, FHA's head of single-family housing, leaving for SunTrust

Kathleen Zadareky, who currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary for single-family housing for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will soon leave that position and join the private sector with SunTrust Mortgage.

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Bank of America to consolidate North Texas mortgage operations

Another one of the vestiges of Countrywide’s past is about to disappear, as Bank of America is set to close and sell a facility in Ft. Worth, Texas that once housed as many as 3,000 Countrywide employees. But the move will not lead to any job cuts, according a report from the Dallas Morning News.

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Urban Institute: Selling NPLs to investors works. Here's how to make it better

Researchers from the Urban Institute are already on the record with their view that more pools of non-performing loans need to be sold to private investors, but a new article posted on the Urban Institute’s Urban Wire blog on Housing and Housing Finance suggests that more steps need to be taken to ensure a mutually beneficial result for all parties involved in a non-performing loan sale.

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Freddie Mac readies sale of $783 million in non-performing loans

Freddie Mac announced recently that it plans to sell $783 million in non-performing loans that are currently held in its investment portfolio as part of its third NPL sale of 2016. Here are the details.

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'Face of the housing crisis' exonerated by Appeals Court Countrywide Hustle ruling

Lost in the shuffle of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s decision to toss the $1.27 billion penalty against Bank of America was the fact that the court also overturned the fraud charges and voided the $1 million penalty against Rebecca Mairone. Mairone is the same person who the New York Times once referred to as the “face of the housing crisis.”

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Competition about to be the next top homebuyer concern?

Affordability, while the number one homebuyer concern, might soon be unseated by worrying about buyer competition. The rising concern isn’t too much of a surprise given this rough stat for potential homebuyers. On the positive side, the industry is stepping up to address affordability problems.

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Congrats! Move here after you graduate college

Yes! You graduated! But now what? Trulia teamed up with LinkedIn to find out the top metropolitan areas for young college graduates. In the report, Trulia compares median income to median rental estimates, and combines this with job availability ratings from LinkedIn and what percent of the population is also young college graduates. Here’s where they think you should live, and why.

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First quarter GDP revised higher to 0.8%

The year started out better than originally estimated, according to the “second” GDP estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. National Association of Federal Credit Unions Chief Economist Curt Long noted that this is another in a string of positive data releases which will provide plenty of ammunition for the Fed to raise rates no later than July.

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Goldman Sachs subsidiary just bought more non-performing loans from Fannie Mae

For the third time in 2016, MTGLQ Investors, L.P., a “significant subsidiary” of Goldman Sachs is the winning bidder for a pool of non-performing loans from Fannie Mae. With this latest NPL purchase, MTGLQ Investors officially purchased more than $2.2 billion in non-performing loans from Fannie Mae this year.

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CFPB fines former Wells Fargo employee for illegal mortgage fee-shifting

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took action against a former Wells Fargo employee for an illegal mortgage fee-shifting scheme that allowed him to ultimately increase his commissions. The former employee now faces an $85,000 penalty and can’t work in the mortgage industry for one year.

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HSBC plans $420M suit against Merrill Lynch, Bank of America for toxic Countrywide loans

HSBC Bank notified a New York state court this week that it plans to file a $420 million lawsuit against Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, claiming that both Merrill Lynch and Bank of America knew a series of Countrywide mortgage loans were toxic and allowed the loans to be securitized nonetheless. Here are all the details.

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Wells Fargo now offers 3% down payment mortgages

Wells Fargo is answering calls in the industry to expand the credit box. Not only did the bank announce it now offers a down payment of as little as 3% for fixed-rate mortgages, but it is accepting mortgages with a FICO score as low as 620. Here’s how Greg Gwizdz, executive vice president of national retail sales with Wells Fargo, said the bank is making this program work.

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Chase quietly launches its own 3% down mortgage lending program

Prospective homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers who struggle to save for a down payment, have a new, and significant, outlet they can now turn to when seeking a low down payment mortgage — JPMorgan Chase. Not be outdone by Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase also recently launched its own 3% down mortgage program, albeit much more quietly.

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Pro Teck: Why CBSAs don't always give an accurate picture

While some communities may be very close to a full recovery, others continue to struggle with home prices much lower than their peak in 2006. According to Pro Teck, that causes major inaccuracies for CBSAs.

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[Factsheets] It's officially impossible to rent at minimum wage in most of the country

These charts from the National Low Income Housing Coalition break down the information from each state to show how rising rent costs and affordability issues are affecting those that earn minimum wage. What’s worse, there are no states where you can work less than 40 hours a week at minimum wage and still afford to rent even a one-bedroom unit.

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Freddie Mac: 30-year mortgage rate ticks up, still lowest month in 3 years

The interest rate for a 30-year mortgage climbed ever so slightly in the last week, but despite the slight increase, May 2016 will still finish up with the lowest average interest rate for any month in the last three years, according to new data from Freddie Mac. Here’s the full breakdown.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

RealtyTrac: Women lose out on homeowner profitability

Homes owned by single women tend to hold a lesser value and appreciate at a lower percentage than homes owned by single men. However, women tend to make less money than men, meaning they’re likely to buy homes that appreciate less, thus causing a domino effect.

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Chase almost done with RMBS settlement's consumer relief requirement

Joseph Smith, monitor of the Chase RMBS Settlement, officially credited Chase with providing $3,887,777,119 of consumer relief to 165,191 borrowers. This brings the bank extremely close to its required $4 billion in credited consumer relief by Dec. 31, 2017. Here’s a quick snapshot of the bank’s progress so far.

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TransUnion: Consumers show surprising behavior before obtaining mortgages

After a two and a half year study, TransUnion released its results for consumer spending before and after they close a mortgage and start a new one. Some of the results shocked the company executives. Here’s why.

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AAG brings jumbo reverse mortgage program to California

Last year, American Advisors Group, an Orange, California-based reverse mortgage lender, unveiled a jumbo reverse mortgage program, called the AAG Advantage. The AAG Advantage program initially launched in select states through the company’s retail channel in September. Now, the company is making the AAG Advantage program available to its wholesale partner network in California.

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FHFA: Home prices increase again, rise 1.3%

While home prices only increased a meager 1.3% in the first quarter of 2016, it’s added onto a long string of increases; 19 consecutive quarterly price increases to be exact. According to FHFA Supervisory Economist Andrew Leventis, there is at least one unique factor in this quarter.

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Caliber Home Loans acquires First Priority Financial

Caliber Home Loans, an Irving, Texas-based residential mortgage origination and servicing company, announced Wednesday that it plans to acquire First Priority Financial, a regional residential mortgage lender with branches and originators serving California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Iowa.

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New York to provide $100 million in zero-interest loans to prevent foreclosures

Homeowners in the state of New York who are struggling to keep their homes from falling into foreclosure are about to get a lifeline – $100 million in zero-interest loans from the state of New York. It’s all thanks to Goldman Sachs and its $5 billion toxic mortgage settlement.

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Northeast property tax highest in the nation

Surprisingly, the highest property taxes are not found in California, but rather, in the Northeast. New York actually wields the highest property tax average, which is significantly higher than even the second highest state, Connecticut.

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Here are the top 5 reasons some homeowners are still underwater [Infographic]

As the housing market improved and prices rose over the last few years, the number of borrowers that owe more on their home than it’s worth fell dramatically, as RealtyTrac notes that 12% of homes with a mortgage are still underwater. But with nationwide home prices rising 47% since bottoming out in February 2012, why are there still so many underwater borrowers? Here are the top five reasons.

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Fed quants: How tight lending conditions affect economic slow-down

Quants from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently showed how the tightening of credit causes a significant slowdown in growth. However, delays to raising the federal funds rate liftoff offset part of the adverse economic shocks. And, they built these charts to prove it.

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OCC terminates Wells Fargo's mortgage servicing restrictions

The OCC announced on Wednesday that it lifted the mortgage serving requirements on Wells Fargo now that it is in compliance with the requirements of the Independent Foreclosure Review. Wells Fargo is the most recent bank in a group of six to have its requirements lifted. But Wells Fargo didn’t come out of this unscathed and must pay a $70 million civil money penalty for previous violations of the order.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ocwen cleared of wrongdoing in multi-billion dollar mortgage bond fight

Early in 2015, a group of mortgage bond investors that reportedly included BlackRock, MetLife, and Pimco accused Ocwen Financial of violating its duties as a mortgage servicer by failing to properly collect payments on $82 billion of home loans thereby costing the investors $26 billion. Now, after a yearlong independent investigation found no evidence of the litany of allegations made by the investors, Ocwen is off the hook. Click the headline for the whole story.

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iStar hires new COO/CFO to lead strategy

As iStar prepares its new strategy, company CEO says why he thinks Jervis will play a key role in the success of the program. Jervis’ extensive background as a company executive in the real estate sector paved the way to his current position.

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Hillary Clinton ad uses housing crisis to smear Donald Trump

While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may be the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president, she’s not the official nominee yet. But that’s not stopping Clinton from attacking the presumptive Republican nominee and attempting to use Donald Trump’s seemingly crass prediction about the housing crisis against him.

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CFPB: Mortgage complaints down to third place

Mortgage complaints decreased for the second month in a row, this time by 12%. These two months mark the first time since the opening of the CFPB in 2011 that mortgage complaints do not hold the number one spot. Read more here.

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MBA: Mortgage applications post another tepid week

Despite the current low-mortgage rate environment, mortgage applications once again recorded a slow weak. However, one notable data point in this week’s survey is that the average loan size for purchase applications reached a survey high.

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HUD regulations spur promotions at Superior Homes Services

Growing demand within the company lead to promotions and new growth. The company promoted two people and brought on a third. See why the company CEO says they are “extremely fortunate” to hire this senior team.

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Wells Fargo to investors: This is how digital lending makes us profitable

Established in 1852, Wells Fargo is now the largest mortgage lender in the country and is one of the first pioneers to bring digital into the mortgage process. John Shrewsberry, Wells Fargo senior executive vice president, chief financial officer, presented the bank’s financial situation at its investor day on Tuesday, shedding light into how the bank plans to thrive moving forward. One major key to its success: Digital innovation.

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AssetAvenue offers new loan for rental investors

Although FirstKey Holdings is reportedly ending its lending program for smaller investors due to high costs, AssetAvenue decided to take a turn at it. The company just announced its new program designed for lenders, which will look at the property’s rent income, rather than the investor’s personal income.

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Appraisal volume continues to trudge along this spring

Appraisal volume, not surprisingly, recorded another slow week. Last week, Kevin Golden, director of analytics with a la mode, explained why this spring home-buying season isn’t turning into the hot buying season it’s supposed to be. This week’s report reiterates that.

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Federal Reserve: Mortgage debt rises to 4-year high

The amount of money that Americans owe to mortgage lenders rose to the highest level in more than four years during the first quarter, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Click through to read the full details.

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Black Knight: Foreclosure starts hit 10-year low

There were fewer foreclosure proceedings initiated during the month of April than in any month in the last 10 years, a new report from Black Knight Financial Services shows. Plus the number of loans in active foreclosure fell to a level not seen since 2007. Here are all the details.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Here's proof your cybersecurity efforts might totally fail

The threat of a cyber attack on a company, regardless of size, is unfortunately extremely likely, and the threat is only escalating. However, even though the threat is universal, it doesn’t mean companies should use the same defense plan. Debbie Hoffman, chief legal officer at Digital Risk, provides this as a better strategy.

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New home sales reverse course, rise in April

The latest April new home sales report shows signs that the housing market could finally be returning to normal after a series of up and down reports. One chief economist noted that so far new home sales have declined each month thus far in 2016, however are now up a whopping 24% from last April.

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4 tips for real estate agents to crush it on Snapchat

If you could go back in time and build an audience on Twitter before it blew up would you? Well, Snapchat is still an unchartered area for real estate agents to jump into. Here are four tips on how to use Snapchat to your advantage, along with Snapchat pros you need to follow.

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First-time homebuyer share grows despite tough market conditions

The share of first-time homebuyer purchases rose for the fifth consecutive month despite the competitive market. In fact, they now trail current homeowner’s share of home purchases. However, even with the rise, they still face many difficulties in the competition.

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NAFCU urges legislative action on cyber security

Hacking and cyber breaches are on the rise and continue to plague various institutions. To help combat this, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions is working with six other financial trade groups to fight for stronger cyber security regulations.

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House passes sweeping change to loan originator licensing rules

The House of Representatives just passed a bill that could create a huge impact on the mortgage industry, as mortgage loan officers may soon be able to transition from a traditional bank to a nonbank and keep originating new mortgage loans without having to wait for a new license. Now, it’s on to the Senate for the SAFE Transitional Licensing Act of 2015.

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Florida housing market improves in April

A number of factors combined to move Florida’s housing market forward in April. Higher sales prices, more listings entering the market and low mortgage rates all played a hand. That being said, affordable housing still seems to be struggling.

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Brookings Institution: For the most part, solar energy is worth it

The demand for solar energy is surging. But not everyone is on board with the idea, especially the companies involved. The root of the problem comes down to issues for utilities and the public utilities commissions that regulate them. While the debate was enough to ruin sales in Nevada, these studies disagree.

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Texas Supreme Court hands victory to Ocwen in fight over lien release

Ocwen Loan Servicing secured a major victory in Texas’ highest court recently. Seven of the nine justices on the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the state’s constitution does not give a homeowner the right to repayment of their home loan amount simply because a lender did not release its lien on the home in the proper timeframe.

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Appeals Court overturns Bank of America's $1.27 billion fine in 'Hustle' case

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit handed Bank of America a massive victory, and dealt the Department of Justice a major blow, on Monday when it overturned a $1.27 billion penalty against the megabank in a fraud case over defective mortgages sold by Countrywide. The case stems from the government suing Bank of America over Countrywide’s “Hustle” loan origination process.

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Deutsche Bank reportedly under SEC investigation for mortgage bond trading

Deutsche Bank is reportedly facing a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation over its mortgage bond trading activities in 2013, according to a report from Bloomberg. Here are all the details.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Did Wells Fargo pay off new mayor’s mortgage?

The mayor of Jackson gets more than a new office after his election. The great real estate swindle is alive and well on public radio. The Wall Street Journal, on the other hand, offers a rosier picture. Plus, what do Americans even spend their money on, these days?

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Former HUD secretaries: America's elderly desperately need more affordable housing

As our nation ages, millions of older adults are left without affordable housing options. In this guest post, former HUD Secretaries Henry Cisneros and Mel Martinez discuss why the situation is so dire and what we can do to change it.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Bipartisan Senate coalition unveils bill to boost affordable housing

As part of an effort to address what it calls America’s growing housing crisis, a bipartisan group in the Senate unveiled a bill this week that aims to boost affordable housing development by expanding the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

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Fannie Mae elects former Wells Fargo mortgage head to Board of Directors

Fannie Mae elected a new board member to serve with them, but has yet to determine in which committees he will serve. However, Heid’s work history with Wells Fargo dating back to 1988 could complicate matters.

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[Chart] The rise of the million-dollar home in today's hottest markets

Unlike the rest of America’s million dollar homes that only witnessed a slight increase in price, there are niche markets where seven figure homes are now normal. To no surprise, among the 100 largest metros, San Francisco came in first, but these high prices are not exclusive to California.

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New York Times: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac being "held captive"

On Wednesday the court unsealed documents that proved just how involved the White House was in the Treasury’s decision to sweep the mortgage company’s profits. It seems that the administration may not have ever intended to release the companies back to the private sector.

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Huntington Bank pledges $16.1 billion for community development in Midwest

Huntington Bancshares is partnering with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and more than 100 of the NCRC’s local community organizations, to launch a five-year plan that will see Huntington invest more than $16 billion for community development throughout the Midwest.

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California home sales off to slowest start since 2008

PropertyRadar’s recent report proved that talk about the slow start to the spring home buying season is, in fact, true. California’s sales for the year are not just low, but their lowest since 2008.

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How burdensome regulations now mean survival of the fittest

Even today, the consequences of the mortgage crisis of 2008 resonate throughout the mortgage industry. However, the biggest impact from the meltdown wasn’t sweeping regulation. Most will agree that there will be more “TRIDs” or “ATRs.” Instead, it’s this key factor for businesses that is important.

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NY Fed president: We are "on track" for interest rate hike

Falling in line with other Fed officials, New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley is the latest to tell the industry to expect a rate hike soon. As it stands, the FOMC is scheduled to meet in mid June and late July. Are you ready for rising interest rates?

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Existing home sales manage to increase two months straight

Last month’s existing home sales marked a real rebound in sales after choppiness in activity this year from unevenness in the rate of new listings coming onto the market. Turns out, existing homes sales managed to do it again, moving higher for the second consecutive month despite rising home prices and low housing inventory.

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Redfin: New listings decreased for first time in two years

Joining recent downward trends in housing inventory, now new listing are also dropping. Redfin explains the impacts this could have and why this drop is dangerous for the housing market.

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Lowe’s reports strong earnings in Q1

Lowe’s came in with strong results in its latest quarter, which is no surprise considering its rival’s strong numbers. But for the first time in 10 years, it beat Home Depot in one area.

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Congress to consider dramatic overhaul of credit reporting

The way consumers’ credit data is reported, recorded and used by the nation’s credit reporting agencies could dramatically change soon, if a newly introduced bill makes it way through Congress. The new bill would, among other things, cut the time that adverse debt appears on a consumer’s report, and places the “burden” of remedying errors on the agencies themselves.

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Time to close a loan settles at 44 days for the second month

For the second month in a row, the time to close all loans remained steady at 44 days in April, as lenders fall into a routine in this post-TRID environment. For a refresher, this is the shortest time to close since March 2015.

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[Infographic] Here’s what today’s Realtor looks like

There are nearly 1.2 million Realtors in the workforce, with more people opting into the real estate profession this year than in the past. Some of the demographic trends typical of Realtors over the years are still present, but there are a few new trends starting to take off as well.

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Body found buried in backyard of Dallas home sold to investor

A Dallas investor purchased a home in the Oak Cliff area hoping to flip and sell it for nearly half a million dollars. But his plans quickly changed during the renovation process when workers discovered a black bag filled with a decaying body buried under a concrete slab in the yard. Check out the in-depth investigative piece here.

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CoreLogic: Cash sales on pace to fall to 8-year low

The share of homes bought in cash is on pace to hit an eight-year low after the first two months of the year saw the smallest portion of homes purchased in cash in the same time period since 2008.

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Guild Mortgage becomes DOJ's latest target over alleged FHA-lending violations

Over the last several years, lenders like Wells Fargo, Franklin American Mortgage, Walter Investment, First Tennessee Bank, Freedom Mortgage and M&T Bank chose to settle with the Department of Justice after being accused of originating and underwriting mortgage loans that did not meet Federal Housing Administration standards. Now, Guild Mortgage is next on the DOJ’s hit list, but the lender says it plans to fight back.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

SunTrust completes 69% of national mortgage settlement

SunTrust is well on its way to completing its obligations, according to Joseph Smith, the monitor of the national mortgage settlement. Smith lays out SunTrust’s achievements for 2015, and how far the company still needs to go to complete its requirements.

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Strong housing market helps reduce lingering foreclosure inventory

“Lenders have been taking advantage of the strong seller’s market to dispose of lingering foreclosure inventory over the past year, evidenced by 12 consecutive months of increasing bank repossessions ending in February and now evidenced by these numbers showing a sharp drop in vacant zombie foreclosures compared to a year ago,” RealtyTrac senior vice president Daren Blomquist said.

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There's no consensus on GSE reform, but there is this

After attending a conference with some of the top investors in housing, I’ve come to realize housing is as close to solving GSE reform as it is in solving “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” But amid all the opinions and solutions discussed, there was one session right before I headed back to Dallas that tossed out an opinion I think needs to be mentioned.

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Why are both sides happy about latest ruling in Move/Zillow battle?

The details are telling: working in bad faith, executing a very secretive computer program, deleted files not really actually deleted, the destruction of property, professional misconduct, personal attacks. This is all in the latest Move/Zillow ruling. So how can both sides be happy about the way things are going? Because, here’s what really happened.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New FHA proposal puts reverse mortgages above HOA super liens

Many continue to make arguments for and against reverse mortgages, and the Federal Housing Administration may have been listening. Today they proposed a new set of reformations that would both enforce previous rules and create new ones.

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Judge hands Zillow latest victory in Move lawsuit

“There was no evidence presented that Zillow was in possession of any of the so-called missing storage devices,” the judge overseeing the massive lawsuit between Zillow and Move stated in a new ruling. Move called for court sanctions against Zillow, claiming two former Move executives destroyed intellectual property before taking jobs at Zillow.

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United Wholesale Mortgage announces new jumbo mortgage program

United Wholesale Mortgage announced its latest step in the jumbo market: the launch of its Jumbo Elite program. The move comes during a time that jumbo mortgage credit is tightening. Here are the features of this new program.

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Computershare completes acquisitions of Capital Markets Cooperative, Altavera Mortgage Services

Computershare, an Australian tech company that expanded into the U.S. mortgage market in 2011 when it acquired Specialized Loan Servicing for $113.6 million, announced earlier this year that it planned to expand its mortgage presence with a pair of acquisitions. Now, Capital Markets Cooperative and Altavera Mortgage Services are officially part of Computershare.

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Radian CEO S.A. Ibrahim announces plans to retire

Radian Group, which offers private mortgage insurance, risk management products and real estate services to financial institutions, will soon be looking for a new chief executive officer, as the company’s current CEO, S.A. Ibrahim, announced that he plans to retire next year.

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The 'perfect storm' blocking your business this spring-buying season

What’s presumed to be the hottest buying season of the year isn’t shaping up to that due to a flurry of factors that are growing into the perfect storm. For this week’s appraisal volume data, Kevin Golden, director of analytics with a la mode, explained more on what’s going behind the data at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Secondary conference in New York City.

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MBA: Despite historically low interest rates, mortgage applications actually drop

In a week that saw mortgage interest rates hit the lowest level in three years, mortgage applications actually dropped, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Here’s how it all broke down.

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Housing experts fear impact of Trump, Sanders presidency

Regardless of who wins in November, whether its presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or Sen. Bernie Sanders, the next president will have an impact on housing. But just what kind of impact? According to a new Zillow survey, housing experts are concerned more by the prospect of a President Trump or a President Sanders.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

3 reasons not to pay 3% down

Many homebuyers, including a large number of Millennials, are looking at non-traditional ways of buying a home. Putting a smaller down payment on a home is one way that they are able to cope with rising home prices, but one financial analyst thinks these smaller down payments are causing more harm than good.

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Top 10 fastest moving housing markets

Nerdwallet conducted a study using data from Zillow to show the fastest moving housing markets, and the need for buyers to be prepared when faced with difficulty. The top markets include cities from Texas, California, Colorado and others.

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Bank of America sued by top female executive, accused of fostering 'bro's club' atmosphere

One of the top female executives at Bank of America is now suing the megabank, accusing her superiors and co-workers of fostering a “bro’s club” atmosphere that led to her being paid less than half what the man who shares her job title is paid.

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Share of disposable income going to mortgage debt hits lowest level since 1980

Americans are “paying more attention” to their debts in the wake of the financial crisis, and because of that increased attention, the share of consumers’ disposable income that’s going to mortgage debt is now at its lowest level in 35 years. Here are all the details.

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Here's why Freddie Mac says the mortgage credit box is so tight

As the spring home-buying season struggles to lift off, many point to tight credit as one reason to blame. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae made efforts to open the credit box by lowering their minimum down payment to 3%, so why isn’t it working?

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Fannie Mae: Economic growth weak, but housing is improving

The major economic indicators disappointed in the first quarter, and will lead to a weaker than expected performance for the country’s economy this year, economists at Fannie Mae said in a new report. And positive housing trends won’t be enough to save 2016 from that weak first quarter.

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MiMutual Mortgage hires new vice president

MiMutual just hired a new executive, John Stevens, to advance the company’s national retail growth. The company’s managing director shares why Stevens is valuable to the team.

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April housing starts fall slightly from last year

April housing starts came in 1.7% below the April 2015 rate, reaching just 1,172,000. That’s 6.6% above the revised March estimate of 1,099,000 but still off from last year’s April numbers of 1,192,000, according to the Census Bureau report.

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Home Depot stocking up for remodeling wave?

Today’s earnings come on the heels of a weak building permits and housing starts report from the department of commerce. A closer look at those numbers, and Home Depot’s, reveal a potential, bold strategy for the renovation retailer. Here it is.

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Love working in real estate finance, but hate to network?

As consummate appraisers, real estate agents, mortgage loan brokers, etc., readers of HousingWire are often called upon to network as part of their jobs, be it happy hour or industry conferences, such as MBA Secondary, which is going on right now. Love it or hate it, but at least learn to master it.

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The Big Short's Michael Burry just bailed on big bank stocks

Michael Burry, whose name still carries significant weight in the financial industry, is no stranger to having a strong opinion about the nation’s biggest banks. And Burry’s hedge fund, Scion Asset Management, completely dumped its position on several of the big banks during the first quarter. Does he know something we don’t?

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Black Knight Financial Services acquires eLynx

In a move that the company says will enable it to “electronically support the full mortgage origination process,” Black Knight Financial Services acquired eLynx, a portfolio company of American Capital Ltd. Here’s what both companies say about their now-combined future.

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Is Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert partnering with Warren Buffett to buy Yahoo?

Recently, Yahoo made it known that it is interested in selling off its “core business” as the company struggles with declining revenue. Quicken Loans founder Gilbert is reportedly among the interested bidders, and he has a huge name ready and willing to serve as potential financial backing – Warren Buffett.

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Ellie Mae teams up with Wells Fargo

The two companies teamed up to create a solution for data transfer from Ellie Mae to Wells Fargo. Ellie Mae announced the new partnership, details the new process, and explains how it will improve efficiency. It’s all right here.

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BOK Financial promotes account manager

After being with the company since 2013, Angelo Zakis received a promotion to account manager, where he will correspond with credit unions across the nation. The company announced his promotion and talked about what it says is the key to its success.

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MBA: 30-year mortgage rate predicted to hover around 4%

Get used to low mortgage rates because they are not expected to go anyway anytime soon. Mike Fratantoni, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, in a press conference at the MBA Secondary conference in New York City, gave insight on how the MBA expects the mortgage market to look moving forward.

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FHFA: More than 3.4 million homeowners used HARP

The Home Affordable Refinance Program comes to a close this year. Now the FHFA will put in its last efforts to encourage homeowners to take advantage. But, before we all wave a teary goodbye, here are some stats offering a snapshot of the epic, Federal program.

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TRID works: More homebuyers actually review mortgage documents

Despite the long lead time that the CFPB gave the industry to prepare for TRID, which is also known as “Know Before You Owe,” there were still hiccups and headaches for the industry, but it appears after all the frustration and consternation, TRID is working as designed for consumers.

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FBI accused of planting hidden microphones around Bay Area to nab real estate investors

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly planted hidden microphones in and around the San Francisco Bay Area as part of an effort to catch several real estate investors suspected of bid rigging at local foreclosure auctions.

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First Guaranty Mortgage brings on regional sales manager

After 17 years in the mortgage industry, Van Evans moved to First Guaranty Mortgage as the regional sales manager. The company gives insight about what Evans brings to the table.

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Freddie Mac joins forces with Ellie Mae to streamline the mortgage process

Freddie Mac made a huge announcement this morning at Mortgage Bankers Association’s Secondary convention in New York City. Freddie Mac unveiled that it is integrating Loan Product Advisor into Ellie Mae’s Encompass LOS this summer in conjunction with its rollout of Loan Advisor Suite. Click the headline to get the latest news.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Clear Capital laughs off Money Monster coincidence

The Jodie Foster-directed financial thriller, which sees TV stock tipper Lee Gates (George Clooney) taken hostage by a disgruntled investor, held an unexpected consequence for a company near and dear to the mortgage finance industry. Sadly, it’s not the first time something like this happened.

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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: CFPB targets high-risk home lending groups

The CFPB is joining with the New York State Department of Financial Services to look into a set of home loans they don’t like. Also, REITs continue a bull run. Plus, did anyone go and see ‘Money Monster’ at the cinema this weekend? Well, the hard-working men and women at the real Clear Capital did and they didn’t like it. Here’s why.

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Friday, May 13, 2016

M&T Bank latest to settle FHA-lending violations, will pay $64 million

Joining a list that now includes Wells Fargo, Franklin American Mortgage, Walter Investment, First Tennessee Bank, Freedom Mortgage, among others, M&T Bank agreed to settle with the Department of Justice over alleged violations of the False Claims Act.

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FNC: First time homebuyers will struggle this Spring season

Home prices are up, foreclosures are down, and the overall market seems to be well on its way to recovery, according to FNC. First time homebuyers, however, may still struggle to overcome some challenges.

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Finally: $8.5B Countrywide mortgage bond settlement gets green light

Ending a legal quagmire that stretched back to 2011, investors are finally set to receive their money from an $8.5 billion settlement involving Bank of America, mortgages originated by its Countrywide unit, and the Bank of New York Mellon, which acted as the trustee for the mortgage bond investors. Click the headline to read more.

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Credit score fears run deep in the housing market

Fears of not holding a good enough credit score plagues all levels of the housing market. Yes, even folks who have a lot of money. Here’s a breakdown of the current situation.

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Goldman Sachs subsidiary again buys non-performing loans from Fannie Mae

After one month, Fannie Mae announced it’s fifth non-performing loan sale. Goldman Sachs bought, not one, but all four pools from Fannie Mae. Here’s the details of the transaction, and when it is set to close.

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Here are the 25 cities with the biggest rent hikes

The rental market is ripe for single-family rental investors, but not so much for big-city renters themselves. All 25 rental markets witnessed rents increase by more than 10%. And it’s not the usual order of names, as three new markets take spots in the top 10.

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MBA: Purchase applications drop from strong demands in February, March

New home purchase applications failed to keep the upward trend witnessed the past two months. According to MBA’s vice president of Research and Economics, though, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

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Freddie Mac posts second NPL sale of 2016

Freddie Mac announced plans for its second non-performing loan sale of the year. While it’s not nearly as much as the $1.6 billion transaction announced at the start of the year, there’s still $135 million up for grabs.

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DocMagic launches solution for TRID compliance

After analysts found that an alarming 90% of loans contained TRID errors back in December, DocMagic created a solution. This is how DocMagic says it will eliminate concerns over TRID violations.

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How to beat out other homebuyers when there is no inventory

It’s an extremely tough market out there for potential homebuyers, meaning every little thing that they can do to beat the competition matters. Here are tips on how buyers can beat the competition, especially when there is barely any inventory.

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Cerberus reportedly shuttering FirstKey small balance single-family rental lending program

FirstKey Mortgage, a subsidiary of FirstKey Holdings, which is indirectly majority-owned by funds managed by Cerberus Capital Management, will reportedly end a lending program designed to serve smaller investors interested in buying single-family rental properties.

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Despite odds, existing-home sales on track to best year in a decade

The positive recent news for existing-home sales is predicted to last through the whole year, meaning 2016 could the best year in a decade. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, presented his strong outlook for 2016 at this year’s Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. Here’s more of why Yun is so bullish.

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Fitch: Coastal home prices diverge

While seemingly similar upon first glance, a closer look shows that New York City and San Francisco are two very different cities. Fitch’s new report shows the main causes for the differences in the housing markets for each city.

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Conservative groups join growing push to recapitalize Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

Over the last year, various groups, including community lenders, affordable housing advocates, civil rights groups, interested observers, and financial analysts, called for a change in governmental policy that would allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to rebuild a capital base. Now, there’s a new voice pushing to recapitalize the GSEs, or several, as it were, coming from an interesting source.

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MBA: Foreclosure starts lowest in 16 years

The nation continues to see foreclosure rates decline to lows not seen since 2000 or 2007. But there’s still some ground to make up, especially in judicial states, which could be holding the market back from recovery. Here’s why.

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Jobless claims increase by 20,000

The housing industry’s focus continues to remain set on the labor market, as the latest jobless claims report posts filings increased in the week ending May 7. Jobs are in the spotlight since it’s a significant factor in whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.

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Texas Realtor makes waves with Facebook post appealing to anti-Trump homeowners

Whether it’s real or imagined, there’s at least the perception that some people in the U.S. would actually leave this country if Donald Trump wins the election and becomes president. And if this supposed wave of Americans flee Trump’s America, one Texas Realtor is ready and willing to help local residents sell their homes.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Politicos want to refinance HUD, start by looking in the wrong place

It’s true that the financing of social housing operates very differently in the two systems. But let’s be 100% clear: that is where the comparison ends. The thought that affordable housing in the U.K. somehow offers a better social alternative is laughable, at the very least. And here’s why.

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Good news Realtors, all your emoji dreams just came true

Right up there with KIMOJI and Fitmoji by Shaun T, Realtors now get their own emojis to call home. If the moving boxes and two house options on Apple’s emoji list weren’t enough, you’re in luck. These are the emojis you’ve been looking for.

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Affordable mortgage rates? Loan originations fall to two-year low

Despite the fact that mortgage interest rates routinely hovered around “historic” lows for much of the first quarter, loan originations fell to their lowest level in two years, according to a new report from RealtyTrac. What drove the decrease? Click through to find out.

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Freddie Mac: 30-year mortgage rate falls to lowest level in 3 years

Just when you thought mortgage rates couldn’t fall any lower, they did. This marks the third consecutive week of declines, with mortgage rates now at their low point in three years. Check out this chart for a better understanding of how much mortgage rates have tumbled.

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Report: Home sales hold ground despite TRID

Despite setbacks from TRID, the market saw gains in the first quarter of 2016. And actually, TRID is not the top setback for the housing market, but this Capital Economics’ report shows what is.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

5 keys to ensure security and compliance with modern mortgages

In a world with increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks and stricter mortgage guidelines, modern technology is the answer for risk mitigation. Here’s how mortgage settlement service providers and their lenders can guarantee security and benefit from turn-key compliance.

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78-year-old real estate developer gets two years in prison for insider trading

It’s the kind of thing you see in a movie, but not the kind of thing you expect to actually happen in real life. A Boston-area real estate developer will spend the next two years in federal prison after being convicted of insider trading after he profited $300,000 by using a stock tip passed to him on a napkin about a bank acquisition.

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Clayton Holdings becomes first Morningstar-rated 'deal agent' for mortgage bonds

Earlier this year, several of the “biggest bond funds on Wall Street” released a proposal to include an additional layer of oversight and protection on private-label mortgage bonds as part of an effort to jumpstart the languishing private mortgage market. Now, Morningstar Credit Ratings is helping to move the concept forward by issuing it first “deal agent” ranking.

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Real estate agent throws himself on mercy of court

A real estate agent begged a court for mercy today at his sentencing for 15 years of fraudulent activity. This is why the court turned deaf ears to him, and how his wife was involved.

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Dear lenders, there's no time to be afraid of rookie LOs

Lenders are finally catching on that they can’t keep doing business as usual if they still want to exist in the future. The solution, hiring new young talent, doesn’t happen easily given past bad encounters. But the problem isn’t going away. Here are three tips on how to recruit, and keep, talent.

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AMI to Fannie Mae CEO: Private capital is ready for return to mortgages

Contrary to what Fannie Mae’s CEO told HousingWire last week, private capital is ready and willing to return to the mortgage market, the Association of Mortgage Investors said this week. AMI, which represents private investors, public and private pension funds, and endowments, went so far as to respond to Mayopoulos’ statements directly. Here’s their stand.

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Oil slump driving credit delinquencies

A new report from TransUnion shows that credit delinquencies increased due to the oil slump, but one market seems immune. Mortgage loan delinquencies defied the other credit markets, and actually decreased from last year.

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Groundbreaker: AIG insures crisis-era United Guaranty mortgage insurance policies

By its own admission, American International Group is set to break ground in the risk-transfer space. The company announced Monday that it obtained an insurance policy designed to cover any losses the company might suffer on a series of crisis-era mortgages that are currently insured by its mortgage insurance subsidiary, United Guaranty.

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MBA: Mortgage applications barely move

It’s another quiet week for mortgage applications despite it being peak-buying season, reiterating other industry reports that spring isn’t booming. Here’s the latest update on just how quiet it is for the mortgage market.

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Is Ditech really on the verge of lay offs?

Ditech employees in Earth City, Missouri are not completely at a loss. Despite reports indicating that 103 employees at the location would be cut, there are significant details missing in the fine print. Fine print meaning, in fact, all 103 employees could still consider themselves Ditech workers.

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Freddie Mac: Mortgage repurchases down 95% from 2010 peak

Thanks to improvements made by lenders to their loan production process and updates to the government-sponsored enterprises’ representation and warranty policies, single-family loan repurchase requests are down 95% from their peak in 2010, according to Freddie Mac.

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Equifax: Write-offs hit 9-year low for first quarter

Write-offs and severe delinquencies are down as numbers hit their lowest in several years. Consumer credit tracker, Equifax states that homeowners are in their best state since well before the recession.

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Sindeo hires Deepak Kumar as COO/CFO

Kumar filled Sindeo’s executive position and now looks to lead the team into new expansion. He brings 20 years of experience, along with prior history at Fannie Mae to the company.

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What Spring home-buying season? Appraisal volume drops

Appraisal volume continues to struggle to lift-off this spring. With more than half the season already over, volume fell for the week of May 1. Kevin Golden, director of analytics with a la mode, attributes the tough spring season to these factors.

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Real estate stocks get S&P shortlist for investors

Real estate investment trusts are saying so long to being bundled with “financials” in their industry classification, getting their own new category called, no shocker here, “real estate.” Investors demand is expected to surge. Ready. Set. Go.

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Foreclosures, seriously delinquent mortgages fall to lowest level since 2007

The number of homes in some stage of foreclosure and the number of seriously delinquent mortgages are now at levels not seen since late 2007, according to a new report from CoreLogic. What’s behind the drop? Read on to find out.

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Here's the bright spot in Stonegate Mortgage's tough 1Q

Stonegate Mortgage didn’t get away from the financial impact of the first quarter’s historically low interest rates, which already dented the performance of most other lenders. But the results weren’t fully marred by bad news. Here’s one area where the lender performed better.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

[video] Quicken Loans to HUD: You can't have it both ways

In the latest update on its fight with the government, Quicken Loans CEO Bill Emerson commented on a recent quote from Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro. To Quicken Loans, HUD can’t ask for more people to lend as it decides to go after lenders for lending in the first place. Make sense?

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Mason-McDuffie Mortgage announces partnership with tech company Blend

Blend, winner of HousingWire’s Tech 100 award, teamed up with Mason-McDuffie to create a digital lending platform. The company wants to offer a more modern, digital experience to homebuyers.

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Credit unions no exception to growing digital demand

While known for their more personal relationship with borrowers, credit unions are still subject to the pitfalls of not going digital. A new study found that credit unions that offer fewer digital services are losing assets. Here’s how much going digital is helping/hurting their bottom line.

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California housing becomes more affordable

Housing affordability has gotten better from 2015’s fourth quarter, but California still has a lot of catching up to do. CAR’s recent report shows the affordability percentage, and how it compares to 2008 and 2012.

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Fannie Mae: Consumers never felt so poorly about home buying

Fewer consumers feel that now is a good time to buy than ever before, according to new survey results released Monday by Fannie Mae. The survey results come on the heels of the previous month’s survey, which showed consumers had less confidence in the housing market in general than they had for 18 months.

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EXCLUSIVE: First Guaranty Mortgage goes digital, buys goodmortgage.com

First Guaranty Mortgage Corp. is acquiring goodmortgage.com, an online mortgage lender, as FGMC plans to expand its digital presence. According to the company, goodmortgage.com was one of the “early pioneers” in online direct consumer lending, and its robust online lending platform made it attractive to FGMC.

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PEMCO appoints Kimiko Yamamoto CEO, President

Yamamoto joined the company in 1996 and was named chief operating officer in 2008 before being named CEO. Her work does not consume all of her time, however, as she also serves with various organizations and non-profits.

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Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac mortgage modification interest rate falls to new record low

The benchmark interest rate set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for standard mortgage modifications will drop to its lowest level ever later this week, as the government-sponsored enterprises adjust their standards to match the market’s “historically low” interest rates.

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Housing limbo due to homebuilder compliance costs?

The housing inventory crisis has created a roadblock during the spring buying season, and it doesn’t look like it will be ending anytime soon. As far as when the Fed will raise interest rates, no one seems to have a clue. Experts are widely divided, with only a little more than a month left until the Federal Open Market Committee meets again in June.

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Upcoming loan officers ready for the market?

As many loan officers prepare for retirement, the market struggles to find their replacement, and those that are coming in may not be prepared for today’s market. With only 20% of them reporting that they speak another language, this could become a barrier for the diverse new home-buying population.

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PennyMac pretax income drops 61%

PennyMac’s pretax income dropped significantly. However, the company CEO explains the reasons, and says the company continues to see solid growth trends. Originations and unpaid principal balance both saw significant increase from last quarter.

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Friday, May 6, 2016

7 facts about the next wave of mortgage lending professionals

Only 10% to 25% of new mortgage sales professionals who entered the industry over the last two decades successfully remained in origination longer than two years, forcing the 200,000 estimate to quickly grow to millions in order to secure long-term employees. Here’s a picture of what the industry’s recent hires look like.

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$4.7B Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae bulk MSR portfolio hits market

A bulk Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae mortgage-servicing rights portfolio now on the market has two main selling points: its large and has a low percentage of delinquencies. The seller, which is a publicly traded bank, has previous MSR sale experience and originated most of the mortgages through its retail channel.

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Utah man formally charged with operating $28m real estate Ponzi scheme

Scammer allegedly didn’t tell investors that, in fact, the properties offered as collateral were often not owned by him, were substantially encumbered, or were in uninhabitable or blighted condition, the SEC said back in January. Now, he’s landed in front of a federal grand jury.

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[VIDEO] NAR name drops Realtor into Modern Family script

The character Phil Dunphy from Modern Family mentions the “R” word twice, and at the end of this week’s show, straightens the “R” insignia on his jacket. Here, NAR explains why they chose this character, and where their new commercials can be seen.

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Does jobs report mean Fed won't raise interest rates in June?

The latest jobs report revealed a slow down in the labor market, causing some economists to question the likelihood of a June interest rate rise. As a refresher, the Fed chose not to raise rates in its most recent April meeting, but as many as three rate hikes are forecasted to happen this year. There are only five meetings left in 2016. You can do the math.

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

MBA: Mortgage credit availability tightens in April

Indexes where mortgage credit availability tightened outweighed the indexes where it loosened in April. The overall mortgage credit became less available, despite Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s low down payment loan programs.

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Redwood plans new RMBS in coming months

Redwood Trust reported a drop in its first quarter 2016 earnings, shedding light on the troubles in the market and what it will do to overcome them. One area its eyeing that the rest of the market is hesitant on, its Sequoia securitization program.

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CFPB's rule to limit arbitration opens door to class action against banks

The CFPB is seeking comment on a new proposed regulation that would prohibit mandatory arbitration clauses that deny groups of consumers their day in court, putting into motion discussions that started toward the end of last year. When talk first started surrounding arbitration clauses, it received mixed opinions. Do those concerns still hold true?

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Distressed property sales continue to drop

Distressed sales continue to drop across the U.S. Only nine states did not report a decrease in distressed sales for February, according to CoreLogic. In fact, one state’s distressed sales have decreased 59.8% since the peak in 2009.

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Housing market on the verge of another crisis?

Although the market may seem to be improving, some are beginning to wonder if we aren’t headed straight towards the next housing crisis, according to one press report. Here are some signs where the market is showing it might be about to fall.

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Fannie Mae CEO: Private capital unwilling to step into mortgages

This should concern all of us for two reasons. One, Fannie Mae CEO Timothy Mayopoulos is 100% correct. Two, there is no safety net, and the political landscape is currently unpredictable.

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Ambushed Realtor shares graphic photo of vicious attack

Real estate agent claims prospective rental tenant lured him into an ambush. Once inside the property, two masked men jumped out, pushed him to the ground and hit him in the back of the head with a gun. Here’s a photo of the wound.

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Freddie Mac: Historically low interest rates stick around

The historically low interest rates that are negatively impacting most companies’ first-quarter earnings are sticking around, looking at Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Mortgage rates now hover just above their low point for the year, which is good news for homebuyers.

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Fannie Mae 1Q net income slips to $1.1B

Fannie Mae managed to post a first-quarter net income of $1.1 billion, faring better than most others in the industry that posted a net loss due to the first quarter’s historically low interest rates. Timothy Mayopoulos, president and CEO of Fannie Mae, said, “The changes we have made to the company have put us in a stronger position to fulfill our responsibility to deliver safe, affordable mortgage financing for our customers, in all markets at all times.”

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Why are major housing markets going haywire?

OK, so, east of the Mississippi some of the nation’s slowest markets are beginning to heat up. And in the West, the hot markets are beginning to cool. Here’s the latest Trulia report on this peculiar activity.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

PHH sinks as low interest rates destroy mortgage servicing

The first quarter’s historically low interest rates already pulled down the performance of Nationstar Mortgage, Walter Investment, and Ocwen Financial thanks to the impact of negative adjustments to the “fair value” of each company’s mortgage servicing rights portfolio, and now PHH Corporation is joining that unfortunate list as the company posted a loss in the first quarter.

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Ringleader of 'largest mortgage modification scheme ever charged' found guilty

A federal jury needed less than a half hour to convict the ringleader of what the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office called the “largest mortgage modification scheme ever charged” on multiple charges stemming from a scheme that defrauded more than 30,000 struggling homeowners out of $31 million.

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George Will takes on #FannieGate, says GSEs 'should never have existed'

Well, it seems we can’t go more than a few days without a prominent, national media personality commenting on the stability and standing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, how the GSEs ended up in conservatorship, and what’s next. Last month, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi weighed in. And now, no less than George Will has written about “#FannieGate.”

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Sperlonga, Equifax to record HOA payments for credit scores

These two companies are bringing change to credit reports as they begin reporting HOA payments, which previously were not reflected in the reports. Both companies talk about how it will benefit HOA’s, homeowners, and the market.

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Fannie Mae approval of SoFi as servicer, seller signals future growth

Although SoFi only recently ventured into the mortgage industry from the world of student loans where it got its start, it’s not taking long to catch up and compete. SoFi further cemented its place in the mortgage market by announcing that Fannie Mae approved its wholly owned subsidiary SoFi Lending Corp. as a seller and servicer.

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TRID trouble? CFPB tools give exclusive advice, tips

Regardless of how many preventative programs, meetings and discussions a company has surrounding TRID, it can’t trump the tools the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the enforcer of TRID, is giving out. Want some advice? These tools are what you need for TRID.

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First Guaranty Mortgage brings in new relationship manager

First Guaranty Mortgage announced the addition of warehouse lending sales veteran Norman Scott to its team. Executive vice president said he anticipates Scott being a key contributor to the company’s growth.

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Mortgage servicing drags down Nationstar Mortgage 1Q earnings

Nationstar Mortgage Holdings’ earnings followed in the steps of Freddie Mac and Walter Investment Management Corp. as it took a hit from the first quarter’s historically low interest rates. However, this didn’t ruin everything, thanks to these key areas of strength.

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Freddie Mac's rough first quarter will likely embolden calls for GSE reform

If you listen closely, you can hear the noise surrounding the recapitalization and release of the government-sponsored enterprises from conservatorship getting louder thanks to Freddie Mac reporting a loss of $354 million in the first quarter. Now all those who want to see an end to the GSE conservatorship for whatever their particular motivation is have a new card to play. And they will play it.

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Zillow reports record traffic, but bottom line dented by Move/News Corp legal battle

Things have never been better for the Zillow Group websites, which includes consumer brands Zillow, Trulia, StreetEasy, HotPads and Naked Apartments, in terms of website traffic, but the company’s bottom line was again negatively affected by Zillow’s legal battle against Move, Realtor.com, the National Association of Realtors and News Corp.

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MBA: Mortgage apps reiterate the difficulties of this spring-buying season

The spring-buying season is supposed to be the hottest buying season all year, yet industry reports keep revealing that this year, spring isn’t even close to booming. The latest mortgage application report from the MBA is no different, showing that the spring-buying season is struggling.

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Luxury home prices decrease for first time since 2012

Whereas most homes on the market are increasing in price, the same cannot be said of luxury homes. Redfin says the luxury housing is out of step with the rest of the market, and explains why.

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Ten-X projects home sales to increase substantially in April

Ten-X’s monthly report predicts April’s sales increased by 3.6% from March. Ten-X chief economist said the housing market is firm and supported by a strong labor market.

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Fannie Mae, Equifax partner to provide risk-sharing investors with credit score data

Aiming to provide investors with more information into the borrowers whose borrowers back its risk-sharing deals, Fannie Mae announced an “expansion” of its relationship with Equifax that will provide additional credit score data to investors.

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Former president of Ginnie Mae: Agency should split from HUD

Ginnie Mae would be considered a blue-chip institution in the private sector but is unable to plot its own budgetary course, which is a major impediment to growth and stability. Today, Ginnie is a success story. It has outgrown its role as a specialist supporting HUD and, instead, has ballooned to become a core industry driver. Something needs to change.

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New solution provides flood-zone alerts

FloodAnalyzer identifies a property’s flood-zone status and performs an analysis. Throughout this process, it uses the most current Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Flood Hazard Boundary Maps.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bank of America reaches $190M settlement with FHLB Seattle

After six years, Bank of America finally reached an agreement with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle. The claim dealt with mortgage-backed securities sold before the financial crisis.

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Walter Investment tanks thanks to low interest rates

The first quarter’s historically low interest rates did more than just negatively impact the earnings of Freddie Mac, which reported a $354 million net loss in the first quarter. The quarter’s low rates also obliterated the bottom line of Walter Investment Management Corporation.

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Appraisal volume dented by low inventory, tight credit

Appraisal volume continued to inch higher for the week of April 24, but at a slower pace from the previous week, the latest appraisal volume numbers from a la mode reported. As it stands, appraisal volume continues to be impacted by a tight spring housing market.

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CoreLogic: West leads nation in home-price appreciation

Home-price appreciation has stayed strong for roughly a year now. The West, in particular, has posted a lot of troubling housing news as of late given its rapidly rising home prices. So what does the future hold for home prices?

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Freddie Mac CEO: Mortgage industry running better than ever

This year Freddie Mac “survived” the stress test scenarios that imagine a crash larger than the subprime crisis. Those are just tests, but what about today’s reality? Should we expect more losses from Freddie, despite the strength of the overall industry?

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Oregon town considers seizing abandoned foreclosures to fight blight

An Oregon town is considering a unique method to flight blight by using a “little-known” state law that would allow the city to seize abandoned foreclosures that the city deems a threat to public health.

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RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing brings on vice president of loan retention

Kelli Yarbrough is coming on the RoundPoint with 16 years of experience. Here, the company talks about why they’re glad she will be leading, and what some of her new responsibilities will include.

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Millennials locked out of Denver area

As Millennials struggle with rising student loans and rising home prices, buying a home would seem to be out of the question in some markets. In fact, in Boulder County surveys show that these may be keeping Millennials out of the market.

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Texas housing inventory officially hits all-time low

The problem just got worse for folks looking to buy in the Lone Star State. If they weren’t already struggling enough with today’s tight market, housing inventory now sits at an all-time low. According to the Texas Association of Realtors, this could become a larger problem if something doesn’t change.

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Former New Mexico Realtor group executive indicted on hundreds of embezzlement charges

Sherri Miller, the former executive director of the Ruidoso Board of Realtors, is facing nearly 400 charges of embezzlement and forgery stemming from allegations that she skimmed at least $90,000 from the organization. What’s even crazier about the allegations against Miller is that Miller’s predecessor with the Ruidoso Board of Realtors was also accused, and subsequently convicted, of embezzling from the organization.

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Deadline approaching for FHA’s Electronic Appraisal Delivery portal

This portal becomes mandatory for all FHA-backed loans this year, and there are still steps lenders must take in order to begin using it. Veros warns against procrastination as the deadline approaches, here’s why.

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The digital mortgage revolution is happening now. Are you ready?

How fast is the digital mortgage revolution happening? Before I could even finish a feature piece for HousingWire’s magazine on digital innovation, get it edited, published and put on the website, let alone delivered in the mail, Wells Fargo rolled out an entirely new, more simplified and streamlined mortgage app for cell phones. Today’s digital pace of change is faster than fast. Are you moving with it?

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Judge approves Goldman Sachs $272 million toxic mortgage settlement

On Monday, a federal judge approved a $272 million settlement between Goldman Sachs and NECA-IBEW Health & Welfare Fund, an electrical workers’ pension fund in Decatur, Illinois, finding it to be “fair, adequate and reasonable.”

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Ellie Mae launches mortgage app tracking Millennials

The housing industry is changing as more Millennials start seriously looking at buying a home. Ellie Mae’s new online interactive Millennial Tracker will keep track of the new trends so that lenders can be better prepared to meet the needs of the new generation.

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Don't worry, Warren Buffett says there's no housing bubble

Over the weekend, thousands of enthusiastic followers of Warren Buffett descended on Nebraska to hear from the famed “Oracle of Omaha” at Berkshire Hathaway’s yearly meeting. During the meeting, Buffett touched on the economy, investing, politics and life. And housing. Quite a bit about housing, actually. Here’s your full recap, plus more on Buffett’s burgeoning homebuilding empire. All that and more, in your Monday Morning Cup of Coffee.

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