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Treasury Says TARP Repayments Now Surpass Funds Outstanding

In its May monthly Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) report to Congress Friday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that TARP repayments to taxpayers have, for the first time, surpassed the total amount of TARP funds outstanding. Treasury's report showed that, through the end of the May, TARP repayments had reached a total of $194 billion, which exceeded the total amount of TARP funds outstanding ($190 billion) by $4 billion.

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House Passes FHA Reform Bill Authorizing Higher Premiums

In a near unanimous vote of 406 to 4 Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill intended to replenish the coffers of the federal agency that insures mortgages against default. The legislation grants the Federal Housing Administration the authority to nearly triple borrowers' annual premium cap, from the current rate of 0.55 percent, to as high as 1.50 percent. The federal mortgage insurer says this will generate an estimated $300 million a month in additional receipts, while costing the average FHA borrower $42 more in monthly premiums.

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Condo Terminators Completes Florida’s First Mass Short Sale

Condo Terminators, a specialty consulting group of Morningside Mortgage Corporation, in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida, has completed the filing process for what the company says is Florida's first mass short sale of a failed condominium conversion. The company says this project is expected to lead a wave of ""condominium terminations,"" resulting in mass short sales of failed condominiums and reversions to apartment buildings.

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Negative Equity Could Push Homeownership Rate Lower: New York Fed

The collapse of the housing market and the sharp rise in unemployment have caused the U.S. homeownership rate to fall to 67.2 percent -- essentially a reversion to the level of 10 years ago. A new report by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York warns that the rate is likely to drop even lower, as homeowners with negative equity decide the benefits of renting outweigh the costs of homeownership.

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Idaho HFA Launches Low Downpayment Financing Initiative

In an effort to make homeownership a real possibility for residents across the state, Idaho Housing and Finance Association has launched a new product for creditworthy borrowers through its IdaMortage program. According to the association, the new Affordable Advantage Loan offers a down payment as low as $1,000 and has a low-cost, 30-year fixed interest rate. In addition, the loan has no mortgage insurance requirement, saving qualified borrowers money on their mortgage payment every month.

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Bureau Continues to Expand Foreclosure Prevention Efforts in Maine

In order to provide further assistance to Maine homeowners at risk of foreclosure, the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection signed a contract Monday with the Washington Hancock Community Agency, adding a ninth certified housing counseling service to the list of nonprofit agencies currently under contract around the state. According to Will Lund, superintendent of the Bureau, there is a definite need for housing counselors in Washington and Hancock counties, as more than 1,000 residents in these areas defaulted on their mortgages in the last year alone.

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First Preston Wins HUD Field Servicing Contracts

First Preston Management, a national real estate marketing and management firm, has been selected by HUD to provide property management services for HUD's single-family asset portfolio in 11 states, including Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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Loan Resolution Corporation Receives 10,000 HAFA Requests

Since the government's Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program was implemented just over two months ago, Loan Resolution Corporation, a pre-foreclosure asset management firm based out of Scottsdale, Arizona, says it has been assigned more than 10,000 HAFA requests. Loan Resolution executives attribute the growth to the company's ""quality over quantity"" approach when it comes to helping homeowners avoid foreclosure.

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Judge Orders BofA to Halt All Foreclosure Sales in Utah

A judge in St. George, Utah has issued a preliminary injunction stopping all foreclosure sales in the state by Bank of America and its subsidiary ReconTrust. The decision, by 5th District Court Judge James L. Shumate, was based on the grounds that the nation's largest mortgage servicer and its related companies are not registered to do business in Utah. The court order puts a temporary freeze on all trustee sales of homes foreclosed by BofA, and if made permanent, it could affect thousands of Utah borrowers facing foreclosure.

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Equator Sees Pickup in Short Sales, with 215,000 Initiated on Platform

Equator has initiated 200,000 short sale transactions through its technology platform since the system was first launched just seven months ago. Another 15,000 short sales have been initiated on the Equator platform that conform to the guidelines of the federal government's Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program.

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