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Loss Mitigation

New York AG Sues HSBC, Alleging Failure to Follow Foreclosure Law

HSBC faces a lawsuit from New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who accused the bank of failing to follow a state foreclosure law that mandates a settlement conference for past due borrowers. In a statement, Schneiderman announced he filed a lawsuit against HSBC, alleging the bank repeatedly failed to file a Request for Judicial Intervention (RJI) in a timely manner. According to Schneiderman, delays in filing the RJI increase the risk that homeowners will lose their home and leads to a backlog of foreclosure cases.

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CoreLogic: Home Prices Post 12.1% Annual Gain in April

Home prices climbed higher for the 14th straight month and displayed another impressive double-digit annual gain, according to CoreLogic's Home Price Index (HPI) report. When including distressed sales, prices were up 12.1 percent in April compared to a year ago CoreLogic reported the increase in April marks the biggest annual gain since February 2006. From March to April, home prices ticked up by 3.2 percent.

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Nonprofit Warns of Misleading Short Sale Program Claims

A nonprofit advised distressed homeowners to beware of misleading claims concerning short sale programs that guarantee owners they can stay in their home and buy it back later at a discounted price. The Heartland Coalition, which offers the HEART program, said that such short sale programs have a very small likelihood of receiving approval.

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Commentrary: Shrinking Bottom Line

According to BEA, profits fell for both financial and non-financial corporations in the first quarter. For financial corporations, it was the fourth quarterly decline in profits in the last five quarters. The slip in financial corporation profits comes at a particularly critical time for the financial sector, as housing-so heavily dependent on lending institutions--is in the midst of a nascent recovery, and that recovery is causing concerns that we may be on the cusp of yet a new housing bubble. Recent data shows home prices rising at the fastest pace since the housing bubble burst.

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Stats Show Troubling Trends for Reverse Mortgages

While reverse mortgages can be a boon to seniors as they head into retirement, a new report from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) says recent trends show trouble in the market that may cost taxpayers billions of dollars. According to a 2012 MetLife survey, two-thirds of borrowers are now using reverse mortgages to pay down debt. Pamela Villarreal, a senior fellow at NCPA, expects the ""troubling trend will increase as more baby boomers enter retirement with mortgage debt than previous generations.""

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Foreclosures, Short Sales Decline in Q1

Over the last year, sales for distressed properties showed steep declines amid a backdrop of slower foreclosure activity and rising prices, according RealtyTrac's foreclosure and short sale report. The share of foreclosure-related sales represented 21 percent of all sales in Q1, down from 25 percent a year ago. At its peak in Q1 2009, foreclosure-related sales accounted for 45 percent of all sales. In addition, the share of properties that were not in foreclosure but sold as a short sale fell to 15 percent, down 10 percent from Q4 2012 and down 35 percent from a year ago.

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Pending Home Sales Edge Up in April

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose a disappointing 0.3 percent to 106.0 in April, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Thursday. Both the new homes sales and the pending home sales reports measure contract signings and are designed to be forward looking indicators. With the month-over-month improvement, the PHSI is 10.3 percent above April 2012, the strongest year-over-year gain since October when the PHSI was up 12.1 percent from a year earlier. The index has improved month-over-month in three of the last four months.

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Survey Finds Younger Homeowners More Likely to Be Underwater

Younger Americans are more likely to have a home that is underwater, according to a survey from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation). Based on survey findings, 25 percent of Americans between 18 and 34 years of age said they have an underwater mortgage. On the other hand, 18 percent of adults aged 35 to 54 said they were underwater. The survey also reported more than half of Americans would not be prepared to cover living expenses if a financial emergency, such as a job loss or sickness, were to occur.

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