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Mortgage Interest Rates Fall Back This Week

Two separate industry reports released Thursday show that mortgage interest rates across the board retreated this week, beginning the new year slightly lower than levels seen at the end of 2010, and still well below where they sat at the beginning of last year. Freddie Mac says the downward movement, however slight, ""should help aid the recovery in the housing market."" However, Bankrate warns that if Friday's jobs report proves positive, it could push mortgage rates higher.

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Report Says Struggling Cities May Not Recover for Years

A report conducted by a professor at the Rockefeller Institute of Government paints a dire picture for the nearing future of struggling neighborhoods and cities. The study analyzes the recession's impact on real estate markets in cities in the midst of a severe economic decline. It includes statistical analysis of trends in U.S. metro areas over the past 40 years, and the conclusion is that it often takes many years for housing supply and demand to become balanced again and for property prices to return to levels seen prior to the negative economic event.

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KeyLink Announces Release of New REO Management Model

KeyLink Asset Management has announced the release and implementation of a new asset management model that assigns dual agents to each asset throughout the pre-listing and marketing stages of the REO process. The model also contains a task-based commission structure that rewards listing agents for high performance and creates income opportunities for servicers in instances of low performance.

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Trepp: CMBS Delinquencies Hit Record High Despite Market Optimism

The delinquency rate for loans held in commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) rose again in December with the percentage of loans 30 or more days delinquent, in foreclosure, or REO climbing 27 basis points to 9.20 percent, according to data released this week by Trepp LLC. The tracking firm says it's the highest delinquency rate in history for U.S. commercial real estate loans in CMBS. The value of delinquent loans now exceeds $61.5 billion.

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Lenders One Launches New LendRIGHT Marketing Campaign

Lenders One Mortgage Cooperative, a national alliance of community mortgage bankers, correspondent lenders, and suppliers of mortgage products and services, launched a new national marketing campaign this week. LendRIGHT was created to establish a seal of excellence for the mortgage industry, according to a statement from Lenders One. The organization says the program allows consumers to recognize lenders who have pledged to provide the highest levels of quality and performance.

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Fannie Launches Interactive Video to Help Borrowers Avoid Foreclosure

The Air Force uses visual flight simulators to train its pilots for the actual experience. Virtual reality simulation models are used to help people overcome their fears or uneasiness about certain real-life situations. Fannie Mae is applying this same idea to foreclosure prevention. The GSE has unveiled an interactive multi-media tool called WaysHome that allows homeowners to put themselves in real-life situations they can identify with, make financial choices, and immediately see the outcomes of those actions.

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Clear Capital Reports 4.1% Drop in Home Prices in 2010

Clear Capital has released its home price report for the 2010 calendar year. The company's analysis shows that compared to where prices were at the end of 2009, nationally, residential properties lost 4.1 percent of their value over the last 12 months, with 70 percent of major markets reporting price declines for the year. The company is forecasting home prices nationally to fall by another 3.7 percent by the end of 2011, although the wild spikes experienced in 2010 will likely be replaced with more gradual price trends.

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Office of Financial Regulation Extends Deadline for Florida Brokers

A small reprieve was offered to Florida mortgage professionals by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) at the end of December. New legislation requires all Florida mortgage professionals apply for a new operating license under the National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS). Two days before the deadline, the OFR announced any industry professional who filed an application for a new license in NMLS by December 31 could have until March 31, 2011 to complete the application.

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FHA Moves to Protect Reverse Mortgage Borrowers from Foreclosure

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) aims to assist senior borrowers with its newly released guidance on reverse mortgages, or the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program. According to the federal agency, some elderly homeowners are struggling with outstanding property taxes and unpaid hazard insurance premiums. Those who neglect to pay these expenses may face foreclosure, even in instances where the homeowner's mortgage is paid in full.

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HOPE NOW Celebrates 4 Years, Releases November Data

The HOPE NOW industry alliance completed its fourth year in existence in 2010. The organization's latest market report estimates 1.65 million homeowners received permanent loan modifications from January to November 2010. The organization says it plans to be even more aggressive in its outreach efforts to distressed homeowners this year. Going forward, each of its members will participate in one major outreach event per month, in regions that have been most heavily affected by the mortgage and foreclosure crises.

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