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Bernanke Gives Blueprint for Stimulus Pull-Back

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday laid out the central bank's plan for exiting the private credit market and pulling back the trillions of dollars its funneled into the economy to stave off a repeat of the Great Depression. Bernanke stressed that the programs were implemented with no cost to taxpayers, have helped to restart the flow of credit, and are already being ""substantially"" phased out.

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Former ProLogis COO Joins Cassidy Turley

According to a recent company announcement, Diane S. Paddison has been appointed as chief strategy officer at Cassidy Turley, a commercial real estate service provider headquartered in St. Louis. In addition, she will serve as a member of the board of directors and the executive committee of the company.

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Congressman Introduces Mortgage E-Verify Act for GSE and FHA Mods

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) has introduced a new bill, the Mortgage E-Verify Act. As a condition for modification of a home loan held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), it would require a homeowner to be verified under the E-Verify program, a system run by the U.S. government to certify a person's legal status.

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Existing-Home Sales Soar in Fourth Quarter

In yet another sign of stabilization within the residential real estate market, strong gains in existing-home sales were the predominant pattern in most states during the fourth quarter of 2009, according to a survey released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Affordability has helped boost sales. The trade group reported that the national median price for an existing single-family home in Q4 was down 4.1 percent from a year earlier, but noted that it was the smallest price decline in over two years.

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Fannie Mae to Purchase Delinquent Loans from MBS Trusts

Following in the steps of its sibling company, Fannie Mae has announced that it too will be buying back bad loans from mortgage-backed securities (MBS) investors in bulk. The GSE said it will begin ""significantly"" picking up the pace of its purchases of loans that are at least 120 days past due, beginning in March. Fannie did not disclose an exact dollar amount of the repurchases, but did say that as of December 31, the total of such loans was $127 billion.

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Home Price Reductions Shrink in January

Down from 44 percent in December, just over 40 percent of available homes for sale had reduced prices in January, according to a monthly survey of home listings in 27 markets conducted by the national real estate brokerage ZipRealty. January marked the fifth consecutive month of fewer price-reduced homes on the market.

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Citi’s Foreclosure Alternative Allows Homeowners to Stay for Six Months

As one of the nation's largest mortgage servicers, CitiMortgage is still contending with a deluge of foreclosures that just doesn't seem to be abating. The company is launching a new pilot initiative Friday that will allow distressed CitiMortgage borrowers to avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes for six months if they agree to sign over their property deeds. Citi will also provide relocation assistance to ease the transition to another residence.

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RealtyTrac Reports 10% Drop in Foreclosure Activity

The relentless wave of foreclosures that has swelled and battered the housing industry for a good three years seems to have retreated in January, but it's not enough to mean the storm has passed. New data released by RealtyTrac Thursday shows that foreclosure filings were reported on 315,716 U.S. properties during the month, a decrease of nearly 10 percent from December. It's a pattern we've already seen this time last year, and RealtyTrac says if history repeats itself, there will be another flood over the next few months.

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Housing Prices End Year with Another Down Month: IAS

National home prices fell 0.7 percent in December, according to the latest numbers from Denver-based Integrated Asset Services, LLC (IAS). Save for a brief rally throughout last summer, the company's benchmark for U.S. housing values was down nearly all of 2009. Now more than 22 percent below its high-water mark set in July 2007, the index has dropped to a level last seen in mid-2004, IAS said.

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