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Holliday Fenoglio Fowler Expands National Hotel Group

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. (HFF), a provider of real estate and capital markets services to the U.S. commercial real estate industry, announced the addition of Holden Lim as its new managing director in San Francisco. With more than 20 years' experience in the hospitality sector, Lim will focus on institutional grade hotel and resort property transactions throughout North America.

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Survey: Consumers Connect with Financial Institutions via Social Media

According to a survey of 3,000 consumers conducted by Fiserv, Inc. 11 percent of online consumers are currently connected with their banks or credit unions through social media. The survey also revealed that 36 percent of those not connected are interested in doing so. consumers who connect to their financial institution via social media and consumers who are interested in connecting are already devoted to their bank or credit union and use an average of 5.4 banking services.

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U.S. Homes to Lose $1.7 Trillion in Value This Year: Report

According to analysis from the research firm Zillow, U.S. homes are expected to lose more than $1.7 trillion in value this year. Since the market peaked in June 2006, the company says homeowners have been stripped of $9 trillion in equity. To put things into perspective, Zillow cites a report by the Congressional Research Service, which says from 2001 to September 2010, the war in Iraq has cost the United States $750.8 billion. That means the value lost in residential property values since mid-2006 exceeds the cost of 12 Iraq wars.

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Pressure Mounts for Fannie and Freddie to Write Down Mortgages

With property values still tumbling, it's no surprise that nearly a quarter of the nation's mortgage borrowers owe more than their home is worth. Industry studies support the consensus that the farther a borrower sinks into negative equity, the more likely they are to throw in the towel. The severity of this catch-22 is now top-of-mind for government officials. The administration is reportedly pressuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make principal write-downs a key component of their foreclosure prevention efforts.

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NAR Online Tool to Include Maponic’s School Boundaries Product

The Realtors Property Resource, a new tool from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), will soon include school boundary data from Maponics. Realtors Property Resource (RPR) is an online real estate library that includes assessor and recorder data, active and off-market listing data, mortgage information, foreclosure and pre-foreclosure stats, demographics, schools, and geographic information.

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Lennar’s Rialto Capital Raises $300M for Distressed Investments

Lennar Corporation recently announced that its Rialto Capital subsidiary has completed the first closing of a real estate investment fund that will target REOs and other non-performing properties and mortgage assets. Rialto raised $300 million for the fund, of which Lennar itself committed $75 million. The fund will extend the Miami-based homebuilder's buying power for distressed real estate and mortgage debt for the next three years.

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MBA Releases Letter to FHA Criticizing Indemnification Proposal

The Mortgage Bankers Association sent a letter to the Federal Housing Administration this week, expressing criticism of a proposal that would increase indemnification requirements on lender-issued loans. The proposed regulation would allow FHA to require lenders to compensate the agency for losses incurred on certain loans. Traditionally the FHA can only request such recompense. MBA feels the federal agency would use the policy to find ""small, inconsequential reasons"" to require indemnification.

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Home Purchase Applications Rise for Third Consecutive Week

Industry data released Wednesday shows that new mortgage applications for the purchase of a home jumped 1.8 percent for the week ending December 3. This is the third weekly increase recorded by the closely watched home purchase index, which has reached its highest level since early May. All market indicators point to a continued rise in mortgage rates and that seems to have prompted some homebuyers to act now. Refinancing, on the other hand, is becoming less attractive.

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NewOak Capital Appoints General Counsel and Managing Director

The Manhattan-based asset management and capital markets firm NewOak Capital has announced the appointment of Rachel Gould as both general counsel and managing director, focusing on expansion of the company's solutions and advisory platform, which provides analytical and portfolio construction services to institutional investors and managers.

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