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LoopNet Acquires Reaction Web

San Francisco-based LoopNet, Inc., a commercial real estate information services provider, recently announced the acquisition of Centennial, Colorado-based Reaction Web, an online solutions company focused in the commercial real estate industry. Reaction Web brings state-of-the-art custom Web sites, deal rooms, and private property marketing tools to LoopNet's suite of solutions.

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After a Decline in January, Pending Home Sales Increase in February

Pending home sales rose in February, potentially signaling a second surge of sales in response to the looming homebuyer tax credit deadline, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Monday. NAR's Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed during the month, jumped 8.2 percent in February to 97.6 from a downwardly-revised 90.2 in January. The index was also 17.3 percent above February 2009 when it was 83.2.

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IndiSoft Launches Realtor Portal to Meet HAFA Directives

Technology provider IndiSoft, LLC, has announced that effective immediately, its RxOffice platform meets the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program requirements, which take effect today, Monday, April 5. In addition, the company announced the roll-out of its new RxOffice Realtor portal, which IndiSoft says will help Realtors manage the anticipated upsurge in short sale transactions expected with HAFA's implementation.

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Texas Real Estate Commission Warns of Real Estate Brokerage Scams

The Texas Real Estate Commission has issued a statement alerting the state's real estate community and the public that the agency has received complaints against a group of individuals and companies doing business in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, representing themselves as real estate agents and brokerage companies even though they do not hold Texas real estate licenses. The group typically takes deposits on properties that they claim are available for a short sale but in reality are days away from foreclosure.

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HAFA is Officially Underway

The deadline for servicer implementation of the administration's Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program has arrived. HAFA aims to help homeowners who are unable to qualify for a loan modification by providing them with the option to pursue a short sale or deed-in-lieu. To encourage HAFA participation, the Treasury Department raised financial incentives. Borrowers are now eligible for $3,000 in relocation assistance, and servicers will receive $1,500 to cover administrative and processing costs for a short sale or deed-in-lieu completed under the program.

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FHA Pulls Approval from Two Mortgage Lenders

FHA officials have warned that they will be keeping a close eye on lenders to ensure the agency's standards are being followed, and that pledge became painfully apparent for two mortgage companies last week. FHA has permanently withdrawn its approval of Atlanta-based RSA Financial, Inc. and 1st Alliance Mortgage of Houston, Texas. The actions impose steep penalties on the the two lenders and prevent them from originating and underwriting new FHA-insured mortgages.

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Barclays: Housing from the Banks’ Point of View

There is a growing consensus among lenders that home prices have stabilized, according to analysts at Barclays Capital. Research by the investment firm also indicates that loan mod efforts have risen significantly, and banks are more aggressively disposing of troubled real estate assets. Barclays' analysts sifted through the Q4 earnings transcripts for 20 regional and national banks to decipher their take on the housing market, and the conclusions point to significant improvements when it comes to real estate holdings.

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Freddie Mac Announces Mezzanine Program for Multifamily Mortgages

With financing in the commercial real estate sector severely constricted and billions in multifamily mortgages on the verge of coming due, Freddie Mac is stepping up to the plate to ensure strapped apartment owners have an avenue to refinance their debt. The GSE has launched a new lending program that allows mezzanine debt on qualifying multifamily first mortgages. Freddie officials say the initiative will reduce the number of properties that may otherwise become defaults, drawn-out workouts, or foreclosures.

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TARP Repayments Reach $181 Billion

The Treasury Department announced Friday that it has received a total of $181 billion from companies to repay their government bailouts. The new figures were released after the Treasury collected full repayment on Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money given to insurance and investment firm Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. in the sum of $3.4 billion. Automaker General Motors also repaid $1 billion. While the auto industry's bailout is expected to be one of the biggest TARP losers, Treasury now estimates that its programs aimed at stabilizing the banking system will earn a profit.

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