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Colliers International Moves Up in the Rankings

Colliers International, a global real estate services company headquartered in Boston, recently secured the No. 2 spot in the annual Lipsey Survey of the top 25 brands in the commercial real estate industry. The firm jumped a notch from its third place position, which it has held since 2004.

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Mortgage Rates Fall Slightly

Marking the second consecutive week of declines, Freddie Mac reported Thursday that mortgage rates dipped once again this week. For the week ending March 11, 2010, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.95 percent with an average 0.7 point, and the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.32 percent with an avearge 0.7 point.

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Investors Back Frank’s Push for Second Lien Write-Downs

Last week, Rep. Barney Frank called for the nation's four largest banks to take a loss on secondary mortgage debt, such as home equity loans, which he says have no real economic value considering the state of the housing market. An influential group of investors, representing holders of some $100 billion in mortgage securities, is throwing its full support behind Frank's proposal, but the coalition is concerned that unless Treasury provides further guidance, the banks will shun the idea because it could result in ""catastrophic"" losses.

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Foreclosure Activity Drops 2%: RealtyTrac

Foreclosure filings issued to U.S. homeowners have fallen for the second straight month. According to new data released by RealtyTrac Thursday, default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions were reported on 308,524 properties in February. That's a 2 percent decrease from January, when foreclosure activity dropped by 10 percent. February's numbers are still 6 percent above the level reported one year earlier, but RealtyTrac says it's the smallest annual increase the company has tracked since January 2006.

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GMAC Sells $250M in Problem Mortgages as CFO Steps Down

GMAC Financial Services has auctioned off $250 million of problem mortgage assets, using Citigroup Inc. as its broker on the deal, according to a report from American Banker. GMAC reported in February that its $5 billion loss during the final months of last year was largely the result of legacy assets in its mortgage operations. A regulatory filing by the company this week also revealed that its CFO, Robert Hull, has resigned, effective at the end of this month.

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Lend America and Its VP Barred from Federal Mortgage Market

New York-based Lend America and its senior-level strategist and VP, Michael Ashley, have been permanently banned from doing business for the Federal Housing Administration, according to recently released court documents. Ashley helped build Lend America into one of the most lucrative FHA loan producers, but federal attorneys say all the while he's been in violation of an earlier industry ban, when he plead guilty to wire fraud conspiracy in 1993.

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GSEs in the Hot Seat over Political Campaign Contributions

An activist group who says its purpose is to investigate and prosecute government corruption is in a federal court battle to get its hands on documents detailing the political contributions made by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The organization says its been trying to get access to the GSEs' records since May of last year but has been denied by the companies' regulator, who is shielding the documents under claims that the government-controlled firms are private corporations. No. 2 on the GSEs' list of campaign contribution recipients is President Obama.

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National House Prices Down for Sixth Consecutive Month: IAS

Marking the sixth straight month of declines, national house prices fell 2.3 percent in January, according to the latest IAS360 House Price Index (HPI) released Wednesday by Denver-based Integrated Asset Services, LLC (IAS). The culprit? IAS says unusually severe winter weather in large regions of the country may have added to housing market woes. The January numbers resulted in the largest single-month decline in the IAS360 in more than a year.

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Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program to Undergo Rule Changes

At a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, March 16, 2010, the Nevada Supreme Court will consider amendments to the rules governing the state's Foreclosure Mediation Program (FMP). If the amendments are approved, this will be the third set of rule changes since the FMP was enacted on July 1, 2009.

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