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Negative Equity Could Push Homeownership Rate Lower: New York Fed

The collapse of the housing market and the sharp rise in unemployment have caused the U.S. homeownership rate to fall to 67.2 percent -- essentially a reversion to the level of 10 years ago. A new report by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York warns that the rate is likely to drop even lower, as homeowners with negative equity decide the benefits of renting outweigh the costs of homeownership.

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Elk Software Customizes Short Sale Technology for RE/MAX Agents

As the government and the mortgage industry continue to work together to curb foreclosures, RE/MAX agents are doing their part to help facilitate short sale transactions, using their certified training and a new customized version of Michigan-based Elk Software's flagship technology platform, Short Sale Commander.

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Idaho HFA Launches Low Downpayment Financing Initiative

In an effort to make homeownership a real possibility for residents across the state, Idaho Housing and Finance Association has launched a new product for creditworthy borrowers through its IdaMortage program. According to the association, the new Affordable Advantage Loan offers a down payment as low as $1,000 and has a low-cost, 30-year fixed interest rate. In addition, the loan has no mortgage insurance requirement, saving qualified borrowers money on their mortgage payment every month.

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Companies Join Forces to Create CRE Appraisal Firm in Central Florida

FirstService PGP Valuation and Colliers Arnold jointly announced Tuesday that they have teamed up to create a commercial real estate appraisal firm in Central Florida. According to the companies, this new firm - Colliers International Valuation & Advisory Services Central Florida - will serve as an appraisal service provider across the Central Florida region while expanding the service line reach of the Colliers International enterprise, which encompasses more than 480 offices throughout the world.

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More Sellers Reduce Home Prices in May After Tax Credit Expiration

Inching up two percentage points from April, more than 43 percent of home sellers slashed their home's list price in May, according to a monthly review of home listings in 26 of the nation's largest housing markets conducted by Emeryville, California-based ZipRealty. Although the number of price reductions increased, the survey showed that the median reduction - coming in at $19,240 - was down 1.06 percent from April.

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Bureau Continues to Expand Foreclosure Prevention Efforts in Maine

In order to provide further assistance to Maine homeowners at risk of foreclosure, the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection signed a contract Monday with the Washington Hancock Community Agency, adding a ninth certified housing counseling service to the list of nonprofit agencies currently under contract around the state. According to Will Lund, superintendent of the Bureau, there is a definite need for housing counselors in Washington and Hancock counties, as more than 1,000 residents in these areas defaulted on their mortgages in the last year alone.

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First Preston Wins HUD Field Servicing Contracts

First Preston Management, a national real estate marketing and management firm, has been selected by HUD to provide property management services for HUD's single-family asset portfolio in 11 states, including Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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Loan Resolution Corporation Receives 10,000 HAFA Requests

Since the government's Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program was implemented just over two months ago, Loan Resolution Corporation, a pre-foreclosure asset management firm based out of Scottsdale, Arizona, says it has been assigned more than 10,000 HAFA requests. Loan Resolution executives attribute the growth to the company's ""quality over quantity"" approach when it comes to helping homeowners avoid foreclosure.

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Mortgage App. Volume Wanes as Purchase and Refinance Activity Slump

After two consecutive weeks of growth, mortgage application volume tumbled 12.2 percent for the week ending June 4, 2010, as both purchase and refinance applications plunged, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported Wednesday. According to MBA's Weekly Mortgage Application Survey, the purchase index continued its streak of declines, falling another 5.7 percent from the week prior. And in an unexpected turn of events, the refinance index plummeted 14.3 percent

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CMBS Delinquencies Climb, as More Loans Move to Special Servicing

A $1 billion net increase in office loan delinquencies has fueled a 49 basis point rise in past due loans held by commercial-mortgage backed securities (CMBS), according to the latest index results from Fitch Ratings. The firm's data shows the CMBS delinquency rate at 7.97 percent for the month of May. With the increase in the number of loans going bad, Fitch notes that more and more CMBS assets are being transferred to special servicers. Though loan resolutions increased in 2009, the inventory of U.S. CMBS loans in special servicing is at an all-time high.

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