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Home Prices Show Renewed Weakness, Dropping 3.2% in Q1

One of the industry's most-closely watched barometers has quelled recent optimism that residential real estate had found its footing on solid ground. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index released Tuesday revealed a 3.2 percent drop in property values during the January to March quarter of 2010, when compared to the level of home prices at the end of 2009. On a year-over-year basis, prices were up 2 percent, but market observers are calling the short-range results ""disappointing"" and a tell-tale sign that the housing market is not out of the woods.

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InHouse Connexions Launched to Manage Appraisal Vendors

Appraisal technology provider InHouse, Inc. has announced the launch of InHouse Connexions. The company says it's the industry's first technology for managing any combination of disparate appraisal vendors, including appraisal management companies (AMCs) and individual appraisers, from a single platform.

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Reform Legislation Includes Fattah’s Mortgage Relief for Unemployed

When the Senate passed the Wall Street reform package last week, it included a provision that uses $3 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to reduce mortgage payments for those homeowners who have lost their job as a result of the nation's recession. The same measure already passed in the House's version of the financial reform bill and is modeled after a state program introduced by Rep. Chaka Fattah when he was a Pennsylvania state legislator.

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GSEs Implement Uniform Data Collection for Appraisals, Loan Delivery

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said Monday that it is implementing a ""major new initiative"" at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, meant to improve the quality of data collected by the GSEs for appraisals and loan delivery. According to FHFA, the nation's two largest mortgage financiers have been working closely with other industry players to develop uniform standards for collateral, borrower, and loan-level data. The new program is expected to streamline data submissions for appraisers, lenders, and servicers, and allow the GSEs to manage risk more effectively.

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DebtX to Sell $500 Million in Loans for Three Financial Institutions

DebtX, a full-service loan sale advisor based in Boston, announced Monday that it will sell approximately $500 million of mostly commercial real estate (CRE) loans on behalf of three financial institutions. ""Sellers are moving aggressively to dispose of loans and benefit from stronger balance sheets,"" said Kingsley Greenland, DebtX CEO. ""Investors have an opportunity to buy a wide range of both performing and non-performing loans from these sales.""

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Green River Capital Launches Short Sale Management Company

REO asset management firm Green River Capital announced Monday that it has launched a company that will focus exclusively on short sale program management, Green River Financial (GRF). In response to growing market interest, the West Valley, Utah-based company is offering a pre-foreclosure short sale and deed-in-lieu program.

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IMDI to Use MDS’s Mortgage Servicing Analysis Product

Mortgage Delivery Specialists (MDS), a provider of mortgage servicing rights acquisition due diligence analysis services, and Indecomm-Mortgage Dynamics Inc. (IMDI), a mortgage banking management consulting and outsource services firm, recently announced a strategic partnership. As a result, IMDI will immediately begin incorporating MDS's mortgage servicing analysis product into its suite of mortgage servicing solutions.

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Survey Finds 76% of Consumers Favor Renting to Homeownership

As the real estate market continues to fight an uphill battle towards recovery, the dream of homeownership seems to be dying out for some consumers, at least for the time being. According to a new online survey conducted in May, 76 percent of consumers deemed renting to be the more favorable option to owning a home in the current real estate market, a 5 percent jump from the 2008 survey results.

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Minnesota Bank Shut Down by Regulators

It seems that every weekend nowadays brings with it a whole new slew of bank closings. This last one, though, was a stark change of pace. Regulators shut down just one institution - Pinehurst Bank in St. Paul, Minnesota. So far this year, 73 FDIC-insured banks have gone under. That's more than double the number of failures this time last year.

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Existing Home Sales Beat Expectations with 7.6% Jump

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Monday that sales of previously owned homes rose 7.6 percent in April compared to March, reflecting a surge in activity as buyers sought to close deals ahead of the contract deadline for the federal homebuyer tax credit. Last month's numbers pushed the annual sales rate to 5.77 million units, up from a 5.36 million sales rate in March, and far exceeded analysts' expectations. They were projecting an increase, but somewhere between a 5.60 and 5.65 million-unit sales pace.

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