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Mortgage Application Volume Jumps 4% as Purchase Applications Soar

Bolstered by purchase applications in the days leading up to the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit, total mortgage application volume increased 4 percent for the week ending April 30, 2010, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported Wednesday. According to MBA's Weekly Mortgage Application Survey, the seasonally-adjusted purchase index surged 13 percent from the week prior, marking the third consecutive weekly increase in purchase applications and the highest purchase index recorded in the survey since the week ending October 2, 2009.

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Mountain Real Estate Capital Closes Five Distressed Asset Acquisitions

Mountain Real Estate Capital, the newly formed acquisition and investment affiliate of Mountain Funding, announced this week that it has closed on its first five acquisitions. Historically, Mountain Funding has focused on value-added residential and commercial opportunities, but the company says in the current environment, it is zeroing in entirely on acquiring assets at distressed values.

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First Quarter Mortgage Volume Tumbles, Two Top-10 Players Unseated

Residential mortgage originations by U.S. lenders in the first quarter of 2010 retreated 19 percent compared to the same period a year ago, according to industry data released Wednesday. It was the third consecutive quarterly decline in residential mortgage production. With the fall off in origination numbers, the data also revealed that two top-10 originators were unseated in the mortgage lender rankings - MetLife Inc. and Flagstar Bank.

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Justice Department Investigating Discrimination in HAMP

The U.S. Department of Justice says in light of the mortgage crisis, it has made fair lending a top priority and will be reviewing the Treasury's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) for possible violations. Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez told lawmakers that the Justice Department is focusing on potential fair lending violations ""where much of the lending activity is occurring today - in mortgage modifications."" With HAMP being the largest loan modification undertaking in history, that makes it a prime target for scrutiny.

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Countdown To Buy Enters the Georgia Market

foreclosure

Countdown To Buy announced Tuesday that it has entered the Georgia marketplace and will be featuring recently foreclosed properties throughout the state. This sampling of properties comes after Countdown To Buy successfully matched buyers in 25 days or less with an initial set of pilot properties located in Texas, Connecticut, and Illinois. As a result of this success, a leading institution expanded their multi-state pilot into the Georgia market.

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Freddie Mac Reports First Delinquency Decline in Three Years

Delinquencies on single-family loans guaranteed by Freddie Mac fell to 4.13 percent in March, down from 4.20 percent in February. It's the first monthly decline reported by the mortgage giant since April 2007, and some say a sign that efforts to improve loan performance are finally gaining ground. Freddie Mac attributed the drop in delinquencies to a higher volume of mortgage modifications and completed short sales.

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Administration Picks up Push for TARP Tax on Big Banks

President Obama's proposal to tax the nation's largest banks is back on the table, and stirring up quite a debate. On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urged members of Congress to approve the president's levy on big banks, which is expected to generate $90 billion over a 10-year period to cover the costs of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). But some lawmakers are concerned that the fee could lead to tighter credit. Even community banks are siding with the big guys in this fight.

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Top Treasury Official Visits Cleveland to Find Foreclosure Solutions

Hoping to obtain advice on how to improve government foreclosure prevention programs, the Department of Treasury's Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability, Herb Allison, made an unprecedented stop in Cleveland on Monday to hold a roundtable and hear from local homeowners and housing advocates first-hand. Allison, who is second to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, oversees both the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the Hardest Hit Fund program that is providing more than $2.1 billion to address the foreclosure crisis in 10 states. Ohio is receiving $172 million through this program, the sixth highest allocation.

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Miami Metro Area Home Sales Surge in March

The Miami metro area housing market is heating up. According to a report recently released by MDA DataQuick, a San Diego-based provider of property data, 6,658 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in March in the metro area encompassing Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward counties. This was the highest number of total escrow closings for March since 2007. As a result, total home sales were up 43.3 percent from February and were 43.1 percent higher than March 2009.

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