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Barclays Lowers REO Inventory Estimate

A recent study by Barclays Capital says that U.S. lenders are holding fewer foreclosed homes than previously assessed by the firm. Some are viewing the revised estimate as a testament to the stability that is taking hold in the housing market, but Barclays warns that the industry should expect REO inventories to grow - albeit gradually - over the next couple of years, as banks push more properties through the pipeline and foreclosure alternatives are exhausted. Barclays estimates that as of the end of February, 480,000 repossessed homes were held by U.S. lenders, mortgage investors, and the GSEs.

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Report Outlines Strategies for Responding to Housing Market Troubles

With foreclosures, housing vacancies, and mortgage fraud at all-time highs, it's no secret that the real estate sector is struggling. These intertwined problems are threatening the stability of entire neighborhoods, making the search for effective responses crucial. As part of this search, the Bureau of Justice Assistance brought together experts from around the country to examine possible solutions to these challenges, and on Friday released a report outlining the various strategies that were discussed.

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Kennedy Wilson Sees Acquisition Opportunities in Today’s Market

While today's turbulent market conditions have led some investors to put on the brakes, that's not the case with international real estate investment and services firm Kennedy Wilson. The company hasn't pulled back on its aggressive acquisition strategy, acquiring over 1,600 residential units and over 60 loans secured by real estate within the past year.

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New Firm Targets Distressed CRE Opportunities in the Southeast

A group of real estate developers and partners in the Southeast have announced the launch of a new venture - SunBelt Capital Solutions. The firm, headquartered in Atlanta, is focused on acquiring distressed commercial real estate loans and property in the southeastern part of the country.

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Fisher Law Group Completes Acquisition of Specialized Inc.

The Fisher Law Group, PLLC, located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, announced Thursday that it has completed the acquisition of Specialized, Inc. of Virginia, from the CBCInnovis family of companies. Specialized, Inc. of Virginia is a trustee company that has been transacting foreclosure business in Virginia since 1992 for both residential and commercial loan servicers and lenders.

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Morningstar Announces Completion of Realpoint Acquisition

Morningstar, Inc., a Chicago-based provider of independent investment research, announced Wednesday that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of Horsham, Pennsylvania-based Realpoint, LLC, a nationally recognized statistical ratings organization that specializes in structured finance. As a result of this completed acquisition, Realpoint will become business unit within Morningstar's equity and credit research business. And over time, the company will be rebranded under Morningstar.

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Appraiser Proximity Certifications Now Provided by Valuation Partners

Valuation Partners, LLC, a national real estate valuations provider based in Sugar Land, Texas, recently announced that it is providing Appraiser Proximity Certifications on all new orders that provide proof that the appraiser chosen for a specific job has the local knowledge and expertise to complete the assignment. Through the use of geo-coding technology, each Appraiser Proximity Certification includes an automatically generated map showing the location of both the subject property and the appraiser's place of business. And prior to accepting the order, the appraiser is required to acknowledge that the distance between his or her office and the property is correct.

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McCain Amendment Would Take GSEs off Taxpayer Support

Sen. John McCain and two other Republicans have introduced an amendment to the Senate's reform package that would wean mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac off of federal funding over the next five years and completely dissolve them after 15 years. McCain called the two GSEs ""synonymous with mismanagement and waste"" and the epitome of too big to fail. ""The time has come to end Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's taxpayer-backed slush fund and require them to operate on a level playing field,"" McCain said.

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New Web Site Launched by QualityFirst Real Estate

QualityFirst Real Estate, a San Diego-based real estate company specializing in REO properties, recently launched a new company Web site, providing real world expertise regarding short sales and foreclosure sales to homebuyers, buyers, and the lending community. Through this new site, buyers looking for great opportunities on a home can directly access QualityFirst's online listings of bank-owned homes for sale, the company said. And buyers looking for a home loan can take advantage of the site's mortgage information and loan calculator pages.

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California Department of Real Estate Issues Short Sale Consumer Alert

Short sales are being touted by some as the ""go-to"" alternative to foreclosure, but that doesn't mean there aren't risks involved in completing these transactions. In order to warn consumers and real estate agents about the potential perils and pitfalls of short sales, the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) has issued a consumer alert, Jeff Davi, DRE commissioner, announced Thursday.

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