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House Bill Would Allow Those Facing Foreclosure to Stay on as Renters

Two House Democrats have introduced a bill to create a ""right to rent"" for homeowners facing foreclosure. The bill would allow a family receiving a foreclosure notice to petition a judge to stay in their home as renters under a 5-year lease. The judge would appoint an independent appraiser to set fair market rental value, which would be allowed to rise with inflation.

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Residential Real Estate Market Continues to Improve in Massachusetts

March marked another month of stabilization for the residential real estate market in Massachusetts. According to a report released Thursday by The Warren Group, a provider of real estate data in New England, both sales and prices of single-family homes and condos in the Bay State surged in March compared to a year earlier.

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Improvements in Delinquencies Obscured by 7.39M Troubled Loans: LPS

""Mixed results"" has been the predominant theme among industry studies the last couple of weeks. The latest report from Lender Processing Services held true to form. The Florida-based company's analysis of the nation's home loan market indicates ""modest improvements"" in the number of nonperforming loans returning to current status and fewer new delinquencies. But the research firm says these steps forward are still overshadowed by a large pool of 7.39 million non-current and REO loans.

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RMBS Platform Expanded at Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Securities announced Thursday that it has expanded its residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) platform to provide a full suite of advisory, structuring, research, distribution, and trading services to its residential origination and investing clients and to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (WFHM).

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Minorities Targeted for Risky Loans: Study

On Thursday, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) released findings of a new study indicating that subprime lending and subsequent resulting foreclosures contained a clear racial component not explained by objective underwriting criteria. According to the study, African American and Latino borrowers were more likely to receive a subprime loan and go into foreclosure than similarly situated white homeowners, controlling for credit risk and other borrower, neighborhood, and loan characteristics.

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Metro Foreclosure Hot Spots Buck National Trend with Annual Declines

Data released by RealtyTrac Thursday shows that cities in the typical foreclosure hot spots of California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona once again accounted for the nation's 20 highest foreclosure rates in Q1. But it's their long track record of debilitating foreclosure numbers that have locked them into those rankings. RealtyTrac says many of the hardest-hit cities are actually posting significant declines from a year ago. Instead, foreclosure activity now is running rampant in cities outside the Sun Belt.

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Refinancing Borrowers Benefit from Low Interest Rates

Borrowers who refinanced in the first quarter of 2010 reaped the benefits of low interest rates. In fact, one-half of borrowers who refinanced their conventional loans during the first three months of this year lowered their mortgage interest rate by at least 16 percent, according to Freddie Mac's quarterly refinance report. In addition to lowering their interest rate, 72 percent of borrowers who refinanced in the first quarter kept their loan balance largely unchanged or reduced their loan balance outstanding as a result of the refinance.

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Florida Submits Detailed Proposal for Utilization of Hardest Hit Funding

Due to the high levels of home price declines and unemployment in the Sunshine State, Florida Housing Finance Corporation was selected as one of five state agencies to receive federal funding from the administration's Hardest Hit Fund. Of the initial $1.5 billion allocated for these markets, Florida Housing is slated to get $418 million. Pending approval of its proposal, the state plans to use the money to pay up to nine months of mortgage payments for unemployed homeowners and cover legal fees for some borrowers to fight foreclosure.

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Mortgage Rates Remain Flat

Mortgage rates seem to be in a holding pattern. While still relatively low, rates remained flat for the second week in a row, Freddie Mac and Bankrate reported Thursday. According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.06 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending April 29, 2010, barely budging from last week's average of 5.07 percent. And 15-year fixed-rate mortgages showed no movement from last week, holding steady at 4.39 percent with an average 0.7 point.

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United Western Bank Sues Countrywide for MBS Losses

The legal wranglings continue for what was once the nation's premier subprime mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial Corp. The company was hit with another lawsuit Wednesday, this time from United Western Bank. The bank is suing Countrywide for losses it incurred on six private-label mortgage-backed securities (MBS) purchased from the subprime lender. Bank of America, UBS Securities, and certain officers of Countrywide are also named as defendants.

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