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John Burns Report Card Gives Housing a Grade of D+

The latest market report card from John Burns Real Estate Consulting (JBRC) puts housing very near the bottom of the class, with an overall grade of D+. Several factors played a role in the sub-par score. JBRC noted that two important stimulus programs have run their course - the Fed is done buying mortgages from the GSEs and elected officials have decided there will be no more tax credit extension. On top of that, recent loan mod revamps have cleared the way for servicers to increase their foreclosure activity, which will result in more distressed sales.

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Home Price Reduction Levels Drop 26 Percent Year-Over-Year

In a sign of stabilization in the U.S. real estate market, home price reductions levels in April 2010 plummeted 26 percent from the same month last year, San Francisco-based Trulia, Inc., reported Wednesday. According to the report, 20 percent of current home listings had been reduced at least once as of April 1, 2010, down from 27 percent in April 2009.

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PPIP Funds’ Toxic Asset Holdings Hit $10 Billion

Private equity investment funds, in collaboration with the U.S. Treasury, have relieved the market of $10 billion in souring real estate assets, purchased through the federal government's Legacy Securities Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP). About 88 percent of the portfolio holdings, or $8.8 billion, are non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS). Twelve percent, or $1.2 billion, are commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS). Of the RMBS assets, nearly half fall into the Alt-A loan category.

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Wells Fargo Reports First Quarter Net Income of $2.5 Billion

In the first quarter of 2010, Wells Fargo earned $2.5 billion, or $0.45 per common share, according to the San Francisco-based bank's earnings report released Wednesday. Wells Fargo said all business segments contributed to the strong earnings results. The bank specifically pointed to improvements in home retention efforts and credit quality, which it described as having ""turned the corner.""

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Inspector General Casts Shadow on New HAMP Programs

Neil Barofsky, TARP special inspector general, has been highly critical of the government's foreclosure prevention programs. On Tuesday, he put the administration's new initiatives to help unemployed and underwater homeowners under the microscope. Barofsky says several issues could impede program effectiveness, including the voluntary nature of principal write-downs, disparate appraisal requirements across subprograms, and the short timeframe given for unemployment forbearance.

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ISGN and EquityRock Launch Equity Sharing Loan Mod Service

Technology provider ISGN Corporation has partnered with EquityRock, a pioneer in residential real estate equity sharing, to create a unique loss mitigation solution that allows lenders who offer mortgage principal reductions to retain a stake in the property's future appreciation. According to the two companies, the solution is the first equity sharing loan modification service of its kind in the industry.

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First American CoreLogic Partners With The Prieston Group

First American CoreLogic, a Santa Ana, California-based provider of advanced property and ownership information, analytics, and services, announced Tuesday that it has joined forces with The Prieston Group (TPG) to offer a comprehensive fraud prevention and insurance solution to mortgage lenders. The new solution combines First American CoreLogic's pattern-recognition fraud tool with TPG's risk management services, indemnity programs, and training.

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Loan Value Group Names Craig Lipsay Managing Partner

Loan Value Group LLC, a solutions provider that helps mortgage lenders address the risk of strategic default, has named Craig Lipsay as managing partner. In this role, Lipsay will work directly with institutional clients to implement the company's Responsible Homeowner Reward, a program that provides cash payments to eligible homeowners affected by negative equity as long as they remain current on their mortgages.

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