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Minority Communities Hit Hardest by Drop-Off in Prime Lending: Report

While the financial crisis has significantly reduced access to mortgage credit for all borrowers and communities, neighborhoods of color have been hit the hardest, according to a new industry study. The report, Paying More for the American Dream IV, examined the mortgage lending patterns of banks, including the nation's four largest financial institutions, in seven major metropolitan areas. The analysts found that prime mortgage lending in communities of color has declined more than twice as much as it has in predominantly white communities.

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Commercial Real Estate Delivers First Positive Return in 18 Months: IPD

Commercial real estate in the U.S. has recorded its first positive quarterly return in 18 months, according to the global research firm IPD. The company's index shows a total return of 1.2 percent for the first three months of this year, boosted by a sizable increase in income yield. IPD says the performance of the commercial property market has shown a steady improvement since bottoming out in Q1 2009, with returning investors now starting to compete on pricing more aggressively.

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HUD Secretary Outlines New Direction for Agency

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan unveiled a new strategic plan for the federal agency in an address to all HUD staff nationwide on Wednesday. Donovan says the plan will serve as the agency's roadmap toward accomplishing its mission of creating strong, sustainable communities and affordable homes for all. At the top of Donovan's goal list is strengthening the housing market by reducing foreclosures.

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Florida’s Existing-Home, Condo Sales Jump in the First Quarter

The first three months of 2010 marked the sixth consecutive quarter that sales in both the existing-home and condo markets in Florida increased on a year-over-year basis, according to the latest housing statistics from Florida Realtors. A total of 38,846 existing homes sold statewide in the first quarter of this year, up 24 percent from the same period last year. And 16,897 existing condos sold in the the quarter, surging 67 percent from year-ago levels.

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DocuSign and PropertyInfo Team Up to Streamline Real Estate Closings

A new technology partnership between DocuSign and PropertyInfo, a Stewart subsidiary, was announced Wednesday. The two companies said they are joining forces to accelerate online transactions for real estate closings by integrating DocuSign's eSignature service with PropertyInfo's SureClose management system.

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Redwood Trust Looks to Resurrect Jumbo Market, One Loan at a Time

Redwood Trust, Inc. is again making moves to return some liquidity to the jumbo residential mortgage market, with a new program for buying banks' individual non-conforming loans as they are originated. Last month, the real estate investment trust (REIT) put together the industry's first private-label residential mortgage securitization in nearly two years, which was backed by jumbo loans. This week, Redwood said it will begin buying lenders high-dollar jumbo loans one at a time.

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In Mortgage Delinquencies, California Shows the Best and Worst: Fitch

Fitch Ratings recently conducted a study of all securitized non-agency California mortgage loans, finding that delinquency rates in California are fairly similar to national levels. But a closer look revealed dramatic differences among various regions within the 382 metropolitan statistical areas tracked by Fitch. In fact, Fitch found that California has both the best performing region in the country - San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City - and some of the worst performing regions, such as Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario.

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Senate Scales Back Risk Retention for Bundled Mortgages

Senators unanimously approved an amendment to the financial reform package that would exempt qualified mortgages from the 5 percent risk retention requirement on loans bundled and sold to investors. The amendment requires regulators to establish a category of well-underwritten loans called ""Qualified Residential Mortgages"" using back-to-basics standards proven to reduce consumer defaults, such as income documentation and established payment-to-income ratios.

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Fixed-Rate Mortgages Dominate Among Refinancing Borrowers

Borrowers who refinanced in the first quarter of 2010 overwhelmingly chose fixed-rate loans, regardless of whether their original loan was an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) or fixed-rate, Freddie Mac reported Wednesday. In fact, according to Freddie Mac's quarterly Product Transition Report, fixed-rate loans accounted for more than 95 percent of refinance loans during the quarter.

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BofA Completes Almost 24,000 Permanent HAMP Mods in April

Bank of America announced Thursday that it has completed a total of 56,400 permanent mortgage modifications under the administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), including nearly 24,000 in April alone. ""We were able to convert close to 24,000 Bank of America customers from trial to permanent modifications in the past month, completing the process for more homeowners than in any previous month,"" said Jack Schakett, credit loss mitigation strategies executive for Calabasas, California-based Bank of America Home Loans.

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