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Appraisal Institute Publishes First Audio Book

In an effort to help appraisers meet the competency and ethical standards of the profession, the Chicago-based Appraisal Institute, a global membership association of real estate appraisers, has published its first audio book -- ""Scope of Work,"" by Stephanie Coleman.

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Trepp Reports CMBS Delinquencies Are Slowing

Past due loans within commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) rose 23 basis points in February, according to a new report from Trepp LLC. The firm noted that it's the smallest month-to-month rise since September 2009. The brief reprieve is welcome news for an industry struggling with rising defaults and looming loan maturities, but that's tempered by a quick reminder from Trepp that CMBS delinquencies are still setting new records as the highest the industry has seen since the CMBS market took hold.

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Countdown To Buy Launches New Pilot Program

Countdown To Buy, a next-generation online real estate marketplace based in Bethel, Connecticut, announced Wednesday that it has entered into a new pilot program with a banking institution to offer a sampling of foreclosed properties in Texas.

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Bolstered by Refinance Activity, Mortgage Applications Soar 15%

Ending a three-week trend of declines, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that home loan application volume soared 14.6 percent last week. The increase came from a 17 percent jump in refinancing activity, as long-term mortgage rates dipped below the 5 percent threshold. But even with recent upsurges in the refinancing numbers and record-low rates, investment bank Credit Suisse says 37 percent of borrowers with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are still paying on loans with rates of 6 percent or higher.

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FDIC Looks to Fast-Track Sales of Seized Assets as MBS

The FDIC has built up a stockpile of some $40 billion in underperforming real estate loans and other assets seized from failed banks over the past couple of years. The federal agency is a regulator and deposit insurer, not an asset manager, and it doesn't like to hold on to these loan leftovers for very long. But the agency's asset portfolio is growing faster than it can conduct auctions and offload these loans. That's led the FDIC to try a new tactic - package the loans and sell them to investors as securities on the secondary market.

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Fannie Mae Details Delinquency Buyback Plan

The nation's largest mortgage financier says it will purchase up to 200,000 seriously delinquent loans from mortgage-backed securities (MBS) holders this month. As of the end of last year, Fannie's single-family MBS loans that were considered seriously delinquent totaled $127 billion. The GSE says after its March buybacks, it will continue purchasing loans in each of the subsequent few months until the company has ""substantially reduced"" the population of loans that are four or more months delinquent.

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SIFMA Makes Agency Bond Pricing Available to Individual Investors

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) is now carrying price data for approximately 25,000 federal agency bonds on its Investing in Bonds Web site. The new data is available via a feed from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) following an expansion of its Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE) to include debt issued by federal government agencies, government corporations, and the GSEs.

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Encore Multi-Family Appoints New President

Encore Multi-Family, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Encore Enterprises, Inc., announced Monday that Brad Miller has been named president of the company. Miller has more than three decades' experience in real estate investment and development and brings multiple market expertise in investment analysis, distresses asset acquisition, fee management, and complex land settlements to his new position with the company.

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Freddie Mac Sees Stabilization in Home Prices

Freddie Mac said Tuesday that its home price index for conventional mortgages it purchased last year registered a 0.4 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the fourth quarter of 2009. The GSE was quick to point out that this was a much smaller decline than the 9.5 percent drop in home prices recorded in 2008. Four out of nine census regions posted annual price gains, with the Pacific part of the country leading the way with a 1.6 percent increase.

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Bay State Foreclosure Report Mixed in January

Data regarding Massachusetts foreclosures in January was mixed, according to the most recent report released Tuesday by The Warren Group, a Boston-based provider of real estate data in New England. While lenders initiated fewer foreclosures in January, the number of completed foreclosures increased.

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