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Existing-Home Sales Soar in Fourth Quarter

In yet another sign of stabilization within the residential real estate market, strong gains in existing-home sales were the predominant pattern in most states during the fourth quarter of 2009, according to a survey released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Affordability has helped boost sales. The trade group reported that the national median price for an existing single-family home in Q4 was down 4.1 percent from a year earlier, but noted that it was the smallest price decline in over two years.

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Fannie Mae to Purchase Delinquent Loans from MBS Trusts

Following in the steps of its sibling company, Fannie Mae has announced that it too will be buying back bad loans from mortgage-backed securities (MBS) investors in bulk. The GSE said it will begin ""significantly"" picking up the pace of its purchases of loans that are at least 120 days past due, beginning in March. Fannie did not disclose an exact dollar amount of the repurchases, but did say that as of December 31, the total of such loans was $127 billion.

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Home Price Reductions Shrink in January

Down from 44 percent in December, just over 40 percent of available homes for sale had reduced prices in January, according to a monthly survey of home listings in 27 markets conducted by the national real estate brokerage ZipRealty. January marked the fifth consecutive month of fewer price-reduced homes on the market.

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Citi’s Foreclosure Alternative Allows Homeowners to Stay for Six Months

As one of the nation's largest mortgage servicers, CitiMortgage is still contending with a deluge of foreclosures that just doesn't seem to be abating. The company is launching a new pilot initiative Friday that will allow distressed CitiMortgage borrowers to avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes for six months if they agree to sign over their property deeds. Citi will also provide relocation assistance to ease the transition to another residence.

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RealtyTrac Reports 10% Drop in Foreclosure Activity

The relentless wave of foreclosures that has swelled and battered the housing industry for a good three years seems to have retreated in January, but it's not enough to mean the storm has passed. New data released by RealtyTrac Thursday shows that foreclosure filings were reported on 315,716 U.S. properties during the month, a decrease of nearly 10 percent from December. It's a pattern we've already seen this time last year, and RealtyTrac says if history repeats itself, there will be another flood over the next few months.

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Housing Prices End Year with Another Down Month: IAS

National home prices fell 0.7 percent in December, according to the latest numbers from Denver-based Integrated Asset Services, LLC (IAS). Save for a brief rally throughout last summer, the company's benchmark for U.S. housing values was down nearly all of 2009. Now more than 22 percent below its high-water mark set in July 2007, the index has dropped to a level last seen in mid-2004, IAS said.

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Chrisley Asset Management Introduces New Loss Mitigation Services

Atlanta-based Chrisley Asset Managent, a full-service REO management company, announced Wednesday the integration of short sales and loan modification services to its clients, streamlining the process for lenders and borrowers while increasing overall efficiency with a low-cost and reliable solution.

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Double Dip in Home Prices Threatens One in Five Markets

Despite what seemed to be a flattening - and in some cases even a reversal - of home price declines last year, there are signs that the dreaded ""double dip"" is developing in as many as one in five markets, Zillow says. While residential values in some markets appear to have found their bottom, the company has observed prices in such large metros as Boston, Atlanta, and San Diego to have leveled or begun to decrease again after consecutive monthly increases - early signs of what could become a second period of prolonged declines.

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BofA Provides Clarity Commitment to More Than 1 Million Potential Homebuyers

Marking a major milestone in its effort to provide more clarity and transparency in the mortgage process, Bank of America, N.A., (BofA) provided more than 1 million potential homebuyers with the lender's first mortgage Clarity Commitment. ""Customers told us they wanted transparency and 'no surprises' in the lending process, and the Clarity Commitment answers that need-helping potential homeowners clearly understand the key terms and conditions of their mortgage agreement prior to closing a loan,"" said Barbara Desoer, president of BofA Home Loans.

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