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Gov. Kicks Off Housing Program Campaign

Government officials joined forces with local leaders in Miami on Friday to kick off a nationwide campaign to promote the federal Making Home Affordable program and the options available to struggling homeowners.

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LPS: Foreclosure Starts On The Rise

Jacksonville, Florida-based Lender Processing Services (LPS) says foreclosure starts have increased to their second highest level since the company began keeping records in 1992. LPS released its June Mortgage Monitor Report last week, which provides mortgage industry performance indicators based on data collected as of May 31.

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Housing Turnaround Seen in Direct Mail

After months of plummeting, mortgage and home equity marketing via direct mail campaigns is finally leveling off, and according to the Chicago-based direct marketing firm Mintel Comperemedia, this detail points to a turnaround in the housing industry.

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Fed Maintains Rate, Bond Purchases

Citing signs that the U.S. economy is beginning to show improvement but remains strained, the Federal Reserve Board decided this week to leave its benchmark federal funds rate at a target range of 0 to 0.

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PMI Expands Refinance-to-Mod Program

Walnut Creek, California-based PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. announced on Thursday that it has expanded the company’s Refinance-to-Modification (RTM) program. The program can now be used with all PMI-insured loans, not just those loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that are eligible for the federal government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).

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Industry Veterans Form Distressed Asset Management Alliance

Boston-based Real Estate Fiduciary Services (REFS), a real estate investment strategist company, has announced the formation of a specialized Asset Management Alliance. Led by REFS President John Baczewski and comprised of seven other senior-level real estate practitioners from diverse backgrounds and cities, the alliance was created in response to the growing number of real estate investors, lenders, and owners with financially distressed and underperforming assets.

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NBA All-Stars Take on Miami Foreclosures

Miami Heat basketball star Dwyane Wade and retired Heat center Alonzo Mourning harnessed their celebrity influence Thursday to raise awareness of the foreclosure crisis in Miami and the affordable, certified resources available to struggling homeowners.

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GSEs' Loan Mods Up 57 Percent

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac modified nearly 37,000 home loans during the first quarter of 2009, according to the GSEs’ regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The Q1 figure represents a 57 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2008 and more than double the number of modifications made in the first quarter of last year.

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Mortgage Rates Remain Relatively Flat

Mortgage rates shifted only slightly this week amid mixed reports on the state of the housing market, according to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) issued by Freddie Mac on Thursday. Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s VP and chief economist, pointed to numbers released by the National Association of Realtors earlier this week, which showed that sales of existing homes have risen for two consecutive months.

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