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Auctions Bode Well for Distressed CRE: A Connecticut Case Study

When the residential housing market took its big spill, real estate auctions became a quick means for lenders to dispose of growing distressed property inventories and a popular avenue for bargain-hunting buyers. The commercial real estate sector, too, now finds itself on a banana-peel floor, and here also the auction forum is proving to be a powerful business practice for tumultuous times.

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New Search Engine Launched for MLS Listings in Southwest Florida

The new MLS real estate search engine recently launched by Cape Coral, Florida-based Askzenrealestate.com is creating a lot of hype. The company is best known for its real estate blog, which provides readers with information on the region's changing real estate market. Through the addition of its new search engine, the site's visitors can receive real-time, up-to-date MLS listings.

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Short Sales See Big Jump in Activity

Despite having a bad rap for being slow and problematic, short sales are quickly becoming a preferred method to dispose of distressed properties. One industry survey shows short sales accounted for a substantial 15.9 percent of home purchase transactions in January nationwide. This foreclosure alternative is becoming particularly attractive in some of the hardest-hit housing markets. Lawmakers in Arizona are considering a bill that would mandate real estate agents there take 15 hours of short sale classes to learn the process.

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Cassidy Turley Announces New Leadership in Capital Markets Group

Cassidy Turley, a commercial real estate services firm, recently announced that Peter Ruggiero and Lisa Birrittieri have joined the company's capital markets investment services group. Ruggiero will serve as managing director of U.S. capital markets, and Birrittieri will assume the role of VP, U.S. capital markets for the firm.

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U.S. Commercial Real Estate Suffers Worst Fall on Record: IPD

Commercial real estate in the United States has suffered its worst annual capital return on record, according to Investment Property Databank (IPD). The global real estate analysis firm reported that its U.S. property index fell 23.9 percent in 2009. While the pace of market value decline eased over the final quarter, IPD says cap rate pressures and weakening rental fundamentals are curbing optimism that 2010 is the year of recovery for the commercial sector.

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Pennsylvania Bolsters Mortgage Enforcement Actions in 2009

As a result of regulatory reforms signed into law by Gov. Edward G. Rendell in 2008, the Pennsylvania Department of Banking increased enforcement activity in the mortgage industry in 2009. Last year, the department suspended 542 mortgage companies and professionals for violations such as failure to obtain bonding, inadequate supervision of employees, and not completing criminal background check and education requirements.

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Private Equity Group Completes Acquisition of MortgageDashboard

Catalizador Private Equity Fund, a team of Texas-based venture capitalists, announced this week the completed acquisition of MortgageDashboard. MortgageDashboard provides loan origination systems that enable paperless mortgage processing. Catalizador took control of MortgageDashboard last fall when the technology firm lost an important line of credit and was on the brink of insolvency.

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Global DMS Makes Software Compliant with FHA Appraisal Rules

Global DMS has enhanced its appraisal management technologies to comply with new appraisal requirements of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which went into effect on Monday. All lenders submitting loans to FHA are now required to comply with the agency's new guidelines, which have some similarities and several differences to the HVCC already adopted by the GSEs.

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California Named No. 1 State for Mortgage Fraud Risk

In the fourth quarter of 2009, California had the highest mortgage fraud risk, according to the latest fraud report from Interthinx, a provider of risk mitigation and regulatory compliance tools. California nudged Nevada into the No. 2 spot on the company's list. Arizona was third and Florida was fourth. Interthinx's study shows that the most common type of mortgage fraud these days relates to property valuation schemes involving short sales, REOs, wholesale flipping, and refinancing.

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Housing Outlook Hopeful as Labor Market Improves: Fannie Mae

It is a well-known fact that job loss is often the trigger that sends many borrowers into default and down the road to foreclosure. However, according to the February 2010 Economic Outlook released Friday by Fannie Mae, prospects for employment gains are improving, and as a result, the housing outlook is hopeful.

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