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Industry Groups Join Forces to Change Hawaii’s BPO Law

The state of Hawaii has enacted House Bill 320, a statute that permits a licensed real estate broker or real estate salesperson to prepare broker price opinions (BPOs) and charge a fee for their service. Under previous legislation, if a real estate licensee charged a fee for a BPO other than the commission involved in the normal sale of a property, then the licensee was in violation of the state's legal code for real estate appraisals. The change, which took effect in July, came about through a unified effort by a number of industry groups, and it's been a long time coming.

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AOL Real Estate Launches New Search Powered by Move, Inc.

AOL Inc. has launched a new real estate search on AOL Real Estate that is powered by Move, Inc. The new search engine returns homes for sale, foreclosures, new homes, off-market, and recently sold properties provided to AOL through Move's ListHub syndication network. The AOL Real Estate search now delivers new tools that enable users to refine their search by multiple criteria including open houses, new listings, and price reductions. It also connects potential buyers directly to real estate agents.

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Moody’s: Commercial Property Prices Increase 0.9%

In the month of June, U.S. commercial real estate prices rose 0.9 percent, according to the latest Moody's/REAL Commercial Property Price Indices released Monday. June is the second consecutive month of price gains. The ratings agency says the increase represents a firming up of the market bottom, but turmoil in the capital markets and a drop-off in secondary market lending may delay realization of any significant near-term pricing gains. Sales of distressed properties accounted for 29 percent of June's volume.

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Early Delinquencies Rise Amid Outlook for Continuing Deterioration

The delinquency rate of first-lien residential mortgages increased to 8.44 percent of all loans outstanding as of the end of the second quarter of 2011, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported Monday. Although the rate is down 141 basis points from a year earlier, it rose 12 basis points when compared to the first quarter of 2011. The biggest increase came from loans in the earliest stage of delinquency - just one installment, or 30 days past due. Analysts called this the ""most worrying"" aspect of the report.

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Chase Donates $1M to Cover Down Payments on Vacant Detroit Homes

The JPMorgan Chase Foundation is making a $1 million grant to help about 70 police officers and city employees move back to Detroit over the next two years. Mayor Dave Bing has launched several initiatives to strengthen Detroit's communities by bringing law enforcement and city employees into the areas where they work. Qualifying buyers will receive money for a down payment on vacant homes in select neighborhoods as part of the mayor's initiatives.

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Industry’s Shadow Inventory of Distressed Homes Shrinks

Housing has become an industry afraid of its shadows. That shadow inventory of repossessed and soon-to-be repossessed homes has professionals from every side of the business worried about the impact such a sizeable volume of distress will have on property values and overall market fundamentals. But according to Standard & Poor's, the obscurity hiding in the corner is getting smaller. The agency's current estimate of time-to-clear the market's distress is 47 months. That represents a five-month decline from its first-quarter estimate.

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Bank of America Names New Head of Legacy Loan Division

Bank of America has named Ron Sturzenegger to replace Terry Laughlin as head of the bank's Legacy Asset Servicing division, the unit that manages problem home loans and investors' mortgage repurchase claims. Laughlin has now officially assumed his new role as chief risk officer, as announced by the company last month. Sturzenegger joined Bank of America in 1998. He most recently has served as a catalyst team member for Project New BAC, focused on the company's home loans business.

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Axios Valuation Solutions Rolls Out Appraisal App

Axios Valuation Solutions, LLC has just made the appraisal process smarter with the introduction of its new mobile application for smart phones and tablets. The new application will be offered to Axios' nationwide appraisal network and will allow the appraiser to receive, accept, or decline orders in real time. Appraisers can even view a map of the property location.

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Freddie Mac’s HomeSteps Offers Condo Buyers Cash Incentive

Freddie Mac's REO disposition unit HomeSteps rolled out a new program this week aimed at trimming its inventory of foreclosed condominiums. HomeSteps' Condo Cash is a special limited time offer that will provide eligible condominium buyers with up to $1,500 for standard condominium association dues. Offers must be submitted between August 15 and November 15, 2011 and close escrows by December 30, 2011.

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REO Allegiance Selected for Altas REO Inspection Program

REO Allegiance, a national property preservation firm headquartered in Bayonne, New Jersey, announced this week that it has been chosen as a premier inspection service provider for Atlas REO Services which is based in California and provides customized REO management and disposition services for lenders and servicers. The new program goes well beyond the services traditionally offered by asset management firms, according to the two companies, and saves clients time and money by putting properties back on the market faster.

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