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Moody’s: Commercial Real Estate Prices Just 0.8% Above Cycle Low

Prices on commercial real estate have slipped for three consecutive months and are now dangerously close to double-dip territory due to the large share of distressed transactions recently, according to Moody's Investors Service. The agency reported Wednesday that its index of commercial property prices fell another 3.3 percent in February. The index is down 4.9 percent from 12 months earlier and only 0.8 percent above its post-peak low set in August 2010. Approximately 29 percent of the transactions tracked in February were distressed.

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Distressed Properties Claim 40% of Existing-Home Sales

Distressed homes - typically REOs and short sales - accounted for 40 percent of the existing homes sold in March, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Wednesday. The trade group notes that these properties generally sell at discounts in the vicinity of 20 percent. Their large market share served to dampen the median existing-home price. For all housing types, it came in at $159,600 in March, down 5.9 percent from March 2010. Overall, sales of previously owned homes rose 3.7 percent last month as the spring buying season began to take hold.

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Posey Bill Aims to Stimulate REO Sales

Rep. Bill Posey (R-Florida) has introduced legislation to support the sale of REO homes. His bill, The Housing Recovery Act of 2011, would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exempt retirement plan distributions from early withdrawal penalties as long as the money is being used to purchase a residence that has been in foreclosure for a year or more.

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Massachusetts Realty Company Promotes Short Sale Benefits in D.C.

John McGeough and Anthony Lamacchia, founders of McGeough Lamacchia Realty Inc. traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to educate policy makers on the benefits of short sales. McGeough Lamacchia Realty is a full-service real estate firm in Waltham, Massachusetts, specializing in short sales. The company's two principals conducted meetings with officials at Capitol Hill, the FDIC, the U.S. Treasury, and the National Association of Realtors.

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Foreclosures Account for 43% of Twin Cities Home Sales

Foreclosure sales accounted for roughly 43 percent of home sale closings in the Twin Cities metropolitan area of Minnesota last month, and 40 percent of pending home sales contracts. While those market shares are in line with recent trends, Brad Fisher, president of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, says they're still higher than what he'd like to see. While overall purchase activity in March was down 17 percent, the foreclosure segment saw a 30 percent jump in closed sales.

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Mortgage Issues Lead to 39% Drop in Income for Bank of America

Bank of America said Friday that it turned a profit of $2.0 billion for the first quarter of 2011. That's down 39 percent from the lender's earnings a year earlier, largely due to continuing losses tied to its legacy mortgage business. Bank of America took a $4.9 billion hit related to foreclosure delays and other out-of-pocket expenses that the company does not expect to recover, as well as higher litigation costs and loss mitigation expenses. The bank has also confirmed plans to lay off 1,500 mortgage employees.

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South Florida Bank Repossessions Decline for First Time in Four Years

Bank repossessions in South Florida decreased during the first quarter of 2011, according to a new report from the locally based firm Condo Vultures. Lenders repossessed 2 percent fewer properties between January and March 2011 than in the same three-month period in 2010 in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. The decline represents the tri-county region's first quarterly drop since the real estate crash began in 2007.

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eMortgage Logic Releases Collateral Assessment Report

eMortgage Logic has launched a collateral assessment report (CAR) that can join with an automated valuation model (AVM) in response to the recently published Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines. Using its network of preferred brokers, eMortgage Logic's report addresses the content criterion necessary regarding a property's current physical condition and local market influences.

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RealtyTrac: Foreclosure Activity at Lowest Level in Three Years

RealtyTrac says processing delays have reduced foreclosure activity to its lowest level since the first quarter of 2008. New data released by the tracking firm shows that foreclosure filings were reported on 681,153 U.S. properties during the first three months of this year. That represents a 15 percent decline from the previous quarter and a 27 percent drop from a year ago. Declines were steepest in states where a judicial foreclosure process is used, but looking at the nationwide data for March, RealtyTrac's report indicates that activity is already beginning to pick up some.

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REO Allegiance to Provide Field Services for 24 Asset Management

REO Allegiance has been selected by 24 Asset Management Corp. as one of its property preservation and field services partners. The company says the decision was made based on the quality of the work provided by REO Allegiance, its reputation in the marketplace, and its status as a certified woman-owned business. According to 24 Asset, less than 5 percent of default-related services are going back to minority- and woman-owned businesses, and both companies agree that with large volumes of these assets concentrated in diverse populations, the involvement of such companies is essential to supporting redevelopment.

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