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BofA Partners with Detroit to Assist Homeowners, Rehab Vacant Homes

In a partnership with the city of Detroit, Bank of America will open two customer assistance centers in the area to provide homeowners at risk of default or foreclosure with counseling and on-site decision making for mortgage modification programs or other payment assistance. The bank also plans to donate and refurbish 10 vacant homes for the city's ""Project 14"" program, and will work with the city to identify up to 100 low-value and vacant properties for demolition.

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Safeguard Announces Four Executive and Management Appointments

Safeguard Properties issued a notice Thursday announcing the appointments of four individuals to its executive and management teams. Michael Greenbaum has been named to the newly created position of VP, REO. Apryl Seide was appointed as the company's general counsel. Jennifer Anspach has been promoted to director of finance and accounting, and Russ Klein has been named director of quality control.

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Radar Logic’s Home Price Index Hits Lowest Mark Since 2007

Radar Logic's latest RPX Composite, which tracks home prices in 25 major metros, declined to $179.50 per square foot in January, its lowest level since 2007. The company says the rapid decline suggests weak market fundamentals, including a high supply of homes coupled with high rates of mortgage defaults. The report also notes that sales of foreclosed homes by financial institutions, or ""motivated sales,"" made up 35 percent of all home sales as of January 20, the second highest share of motivated sales that Radar Logic has observed.

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Survey: Nearly Half of Economists See Double-Dip Before Year-End

Almost half of the 111 economists and real estate experts polled this month by MacroMarkets are forecasting a double-dip in home prices to happen this year, and not a single panelist expects property values to recover to the pre-bubble trend for at least the next five years. MacroMarkets was founded by Robert Shiller, namesake of the closely-watched Case-Shiller Home Price Index. He says the deteriorating outlook among panel members has been influenced by the unabated foreclosure crisis and persistently weak market fundamentals.

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Rowell Auctions Features Stanley Tate on New National Radio Show

Rowell Auctions, Inc. has launched a new national Internet radio show that will educate listeners about property auctions. The show will feature top real estate and auction leaders from across the country, and will target potential bidders, real estate agents, sellers, and other auction firms. Stanley Tate, CEO of Tate Enterprises in North Miami, Florida and former head of Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC), was the first guest featured on the radio show's inaugural broadcast March 18.

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Cash Is King in Today’s Distressed Marketplace

For many homebuyers, mortgage financing is hard to come by these days. Lenders have tightened up credit requirements in an about-face from the lax lending of pre-crisis days that's fueled record-high delinquencies. According to two separate industry surveys, cash transactions set a new record in February, accounting for 33 percent of home purchases. One report notes that the increase in cash purchases paralleled a rise in activity among investors who have their sights set on distressed properties that can be scooped up at a discount.

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Default Resource Hires Former Ocwen and Altisource Exec

Default Resource, a provider of REO management, valuation, and loss mitigation services, has announced the hiring of James Zeldin as EVP and chief sales officer. Zeldin brings more than 20 years' experience in default management, origination services, REO management, and business process consulting to Default Resource. He previously served as SVP of business development for Altisource Portfolio Solutions and its predecessor company, Ocwen Financial Corporation.

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Sales of Previously Owned Homes Slump 9.6%

Existing-home sales fell in February following three straight monthly increases, according to data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Monday. Sales of previously owned homes dropped 9.6 percent last month to an annual rate of 4.88 million. The latest figures came in much lower than analysts were expecting. NAR attributed the February results to the twin headwinds of tight credit and appraisal problems that resulted in contract cancellations. Distressed homes accounted for nearly 40 percent of the pre-owned sales volume in February.

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Distressed Sales in Southern California Remain High

Southern California's distressed home sales - the combination of foreclosed home sales and short sales - made up more than half of the region's resale market in February, according to a new report from DataQuick. Foreclosure resales accounted for 37.1 percent of resales last month, while short sales were an estimated 19.8 percent. Absentee and cash buyers, primarily investors, are purchasing these homes in record numbers, but DataQuick expects this spring will see an infusion of more traditional buyers.

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Frank Wants Tax on Banks, Hedge Funds to Subsidize Housing Programs

House Republicans may have succeeded in passing legislation to end federal housing programs that are intended to provide assistance to unemployed homeowners and support efforts to clean up vacant foreclosed homes, but their Democratic counterparts aren't going to take it lying down. Rep. Barney Frank, the top-ranking Democrat of the House Financial Services Committee, has introduced legislation that would require the biggest banks and hedge funds to cough up $2.5 billion to keep those very same programs alive.

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