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Equator Launches New Clients on PRO REO Workstation

Equator announced Wednesday that it has completed implementations of its PRO REO Workstation with several middle-market firms: Kingdom First Properties, Metro Brokers Inc., Pacifica Companies, and Lifeway Capital. Equator rolled out the new PRO REO solution in March, which allows outsourcers and smaller servicers to immediately transact with over 730,000 agents and 21,600 vendors electronically to manage, market, and sell their REO properties.

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Investment Firm Acquires Stake in $760M FDIC Loan Portfolio

Mariner Real Estate Management has announced the purchase of a portfolio of approximately 1,100 residential and commercial loans from 20 failed banks. The real estate investment and management firm conducted the $760 million transaction with the FDIC. Mariner paid about $52 million for a 40 percent managing member interest in the limited liability company created by the FDIC to hold all the loans and REO assets.

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CMBS Delinquency Rate Nears 9% after August Jump: Trepp

The delinquency rate for real estate loans held in commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) accelerated in August after two successive months in which delinquency increases had moderated, according to Trepp LLC. Overall, the percentage of loans 30 or more days delinquent, in foreclosure, or REO, jumped 21 basis points last month, putting the overall delinquency rate at 8.92 percent. The analysts at Trepp say the August numbers ""may give ammunition to those who argue that the commercial real estate crisis is far from over.""

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Shadow Inventory Shrinks for Fifth Consecutive Month: Barclays

That ominous shadow inventory of distressed homes that's been hanging over the industry was trimmed in July, according to Barclays Capital. It marked the fifth straight month the company has recorded a decline in the shadow supply. Barclays says it shrank 1.2 percent, to 3.92 million homes. At the same time, the firm's assessment of the nation's REO inventory ticked up 0.2 percent to 538,000 properties. The distressed share of home sales rose sharply in July, and Barclays says this will likely drive prices down 2 percent over the next three months.

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NAR’s Index of Pending Home Sales Unexpectedly Climbs

Following a sharp drop in the months immediately after the homebuyer tax credit expired, the National Association of Realtors' gauge for future sales of previously owned homes has risen. NAR reported Thursday that its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in July, increased 5.2 percent from last month's reading. The month-to-month jump was an unexpected development, and some analysts say it may be a sign that the post-tax credit lull in home sales will soon come to an end.

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REOs the Topic du Jour in Washington

Neighborhoods across the country are riddled with empty bank-owned homes and unoccupied foreclosures that erode neighboring property values and open the door for blight and criminal activity. The nation's glut of vacant REOs took center stage in Washington Wednesday. HUD announced a new nationwide REO ""First Look"" program, in partnership with the nation's largest mortgage lenders, and it was the first of a two-day Federal Reserve summit to examine the community impacts of foreclosed and vacant properties.

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Los Angeles Adopts MERS System

As an alternative to its registry of foreclosed properties and property preservation contacts for vacant properties, the city of Los Angeles is adopting the MERS System, an electronic loan registry that acts as a nominee in county land records on behalf of lenders and servicers. MERS members can use the system to track both residential and commercial properties. Users tout the benefits of the technology as saving code enforcement officials and municipalities both time and money to ensure vacant properties are maintained.

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Housing Supply and Demand Won’t Balance until 2012: Moody’s

Moody's Investors Service says it expects home price appreciation to be ""soft"" for the next couple of years. The company says there were 1.8 million more vacant homes sitting on the market than what is considered the norm at the end of the second quarter, reflecting a rise in the number of homes that lenders are repossessing. According to Moody's, it will not be until 2012 that demand and supply conditions are balanced enough to drive price appreciation that matches the pace of inflation.

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LPS Reports a Jump in Foreclosure Starts in July

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) offered the industry a ray of hope when it reported Thursday that foreclosure starts were down nearly 10 percent in Q2, but the brightness quickly faded when Lender Processing Services (LPS) released its own dataset. MBA's numbers were based on data through the end of June. LPS reports that by the end of July, foreclosure starts had jumped back up by 24.5 percent. It's the fourth highest level ever recorded by the company.

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GSEs’ Single-Family Delinquency Rates Fall

The percentage of home loans 90 or more days past due held by the nation's two largest mortgage companies has declined yet again. Fannie Mae's single-family serious delinquency rate has fallen to 4.99 percent. It's the fourth straight month that Fannie has reported a decline. Freddie Mac's serious delinquencies dropped to 3.89 percent, the fourth decrease in five months. The reciprocated declines seem a welcome herald, but researchers say they're merely the consequence of an increase in GSE foreclosures.

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