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Zillow Says Fewer Home Sellers Are Cutting Asking Prices

For the first time in five months, fewer sellers cut the asking price of their home in August, according to the online real estate marketplace Zillow. As of the end of last month, the company says just over one-fourth, 28.8 percent, of all listings on Zillow had at least one price reduction. That's a decrease from the 30.1 percent of listings that had a price reduction as of the end of July. Zillow says nationally, the median price cut amounts to 7 percent.

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Reports: Distressed Commercial Real Estate Equals $187B

The total value of distressed commercial real estate (CRE) in the United States right now is $186.9 billion, including properties in default, foreclosure, and lender REO, according to data from the research firm Real Capital Analytics. The Transwestern company Delta Associates says this tally represents an increase of 12 percent, or $20.1 billion, since June and means CRE distress has risen back to the level it was in March of this year. But the company says a plateau in the $165-$200 billion range will be the norm for a while.

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Auction Businesses Merge to Form New Holding Company

The real estate auction house of Williams & Williams and Auction Network, an Internet television network for live auctions, issued a joint statement Wednesday announcing a merger of the two companies. The newly created parent company, WWM (Williams, Williams & McKissick) Holdings, LLC, is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and will remain under private ownership.

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FAS Streamlines Asset Management Services

Field Asset Services (FAS) recently launched Collateral Command, a solution for property management services and support that offers lenders and servicers a single source for managing foreclosed and REO properties. Included within the Collateral Command suite is Utilities Management Service, which allows banks, servicers, and lenders to leverage FAS and its industry relationships to streamline the day-to-day tasks of managing the utilities process and payments.

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Report: Price Gains Narrow, but Double Dip Not Expected…until Spring

A study released by Clear Capital Thursday shows that quarter-over-quarter home prices were up 5.7 percent in August, compared to the previous month's reading. It's a gain, but the company says price increases are beginning to narrow and appear to be poised for a descent. Even with the slowdown, Clear Capital's assessment is that home prices won't fall below the lows seen in 2009 and bring about that dreaded double dip...at least not until next spring.

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HUD Doles out Another $1B to Stabilize Hard-Hit Neighborhoods

HUD awarded an additional $1 billion Wednesday to state and county governments to help communities reverse the effects of the foreclosure crisis and assist with the cleanup of vacant homes. The grants represent the third round of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding - which so far amounts to a total of $7 billion - earmarked for acquiring, redeveloping, or demolishing foreclosed properties. Recipients are able to take advantage of HUD's new REO ""First Look"" program with the nation's largest mortgage lenders.

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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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