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California Foreclosure Filings Shrink for First Time in 2010

Foreclosure filings in California were down in April for the first time since the beginning of the year, ForeclosureRadar reported Tuesday. Last month, the locally-based company tracked a total of 58,410 notices of default and trustee sale in the Golden State. Default notices fell 16 percent compared to March, while sale notices dropped 10 percent. ForeclosureRadar's market data shows that banks added 14,517 foreclosed California properties to their REO inventories in April. The company puts the total REO supply in the state at 90,295 properties.

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Barclays Lowers REO Inventory Estimate

A recent study by Barclays Capital says that U.S. lenders are holding fewer foreclosed homes than previously assessed by the firm. Some are viewing the revised estimate as a testament to the stability that is taking hold in the housing market, but Barclays warns that the industry should expect REO inventories to grow - albeit gradually - over the next couple of years, as banks push more properties through the pipeline and foreclosure alternatives are exhausted. Barclays estimates that as of the end of February, 480,000 repossessed homes were held by U.S. lenders, mortgage investors, and the GSEs.

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New Web Site Launched by QualityFirst Real Estate

QualityFirst Real Estate, a San Diego-based real estate company specializing in REO properties, recently launched a new company Web site, providing real world expertise regarding short sales and foreclosure sales to homebuyers, buyers, and the lending community. Through this new site, buyers looking for great opportunities on a home can directly access QualityFirst's online listings of bank-owned homes for sale, the company said. And buyers looking for a home loan can take advantage of the site's mortgage information and loan calculator pages.

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Quarterly Drop in Home Prices Doesn’t Budge 5.1% Annual Gain

Home prices across the United States continue to slide in the quarterly context, but industry data released Thursday indicates that when you widen the scope, year-over-year numbers are still showing a healthy bounce-back from the depressed levels recorded in 2009. Add to that the fact that REOs are coming to market at a much slower pace, and analysts at Clear Capital say it just might mean the rapid deterioration in the housing market will have a shorter lifespan than originally feared.

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Mountain Real Estate Capital Closes Five Distressed Asset Acquisitions

Mountain Real Estate Capital, the newly formed acquisition and investment affiliate of Mountain Funding, announced this week that it has closed on its first five acquisitions. Historically, Mountain Funding has focused on value-added residential and commercial opportunities, but the company says in the current environment, it is zeroing in entirely on acquiring assets at distressed values.

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CMBS Delinquencies Hit New All-Time High

Overdue loans in pools of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) continue to mount. Although the rate of increase slowed from March's breakneck pace, the research firm Trepp LLC reported Monday that the percentage of CMBS loans 30 or more days delinquent, in foreclosure, or classified as REO jumped 41 basis points last month, putting the overall delinquency rate at 8.02 percent. Fitch Ratings says the default rate for its CMBS-rated universe is even higher, hitting 8.15 percent at the end of Q1 2010.

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Improvements in Delinquencies Obscured by 7.39M Troubled Loans: LPS

""Mixed results"" has been the predominant theme among industry studies the last couple of weeks. The latest report from Lender Processing Services held true to form. The Florida-based company's analysis of the nation's home loan market indicates ""modest improvements"" in the number of nonperforming loans returning to current status and fewer new delinquencies. But the research firm says these steps forward are still overshadowed by a large pool of 7.39 million non-current and REO loans.

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Freddie Mac Sells 207 REO Homes in Vegas, SoCal Auctions

Freddie Mac reported Wednesday that it had sold 207 HomeSteps REO homes to first-time buyers and other owner-occupants at auctions in Las Vegas and Riverside-San Bernardino, California on April 24 and 25. The auctions, managed by New Vista and Real Estate Disposition Corporation (REDC), drew thousands of bidders. Freddie Mac sold 90 percent of the REO properties set aside for the auctions. Altogether HomeSteps found buyers for 107 repossessed homes in Las Vegas and 100 homes in Riverside/San Bernardino.

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Investors Divided on Principal Write-Downs: DBRS

Treasury announced plans in March to allow principal reductions for distressed borrowers who owe more on their mortgage than the home is worth. The move has sparked a debate over the ramifications of mortgage debt forgiveness. The credit ratings agency DBRS says even investor reaction to the push for debt forgiveness has been mixed. But the firm says if done properly, principal write-downs will benefit securities investors in the long-run, and could moderate the ever-increasing delinquency pipeline and shrink swollen housing supplies.

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Fannie Mae Extends Its Seller Assistance Incentive

As part of its ongoing efforts to stabilize neighborhoods across the country, Fannie Mae announced Tuesday that it has extended its seller assistance incentive on properties purchased through HomePath, the company's REO disposition operation. Through this program, qualified buyers receive 3.5 percent of the final sales price to be used toward closing cost assistance or their choice of selected appliances. The offer is available to any owner-occupant who closes on the purchase of an REO property listed on the HomePath Web site by June 30, 2010.

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