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Title Insurance Premiums Rise 14% in Third Quarter

Title insurance premium volume rose 14 percent during the third quarter of 2013 when compared to the same period a year ago, according to the American Land Title Association (ALTA). Based on the national trade group's market share analysis for Q3, the title insurance industry generated $3.4 billion in premiums over the July-to-September period, compared to $3.0 billion in the third quarter of 2012.

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FHA to Bring Down Loan Limits for 2014

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is lowering loan limits on single-family mortgages next year, HUD announced. The federal agency's maximum ceiling for single-family loans will drop from $729,750 to $625,000. HUD estimates about 650 counties will see lower thresholds in 2014. Exceptions have been extended to counties in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Virgin Islands to account for greater construction costs.

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Platinum Data Recruits Valuations Expert to Tap Growing Market

Valuations expert Craig Zielazny has joined Platinum Data Solutions to help build out its automated valuation model (AVM) offerings, the company announced. As Platinum Data's new SVP of valuation analytics, Zielazny is tasked with growing its valuation analytics channel, which includes 18 non-proprietary AVMs and an AVM testing technology.

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Housing Momentum Stalled by Cautious Consumers

According to Fannie Mae's November National Housing Survey, positive momentum in the housing market has slowed as Americans remain cautious about their personal finances and the overall state of the economy. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed believe the economy is on the wrong track. Within the next year, 22 percent expect their personal finances to worsen and only 45 percent expect home prices to increase.

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Pro Teck Unveils Appraisal Desktop with Inspection

Pro Teck Valuation Services introduced Appraisal Desktop with Inspection (ADI), a new hybrid appraisal product for home equity and second mortgage lending. As a USPAP-compliant desktop appraisal platform, ADI was designed to fill the gap between an automated valuation model with property condition report and a field appraisal.

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California Coastal Housing Unaffordable Again

One of the earliest phenomenon of the housing bubble was the ascension of home prices, making housing unaffordable relative to incomes. Markets across the nation cascaded from affordable to unaffordable--a key signal that prompted us to warn of the coming housing downturn. And it now appears that this symptom has cropped up once again, as almost all of California's coastal cities are now unaffordable.

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Foreclosures, Foreclosure Inventory, Serious Delinquencies All Falling

At 48,000, completed foreclosures registered a 30 percent annual decline in October, according to CoreLogic. The industry's foreclosure inventory (2.2 percent) and serious delinquency rate (5.1 percent) also fell. While the declines were significant, CoreLogic pointed out in its report that between 2000 and 2006, completed foreclosures averaged about 21,000 per month and the foreclosure inventory rate was 0.6 percent.

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Homes Selling Swiftly in Southwestern Pennsylvania

Southwestern Pennsylvania saw a nearly 15 percent annual increase in the number of homes placed under sales agreement, according to the November housing report from the West Penn Multi-List, Inc. At the same time, the average number of days homes were on the market decreased by nearly 15 percent.

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Why so Few Houses for Sale? Lots of Reasons.

Inventories of homes for sale have been slow to bounce back since the 2007-09 recession, despite steady price appreciation since January 2012. Normally, higher prices reflect robust sales. But lately, prices have been rising even though sales remain stuck at relatively low levels, largely due to a lack of inventory. So why are there so few homes for sale? Two Fed economists examine the many factors affecting today's inventory levels.

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As Borrowers Emerge from Underwater, Cloud of Problem HELOCs Rises

The percentage of homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth has declined to less than 12 percent as of the third quarter of this year, according to Lender Processing Services' (LPS) Mortgage Monitor report. While the increasing number of homeowners rising above water is good news for the market, LPS detects some tumultuous seas ahead as a cloud of problem home equity loans forms on the horizon.

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