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May Busy with Foreclosure Activity After Slowdown: RealtyTrac

After seeing months of consistent decreases, May turned out to be a busy month for foreclosure activity. Foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions, were up 9 percent in May from the previous month of April, but still down 4 percent from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac's U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for May 2012. Foreclosure filings were reported on 205,990 properties in May after two consecutive months below 200,000, but activity levels were still down on a yearly basis for 20 consecutive months now. In April, foreclosure filings totaled 188,780.

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ForeclosureRadar: May Activity Dominated by Local Conditions

Foreclosure activity in May was marked by lenders being impacted by local market conditions rather than any national trend, according to ForeclosureRadar's May 2012 Foreclosure Report. The report examined all foreclosure activity - sales, starts, and timelines - for Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington in the month of May. While foreclosure starts and sales rose overall between the five states, individual activity widely varied.

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Maternity Discrimination Complaint to Cost BofA More than $160K

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Thursday that Bank of America has agreed to pay $161,180 to settle allegations of maternity-based discrimination. A complaint had been filed by the Fair Housing Council of Orange County (FHCOC) against BofA alleging that one of its San Jose branches refused to refinance a woman's mortgage because she was on maternity leave. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in mortgage lending and real estate-related transactions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, or disability.

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Positives of Negative Equity on Home Prices: CoreLogic

Declines in the share of REO properties and in the months' supply of unsold inventory are all leading to a revival in home prices, and these drops are being driven, in part, by negative equity, CoreLogic concluded in a report. Prices rose by 1.1 percent in April compared to the year before and 2.2 percent from the month before in March. One factor helping boost prices is the decreasing months' supply of homes. While a lower supply during a time of increasing demand is a positive for home prices, Sam Khater, chief economist for CoreLogic and author of the report, explained negative equity is the main reason behind the low supply, not an increase in sales. Negative equity not only makes consumers more reluctant to buy, but it can also discourage homeowners from selling, leading to a smaller number of homes listed on the market.

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FHA Announces Plans to Sell Discounted, Delinquent Loans to Investors

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner Carol Galante announced in a press conference Friday FHA's program to sell mortgage loan pools to investors. The Distressed Asset Stabilization Program, designed to give homeowners with seriously delinquent loans a chance to avoid foreclosure, is an expansion of an earlier FHA pilot program that allows investors to purchase loan pools headed for foreclosure. Investors are then charged with the task of working to bring the loan out of default. The program starts in September 2012 with a sale of the loan pools.

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Non-Performing Bucket Shrinking for Private Label MBS: Amherst

Reperforming and nonperforming loans decreased $6.1 billion to $528.6 billion in May compared to the previous month of April for private label mortgage backed securities (MBS), according to a report from Amherst Securities Group. The decrease came after a reduction of $6.4 billion in the non-performing bucket and a $0.3 billion growth in the re-performing bucket, reflecting elevated liquidations and a slowdown of new defaults, Amherst stated in the report.

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HVF: Elastic Markets Have Highest Rental Yield

The June 6 edition of HVF's ""Lessons from the Data"" showed that rent-to-value ratios, also called rental yields, tend to be highest in areas with elastic markets, such as Las Vegas. In areas of the city where the ease of adding new housing keeps home prices low, rental yields in certain neighborhoods climbed to 14 percent or higher. On the other hand, areas with restrained housing markets (like many neighborhoods in the New York metro) see yields lower than 2 percent.

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Beige Book Cites Modest to Moderate Growth With ‘Guarded’ Optimism.

The economy expanded at a modest to moderate pace from early April to the end of May, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday in its periodic Beige Book. The assessment reflected a weakening from the report in April when the expansion was characterized as moderate. Economic outlooks, according to the report, ""remain positive, but contacts were slightly more guarded in their optimism."" Activity in the New York, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco districts was described as moderate, while the Richmond, St. Louis, and Minneapolis districts noted modest growth.

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FHA 203(k) Program Offers Way to Finance Repairs for Foreclosures

Purchasing foreclosures also means discounts, but with the markdown is the price of repairs. According to RealtyTrac, foreclosures or REOs sold at an average discount of 27 percent compared to non-distressed properties in the first quarter of 2012. Through an FHA 203(k) loan, potential buyers who want to purchase a discounted foreclosure but don't have cash for the repairs may find a way to receive financing.

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