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Case-Shiller Indexes End 2011 With New Lows

All three headline composites of the S&P/Case Shiller Index ended 2011 at new lows. The national composite fell by 3.8 percent during the fourth quarter of 2011 and was down 4.0 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2010. Both the 10- and 20-city composites fell by 1.1 percent in December over November, and posted annual returns of -3.9 percent and -4.0 percent versus December 2010, respectively. With these latest data, all three composites are at their lowest levels since the housing crisis began in mid-2006.

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Fannie Mae’s First Bulk Offering of REO-to-Rental Pilot Is Open for Bids

Fannie Mae has put a block of 2,490 REOs up for sale. It's the first pilot transaction of the federal government's Real-Estate Owned (REO) Initiative announced in August 2011, which aims to sell homes repossessed by government agencies to private investors for the purpose of turning the properties into rental units. The homes up for grabs are concentrated in the hard-hit metropolitan areas of Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and parts of Florida, and 85 percent of them are already occupied by tenants.

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Delinquency Levels Down in Q4, but Still Not at Historical Levels

Real estate debt and delinquencies are on a continuing decline, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit. Mortgage and home equity lines of credit (HELOC) balances fell at a combined $146 billion, with $134 billion from mortgages and $12 billion from HELOC, which are, respectively, 11 percent and 11.

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AGA Seeks to Overturn Fed Ruling

The American Guild of Appraisers (AGA) petitioned the Fed and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to overturn a regulation that allows appraisers to be paid a fraction of what can be defined as a customary and reasonable fee, a release from the AGA stated. In 2010, Dodd-Frank rules were enacted to establish certain requirements for appraisals, including one to “ensure that creditors and their agents pay customary and reasonable fees to appraisers,” according to the Dodd-Frank website. But last year, the Fed introduced a new law that the AGA views as undermining the original Dodd-Frank requirement.

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Pending Home Sales Index Up in January, Reaching 20-Month High

The pending home sales index (PHSI) rose in January to 97.0 from a downwardly revised 95.1 in December. At 97.0, the index is at its highest level since April 2011, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. The index rose for the third time in the last four months and the January reading was 8 percent above January 2011 levels, but 26.5 percent below the April 2005 peak. The index began in January 2005. The PHSI has been trending upward, albeit modestly for most of the past two years. Despite the 20-month high, the index is relatively subdued.

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Housing Fix: Minority Group Unveils $1.2 Billion Industry-Led Program

The National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Inc. (NAREB) announced the launch of a 25-city, $1.2 billion REO and foreclosure mitigation initiative called the Homeowner's Assurance Program (HAP). NAREB, through is network of industry professionals, will provide the agent infrastructure to manage, market, and dispose of nonperforming loans and REO assets acquired under the program. Targeted buyers include first-time homebuyers and others who are caught in the credit crunch and having trouble purchasing a home.

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Moody’s Analytics Outlines Settlement Impact for Banks and Borrowers

After more than a year of intense negotiations, 49 state attorneys general and the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers reached a $25 billion settlement on February 9. While the agreement allotted specific amounts to go towards certain areas of relief, many are wondering how the settlement will affect those represented. Moody's Analytics has released a report offering up an analysis of the settlement's expected impact on both banks and borrowers.

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California Short Sales Reach Highest Level in 3 Years

Pending homes sales in California were higher for January compared to the previous month and year, and short sales rose to the highest level in three years, according to the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.). Based on signed contracts, C.A.R.'s Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) climbed from a revised 91 in December to 102.4 in January and was also up from last year when the PHSI was 93.1 in January 2011. Of all distressed properties sold in California, 23.8 percent were short sales, the highest level in three years since C.A.R. has kept record.

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JVI Solutions, Active Data Technologies Forge Technology Agreement

JVI Solutions LLC, a nationwide appraisal and inspection services provider, and Active Data Technologies Inc., the parent company of Foreclosure.com, announced Wednesday that the two Florida-based firms have forged a technology partnership which they describe as ""game-changing."" The joint venture will soon introduce a proprietary automated home appraisal and broker price opinion (BPO) system that integrates interactive analytical data into a mobile platform.

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