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Future of Fannie and Freddie Debated on Capitol Hill

Together, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantee nearly half of all outstanding mortgages in the United States. They are the very epitome of ""too big to fail,"" and indeed when the housing market came tumbling down and Fannie and Freddie were on the brink of collapse themselves, the government immediately stepped in, shelling out more than $125 billion in taxpayer dollars to cover their losses. Although the nation's housing recovery is still fragile at best, the burning question on everyone's tongue is, ""What do we do with them now?""

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Morningstar Enters Into Agreement to Acquire Realpoint

In an announcement Friday, Morningstar, Inc., a Chicago-based provider of independent investment research, said it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Horsham, Pennsylvania-based Realpoint, LLC, a nationally-recognized statistical ratings organization that specializes in structured finance.

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Investors Find Opportunities in Distressed Commercial Assets

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. And that's exactly what some savvy real estate investors are doing. Declining values, debt maturity, tight credit access, and stalled construction may continue to plague commercial real estate for the remainder of 2010, but optimistic investors are seeing opportunity in this difficult market via the purchase of distressed assets, according to Deloitte's Perspectives on Real Estate: Uncovering Opportunity in a Distressed Market, released Monday.

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HFF New York Hires Director in Debt Placement Group

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. (HFF), a provider of commercial real estate and capital markets services, announced last week that it has hired Gary Newman as a director in the debt placement group in its New York office. Newman will focus on originating debt and structured finance transactions throughout the northeastern United States.

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New President Takes Over Grubb & Ellis Apartment REIT

Gustav G. ""Gus"" Remppies has been appointed as the new president of Santa Ana, California-based Grubb & Ellis Apartment REIT, Inc. He assumes the position from Stanley J. ""Jay"" Olander, who has served as president since April 2007 and will continue to serve as CEO and chairman of the board.

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One in 200 Home Mortgages is Fraudulent: First American CoreLogic

Nationwide, one in every 200 residential loans funded last year, totaling $14 billion, involved fraud, according to First American CoreLogic. Despite what looks like an unsettling amount of shadiness lurking within the mortgage market, the company says the fraud rate has been steadily declining for the past three years and is now about 25 percent lower than when it peaked in the third quarter of 2007.

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Nine Firms Sued by Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco

The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco has filed suit against nine securities dealers - including some of the nation's biggest lenders - alleging they made untrue statements related to the federal bank's investments in private-label residential mortgage-backed securities.

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Garrett Reintroduces Covered Bond Bill to Spur Mortgage Financing

With financing for both residential and commercial real estate mortgages still tight, and the securitization market all but stagnant by historical standards, policymakers have been pushing lenders to get the wheels of finance churning again. It's a fine line to walk with new regulatory compliance issues and constrained capital, but Rep. Scott Garrett thinks he has the answer - covered bonds. They represent a $3 trillion market and are a major source of mortgage liquidity among European nations.

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Commercial Real Estate Investors Have Recovery in Sight: Survey

For the first time in two years, commercial real estate investors are expressing a renewed sense of optimism about the future. Based on their responses to a quarterly survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, investors believe the worst has passed and a commercial real estate recovery is on the horizon. According to the survey findings, investors believe owners and lenders are finally coming to grips with what assets are truly worth, and as a result they expect sales activity in 2010 to be a marked improvement over 2009.

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Outstanding Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Debt Declines in Q4 ’09

Driven by drops in commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and construction loans held by banks and thrifts, the level of commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding in the fourth quarter of 2009 decreased on both a quarter-to-quarter and year-over-year basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) analysis of the Federal Reserve Board Flow of Funds data.

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