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DS News Webcast: Monday 4/28/2014

Average down payments for mortgages are on the decline, lending a little bit of relief for affordability-challenged homebuyers around the country. According to a report released by Lending Tree, down payment percentages for 30-year fixed-rate purchase loans fell in the first quarter to 15.7 percent. At the same time, the company found average credit scores for borrowers matched with lenders on its own network have dropped 6 percent year-over-year, opening up the credit pool.

Out of the top 10 states offering the lowest down payment percentages to borrowers, North Dakota reigned with an average percentage of 12.31 percent. At the bottom of that top 10 range was Idaho with 13.81 percent, although most of the list fell below the 13 percent mark. At the other end of the spectrum, New Jersey took the top spot for the highest average down payment at 19.3 percent, followed by New York, California, Connecticut, and Hawaii. Not surprisingly, states with the lowest down payment percentages also happen to be states with the lowest borrower health scores, according to LendingTree.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced a settlement with Barclays Bank for $280 million. Acting as a conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the FHFA's settlement resolves legal claims against the bank related to allegations of violations of federal and state securities laws in connection with private-label mortgage-backed securities purchased by the two companies. Barclays will pay $227 million to Freddie Mac and $53 to Fannie Mae. The settlement represents the 13th settlement related to 18 private-label securities lawsuits filed by the FHFA.

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