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Daily Dose

Brakes Expected to Keep Pumping on Price Gains

After nearly two years of frenzied price appreciation, home price gains are expected to drop off, according to the latest report from Veros Real Estate Solutions, a provider of enterprise risk management, collateral valuation, and predictive analytics. However, Veros does not cast a negative outlook for the market. Rather, the firm anticipates a stable market with slow price appreciation. “The wave of appreciation may have crested, but it has been an impressive recovery in many respects,” said Eric Fox, VP of statistical an economic modeling at Veros.

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LRES CEO: Sound Transactions Depend on Sound Data

In an interview with host Louis Amaya for "Mortgage Markets Today," LRES founder and CEO Roger Beane asserted that even though there have been many changes in the real estate and mortgage banking industry, appraisers will always be in demand: "Our customers have told us they are still very interested in having the signature from a licensed appraiser attesting to the value."

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Unemployment Down to 6.3% as April Payrolls Exceed Forecasts

Employers across the country added 288,000 jobs to their payrolls in April, bringing the unemployment rate down to a new post-crash low. According to the latest report from the Labor Department, the rate of unemployment last month fell to 6.3 percent, down nearly half a percentage point after a flat March. At an estimated 9.8 million, the number of unemployed people was down by 733,000.

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Report: Buying Trumps Renting in Half the Country

A recent break-even horizon analysis by Zillow finds buying a home remains a better longer-term financial decision than renting in half of U.S. metros. "Rents keep rising, and mortgage interest rates remain very low, which is helping to skew the rent vs. buy decision toward buying for those who can afford it," said Zillow chief economist Dr. Stan Humphries.

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Construction Spending Edges Up as Builders Maintain Caution

According to figures released Thursday by the Commerce Department, total construction spending in March bumped up 0.2 percent to an estimated adjusted annual rate of $942.5 billion. Compared to a year prior, March spending was up 8.4 percent. In the private sector, construction spending was put at an estimated rate of $679.6 billion, with residential projects accounting for $369.8 billion of that total.

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Mortgage Rates Dip on Dim Economic Growth

In its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, Freddie Mac recorded the average 30-year fixed rate at 4.29 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending May 1, down from 4.33 percent. Freddie Mac’s chief economist, Frank Nothaft, pinned the declines on disappointing numbers for gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter. According to an advance estimate, the economy expanded at a rate of 0.1 percent last quarter, well short of market forecasts.

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Home Flips Drop as Investors Cool

Home "flips" accounted for 3.7 percent of all home sales in the first quarter, RealtyTrac reported Thursday—indicating investors are cooling as the market continues to change shape. "Slowing home price appreciation early this year in many of the most popular flipping markets put some investors in danger of flying too close to the sun," said Daren Blomquist, VP at RealtyTrac.

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First-Quarter Refinance Stats Point to Equity Build-Up

According to Freddie Mac's latest report, 39 percent of refinancers last quarter chose to shorten their term, up slightly over the prior quarter and the highest share since 1992. Meanwhile, the share of borrowers extracting home equity stayed relatively low. Together, the two stats suggest borrowers are seeking to strengthen their own equity positions as home values continue to rise, the company says.

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CFPB Amends Mortgage Rules for Nonprofits

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced Wednesday it is proposing “minor changes” to its mortgage rules to assist nonprofit organizations in getting loans to underserved communities. “Today’s proposal would maintain those strong protections, while making minor changes to ensure consumers have access to credit,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a statement.

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Fed to Cut Monthly Asset Purchases to $45B

Federal Reserve leaders concluded their April meeting on Wednesday, revealing they have again voted to scale back the Fed's monthly asset purchases. Beginning in May, the committee will add only $20 billion in mortgage-backed securities per month rather than the previous pace of $25 billion. Additionally, longer-term Treasury securities will be scaled back to $25 billion per month rather than $30 billion.

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