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New Home Sales Sink 1.6% in November

Sales of newly built single-family properties fell 1.6 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 438,000 in November, according to a report from the Commerce Department. October's sales rate was revised down to 445,000, meaning the month actually saw a decrease as opposed to the slight increase that was originally recorded.

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Mortgage Performances Improve in Q3

The latest data from OCC shows that out of a portfolio totaling 23.6 million loans with a combined unpaid principal balance of about $4.0 billion (about 46 percent of residential mortgages in the U.S.), the percentage of current and performing mortgages increased both quarter-over-quarter (from 92.9 percent to 93.0 percent) and year-over-year (from 91.4 percent to 93.0 percent) in Q3.

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Existing-Home Sales Topple to Six-Month Low

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Monday that existing-home sales fell 6.1 percent from October to November, landing at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.93 million. Despite the stumble, home resales in November were still up 2.1 percent from year-ago levels, making it just the second month in 2014 to see sales rise year-over-year.

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Home Sales, Inventory Weaken in November

Home sales last month were down 5.2 percent year-over-year in 53 of the country's biggest markets, RE/MAX said this week in its latest National Housing Report. The drop, which the company said is normal for this time of the year, followed gains of 0.9 percent in September and 2.6 percent in October—the only two months so far this year to have seen year-over-year improvements.

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Home Investors Lean Toward Renting Over Flipping

Out of all the investors surveyed by Auction.com in November, 50.5 percent said they're going to rent out their properties, while 46.6 percent plan to flip them to another buyer. The preference toward renting was more evident among one-time purchasers, 72.2 percent of whom said they plan to rent out the auctioned home.

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U.S. Negative Equity Rate Drops to 16.9%

In a report released this week, property data company Zillow estimated that 8.7 million homeowners living in the nation's top housing markets were underwater on their mortgage as of the end of the third quarter, putting the country's negative equity rate at 16.9 percent. The U.S. underwater rate peaked at 31.4 percent in 2012's first quarter.

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Refinances Gain Market Share in November

Out of a sample of closed loans drawn from Ellie Mae's origination platform last month, 45 percent were refinances, the company reported Wednesday. November's refinance share marked a 5 percentage point increase from October and was the same as a year ago. "Winter is normally a slow time for housing sales, yet the increase in refinancing volume is protecting many lenders from the cold," said Jonathan Corr, president and COO of Ellie Mae.

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Home Prices Down Again in October

Home prices nationally fell slightly in October, marking the second consecutive month of declines after a long period of growth, according to the latest FNC Residential Price Index. Overall prices in the 100 largest U.S. metro areas were down 0.1 percent between September and October, and the annual rate of appreciation nationwide was down to 5.7 percent in October, the report stated.

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Survey: Credit Loosening Everywhere Except Mortgages

According to the OCC survey, 92 percent of surveyed banks originated residential real estate loans in 2014, and a full 20 percent reported tightening their standards regarding who can attain these loans. Seventy percent reported no changes in their standards, leaving a comparatively slight 10 percent of institutions claiming they eased their standards for residential mortgages.

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