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Mortgage Applications Down for Fourth Straight Month

Compared to August, loan application volumes were down 1 percent in September, macroeconomic research firm Capital Economics reported Wednesday. The decline came even as mortgage rates hovered at an average 4.32 percent for 30-year fixed-rate loans, slightly above August's average and within the 10-basis-point range interest rates have occupied since May.

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U.S. Home Prices Stall in July

Including seasonal factors, the S&P/Case-Shiller 10- and 20-city indices both posted a 0.5 percent decline from June to July, S&P Dow Jones Indices reported. Those losses compare to declines of 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, from May to June. The National Index, recently added as a monthly (rather than quarterly) measure, inched up a meager 0.2 percent, a step up from its 0.1 percent drop in June.

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Mortgage Loan Risk Flat in August

AEI's National Mortgage Risk Index measured 11.3 percent last month, little changed from July's index, the group said. As a stress test, the index measures the percentage of loans that would be at risk of turning sour in the event of an economic downturn. Though the index has come down in recent months, it remains nearly twice the acceptable level "conducive to a stable market," AEI said.

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Housing Market Stability Slips in July

Freddie Mac's Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) fell back nearly half a percentage point to 73.4 in its latest reading, the company reported earlier this week. According to the company, the decline "appear[ed] to be broad-based, and not concentrated in a handful of state or metro markets." As of the latest reading, Freddie Mac says the index is up 22.7 percent from its all-time low in 2011.

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Report: Low Appraisals Not at Fault for Slow Housing Recovery

As home values have made a rapid ascent in the past few years, those on the sales side point to lagging appraisal models as a major hurdle to finalizing transactions. In a newly released report, however, FNC maintains that despite anecdotal reports, "there is no strong evidence that low appraisal valuations contributed to mortgages falling through."

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August Home Sales Slow; Price Growth Mixed

Home sales in August retreated annually for the fourth straight month as home prices ticked up to a six-year high, RealtyTrac revealed Thursday in its latest sales report. According to the company's data, U.S. residential properties, including single-family homes, condos, and townhomes, sold at an estimated annual rate of 4.5 million last month, down half a percent from July and 16 percent from August 2013.

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