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Fed: Real Estate Markets Show Widespread Weakness

Fed

The Federal Reserve released a report on Wednesday that suggests a "steady pace" of economic growth throughout most of the country, with intermittent spots of economic activity slowing in four of its 12 regional districts, namely Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, and Chicago. The central bank's regularly published Beige Book indicated that construction and real estate markets continued to show widespread weakness. No district seemed to see an increase in home prices.

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Mortgage Applications Down Nationwide

application

Mortgage loan applications fell by 0.4 percent nationwide over the last week, spreading unease among lenders concerned about the potential for a dip in the housing market, according to a study released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) on Wednesday. The decline in loan applications coincides with the lowest rates for mortgages in the last six months and the fewest applications for home purchases in nearly 15 years. Market analysts say people are "nervous," which can preclude signing on the bottom line to buy a home.

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Zillow Releases New Mobile App

Homebuyers can now review the latest mortgage loan quotes right from their phone for loan shopping on the go. On Tuesday, Zillow released a statement publicizing the launch of its newest innovation: a mobile app that allows iPhone users to navigate the mortgage market and receive the latest custom quotes from lenders and mortgage bankers, with tools to determine the amount of their monthly payments and decide whether refinancing packages would make sense for their homes.

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Mortgage Bankers Praise Risk Retention Comment Extension

The nation's largest association for mortgage bankers has issued a statement praising a last-minute extension of the comment deadline for Dodd-Frank's controversial risk-retention rule and its Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM), which opponents charge will make loans more expensive for homebuyers. The Mortgage Bankers Association says the rule will have a "profound long-term effect" on the mortgage financing industry, which is good reason to give stakeholders more time to understand its full scope.

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Caliber Funding Appoints New CEO

Caliber Funding, LLC, a wholesale and retail mortgage lender, announced Monday that it would appoint Brian Simon its chief executive officer. Caliber Funding has an excellent strategic position within the mortgage lending industry, and I am very excited to join the company, Simon said in the release.

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Indiana Governor Takes Action Protecting Homeowners

Indiana governor Mitch Daniels is looking to protect Indiana homeowners. Governor Daniels is signing HB 1541 to restrict private transfer fees or Wall Street Home Resale Fees. The new law, sponsored by Indiana State Representative Mike Speedy, places a ban on these fees, which could take away from one├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós home equity, lower home resale values and provide more obstacles to the home buying process.

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ICON Believes in Regional Talent

Icon Residential Lenders recently bolstered the company's West Coast sales team with two notable promotions from within the organization and a new hire joining Icon from 360 Mortgage Group. Rhett Hubbard was promoted to area sales manager for Orange and San Diego counties, and Justin Smith will also take on an upgraded role as area sales manager for Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties. New to Icon, Debbie Hood has been appointed as the area sales manager for the Pacific Northwest.

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Mortgage Application Rates Lowest In Months

The weekly data report tracking mortgage applications nationally showed a 0.7 percent drop in volume from last week's numbers, based on a seasonally adjusted composite index. On an unadjusted basis, the index decreased 0.5 percent, compared to the prior week ending March 11. The refinance index had increased by 0.9 percent since last week, making it the highest refinance survey since December 2010.

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