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Flagging Numbers Show Faltering Market in San Diego

In California, one city is on the decline, with San Diego reporting an 8 percent drop in home sales year-over-year for the month of October. The survey from The Berkland Group notes that the shrinking housing numbers in the city didn't discriminate, affecting all price ranges, but having the greatest impact on the upper end of the real estate market among homes priced between $500,000 and $900,000.

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Home Sales Expected to Lift in 2012: NAR

Today├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós record-low mortgage rates and southerly home sales will post gains into next year, according to the economist with one trade group. Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors, predicted at the 2011 Realtors Conference and Expo that home sales and existing-home sales would rise, along with mortgage rates. He said that GDP would climb from a 1.8-percent slump to 2.2 percent over next year, as job growth marches toward 2.2 million and the unemployment rate falls to 8.7 percent.

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FHA May Soon Need $50B in Bailout Funds: Study

The GSEs remain a mainstay in debates over the role of the government in housing, but some now say the Federal Housing Administration may take a turn as the next agency in need of bailout funds. A new study by Joseph Gyourko, a University of Pennsylvania real estate and finance professor, highlights future peril for the agency, predicting that it may need as much as $50 billion in federal funds over the next several years just to stay solvent. Some analysts say the real threat is not from a bailout but from sapped liquidity and credit for homeowners.

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Newest Bank Failure Raises Georgia, National Tallies

The 2011 national tally for bank failures crested at 88 with the closure of a financial institution in Georgia Thursday. The Community Bank of Rockmart added to the state's litany of bank failures by shuttering with $62.4 million in total assets and $55.9 million in total deposits. State regulators closed the bank and appointed the FDIC as receiver. The FDIC swooped in to cover the $14.5 million-bill left behind by the bank failure. The failure in Rockmart boosts both the national and state tallies, with the latter climbing to 23, keeping Georgia the leader in 2011 closures.

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Ocwen Set to Buy $15 Billion in MSRs from JPMorgan

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has a buyer for $15 billion in mortgage servicing rights from the financial institution, with the announcement that Ocwen Financial Corp. would purchase the bank's MSRs for a rumored $950 million. Ocwen's acquisition follows the company's decision to raise $375 million in new equity through offering 25 million shares of public common stock.

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Ellie Mae Promotes Corr to COO

Ellie Mae has appointed a new chief operating officer, with the announcement that Jonathan Corr will be taking over the executive role. Corr has previously been responsible for the company's corporate and product strategy in his position as Ellie Mae├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós executive vice president and chief strategy officer.

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Lawmaker Wants Dodd-Frank Financial, Regulatory Analyses

As pressure builds to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, one lawmaker pushed back by formally requesting an analysis of the rulemaking effort and financial consequences under the financial legislative overhaul. Sen. Tim Johnson wrote two letters to public officials Thursday to make the request, with clear intentions to secure a formal, objective analysis that lends credibility to the financial law and overall rulemaking process. Included agencies in the requested analyses: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Housing Finance agency.

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Senator Proposes Bill to Wean GSEs Off Federal Funds

Fielding more pressure for housing finance reform, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) introduced a bill Wednesday that aims to decouple government assistance from the GSEs and shore up private-sector involvement in mortgage markets. The bill, titled the Residential Mortgage Market and Privatization Act, proposes gradually reducing the percentage of principal in the GSEs├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó mortgage-backed securities, streamlining underwriting standards and origination databases, and removing federal guarantees to create a much-discussed to-be-announced market.

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Mortgage Rates Fall Below 4% for Second Time: Freddie

Ongoing trouble in Europe meshed with low home prices to keep a heel on mortgage rates this week, with Freddie Mac offering up news that interest rates for loans fell below 4 percent for the second time this year. The GSE released a weekly survey alongside finance Web site Bankrate.com, which disagreed by reporting that mortgage rates climbed this week. For Freddie, rates for the benchmark 30-year loan fell to 3.99 percent, down one percentage point from last week. Bankrate.com said that the fixed-rate mortgage went up to 4.25 percent.

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HBI Names New President and CEO

The Home Builders Institute has named a new president and CEO, with the announcement that John A. Courson will take over leadership of the non-profit organization. Capitalizing on his extensive industry experience, HBI will utilize Courson to target new revenue opportunities and program development.

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