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Author Archives: Colin Robins

Colin Robins is the online editor for DSNews.com. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts from the University of Texas, Dallas. Additionally, he contributes to the MReport, DS News' sister site.

Consumer Confidence Dips in Sunshine State

Wells Fargo's April data suggests consumer sentiment slipped in Florida one point to 79 for the month, largely due to increased concerns about current economic conditions. The concern, both locally and nationally, outweighed a slight increase in confidence about future conditions for the economy as a whole. The Florida index largely reflected the nation's attitude, with the overall index dropping slightly to 82.3.

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Negative Equity Rate Down to One in 10

In its latest Mortgage Monitor Report, Black Knight Financial Services found one in 10 Americans are underwater on their home loans, down from one in three as recently as 2010. "Two years of relatively consecutive home price increases and a general decline in the number of distressed loans have contributed to a decreasing number of underwater borrowers," said Kostya Gradushy, Black Knight's manager of Loan Data and Customer Analytics.

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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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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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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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Market Speeds Up in March

Homes continue to fly off the market at a quick pace, according to March data released by Redfin. In March, across the 20 metros measured by Redfin, median days on the market fell by more than a week to 32 days, dropping from 40 days in February. Compared to last year's figure of 35, homes are selling three days faster on average. The company's analysis found that 29.8 percent of homes went under contract within two weeks of being listed.

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MCS Announces Plans to Expand Process Center

Mortgage Contracting Services' (MCS) CEO, Caroline Reaves, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced Tuesday the company will create 90 new jobs in Ruston, Louisiana, while doubling the size of its business process outsourcing center to more than 20,000 feet.

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February Home Prices See 7.6% Growth

Black Knight Financial Services released its Home Price Index (HPI), noting that home prices in the U.S. rose 0.7 percent for the month of February to an average of $233,000. Black Knight's report falls between last week's FHFA House Price Index and the S&P Case-Shiller index(slated for release Tuesday), offering a more well-rounded view of market trends for the spring and upcoming summer months.

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FHFA Reaches 13th Bank Settlement

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced last week the latest in a string of settlements with major banks over residential mortgage-backed securities sold to Fannie and Freddie before the economic meltdown. The most recent agreement, struck with Barclays Bank, calls for $280 million in payments to the GSEs.

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