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Daily Dose

Report: Progress Remains Slow but Steady for RMBS Sector

In its latest look at the RMBS segment, Fitch says that while the market still has some rebuilding left to do, it "has seen some rather substantial improvements of late," owing in large part to improved loan underwriting standards in recent years. According to the company, the performance of recent vintage mortgage loans is the best on record so far.

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November Brings Chill to Home Price Growth

In its November Home Price Index (HPI) report, property data firm CoreLogic recorded a 0.1 percent month-over-month increase in U.S. home prices for November. The minor gain, which includes data from distressed home sales, follows a 0.5 percent increase originally reported for October.

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Supreme Court Prepares to Hear Disparate Impact Arguments

The case scheduled to be heard later this month centers on claims that the Texas state housing department's fixed criteria for approving tax credits for low-income housing developers resulted in the approval of such credits for a larger percentage of developers in areas more heavily populated by minorities than in areas more populated by whites.

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Report: RBS May Pay More in FHFA Settlement

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) may have to pay additional penalties to settle claims that it sold faulty U.S. mortgage-backed securities in the years leading up to the housing market crash, according to a report from Reuters.

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Construction Spending Falls in November

Total construction spending for November fell 0.3 percent from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $975 billion, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Economists polled by Econoday predicted a 0.5 percent pickup.

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What Will 2015 Bring for Mortgage Rates?

With the Federal Reserve recently ending its monthly asset purchases and turning toward the possibility of bringing short-term interest rates up in 2015, analysts (including economists at Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and other housing groups and companies) are calling for the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate to rise to nearly 4.5 percent, with some calling for an average closer to 5 percent.

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Pending Home Sales Inch Up in November Measure

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported a 0.8 percent month-over-month increase in its Pending Home Sales Index to a reading of 104.8 in November. With the most recent increase, the index has now posted annual gains for three straight months, lining up with recent improvements in existing-home sales activity.

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New Acquisitions Drive Up Business at Fannie

The balance of Fannie Mae's gross mortgage portfolio dropped from $436 billion in October down to $424 billion in November, marking the 52nd time in the last 53 months Fannie Mae's portfolio declined month-over-month. With the exception of December 2012, when the portfolio grew in value at a compound annualized rate of 1 percent, the value of the portfolio has declined every month since June 2010.

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New York Lender Settles Over Mortgage Fraud Suit

The Great Neck, New York-based Golden First agreed to pay $36 million to settle a complaint originally filed by the United States in April 2013 and amended in August 2013. In the complaint, the government accuses Golden First of violating the False Claims Act through years of misconduct relating to the mortgage company's participation in the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)'s Direct Endorsement Lender Program.

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