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Daily Dose

Refinances Rise While Loan Approvals Fall

After declining for most of the year thus far, the share of refinance loans experienced a 3 percentage point boost in September, according to the latest Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae. At the same time, a lower percentage of loans made their way to closing in September compared with the month before, and the time it took to close those loans that did make their way through the approval process increased, according to Ellie Mae.

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Leading Indicators Point to Moderate Economic Expansion Ahead

The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index, a measure of economic developments as an indicator of future trends, increased 0.8 percent last month to 104.4 following a downwardly revised August reading that showed no change. Nine of the index's ten components contributed to the latest increase.

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New Home Sales Up After Major August Revision

The Commerce Department and HUD estimate that new home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 467,000 in September, according to a joint report from the agencies. September's sales rate marks a 0.2 percent increase over August's revised rate and a 17 percent jump above September 2013. New home sales in August, originally reported at an annual pace of 504,000, came down dramatically in the government's revised estimate.

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Fed, SEC Approve Finalized QRM Rule

The residential mortgage loan risk retention rule, known as the "qualified residential mortgage" (QRM) rule, was approved on Wednesday by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The agencies are the last of the six groups charged with putting together the finalized rule.

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FHFA Home Price Index Up 0.5% in August

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported Thursday that U.S. house prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent month-over-month in August. On a year-over-year basis, FHFA's price index was up 4.8 percent, putting it roughly in line with its August 2005 level and 5.8 percent below its peak in April 2007.

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Rate of Seriously Underwater Homes Drops in Q3

RealtyTrac reported that 8.1 million U.S. homeowners, representing 15 percent of all mortgages in the country, were seriously underwater on their mortgage in Q3, the lowest percentage of underwater mortgages nationwide since RealtyTrac began tracking the data in Q1 2012.

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Home Value Growth Continues to Slow in Q3

Real estate data firm Zillow reported a 6.5 percent year-over-year gain in its Home Value Index for September, bringing the index up to $176,500. Zillow's chief economist, Dr. Stan Humphries, said the latest report comes as a relief compared to last year, when the market was experiencing unsustainable price growth that went well into the double digits in some areas.

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HUD Secretary Details Agency’s Blueprint for Credit Access

HUD Secretary Julian Castro unveiled in a speech the points of the agency's "Blueprint for Access" meant to ease the risk of lending while expanding credit. "It's in our entire nation's interest to help more responsible Americans succeed in the housing market by expanding access to credit," Castro said.

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State Regulators Launch Mortgage Servicing Rights Task Force

In its announcement, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) said it established the task force as a response to the explosive growth of non-bank servicers like Ocwen Financial and Nationstar Mortgage, both of which have moved to snap up servicing rights from depository firms and climb the ranks of the nation's biggest outfits.

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