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Daily Dose

CFPB, Critics React to GAO Report on Data Collection

Rep. Jeb Hensarling earlier this week pounced on a GAO report criticizing CFPB's data collection practices, accusing the bureau of "trying to out-NSA the NSA when it comes to accumulating information on Americans." The report came as a result of legislation passed by Congress in January that required GAO to look into CFPB's data collection methods following CFPB's refusal to disclose information about its program to Congress, according to Hensarling.

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As August Inventory Sinks, Demand Remains Strong

Examining August activity in more than 30 markets nationwide, Redfin reported a 1.4 percent month-over-month dip in home sale prices to a median $281,000, reflecting a gain of just 5.1 percent over last year. More interesting, Redfin said, was the shift in supply and demand dynamics: Even as new listings plunged 9.3 percent—nearly triple the average July-to-August decline—numbers of customers touring homes and making offers rose, demonstrating buyers aren't backing off.

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Americans More Secure Financially; Expect Further Home Price Growth

As government data points to depreciating home prices in certain areas of the country, a new survey released this week shows more than half of Americans still expect prices to increase over the next 12 months. "Housing, like the stock market, is something consumers look to as an indicator for whether things are headed in the right direction," said Greg McBride, CFA, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.

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New Home Sales Surge to Six-Year High

The Commerce Department reported new home sales in August were up 18 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000. Compared to August 2013, estimated sales were up 33 percent. Economists projected a consensus sales pace of 430,000, which would have been a slight increase over July's upwardly revised figure of 427,000. Forecasts ranged from a low of 407,000 to a high of 465,000—still nearly 40,000 short of the government's estimate.

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Mortgage Applications Fall in Mid-September Index

After rising on the back of a double-digit jump in refinances, mortgage applications experienced another dive last week, according to figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). For the week ending September 19, the group reported a seasonally adjusted 4.1 percent decline in overall loan application volumes, a step backward after the previous week's 7.9 percent recovery.

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HMDA Data Shows Decline in Low-Income Lending

According to information released Monday by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), the share of home purchase loans made to low- and moderate-income applicants declined to 26 percent in 2013 from 31 percent the year prior. The share of refinance loans going to those borrowers came up just slightly, rising to 20 percent from 19 percent in 2012.

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Ginnie Mae Announces Initiatives to Address Mortgage Challenges

Representatives from HUD and Ginnie Mae convened at the second annual Ginnie Mae Summit Monday to discuss initiatives and programs designed to create a healthy housing market. The company's plans indicate it is changing its policies and procedures as part of an ongoing effort to adapt to changes in the housing industry, preserve the integrity of its mortgage-backed securities (MBS) program, reduce risk, and better manage resources.

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FHFA Price Index Up 0.1% in July

The Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) monthly House Price Index picked up 0.1 percent from June to July, coming down after a revised 0.3 percent increase in June. For the 12 months ending in July, FHFA reported house prices were up 4.4 percent. As of the latest index, the national HPI is now 6.4 percent below its peak in April 2007 and is roughly in line with its July 2005 level.

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Fannie Maintains Lukewarm Housing Forecast

An upward revision in GDP growth for the second quarter bolstered optimism at Fannie Mae for the rest of the year's economic track. The mortgage giant's Economic and Strategic Research Group put out its newest outlook on Tuesday, calling for accelerated growth following the most recent news of 4.2 percent annualized GDP growth in the year's second quarter. On the other hand, the housing market is still struggling to find any real traction.

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Millennial Optimism Boosts U.S. Housing Confidence

American consumers' enthusiasm for the housing market rose over the summer from the year's start, but expectations for future market performance have become more subdued, according to survey results released by Zillow. Among the thousands of Americans surveyed, confidence is higher among renters as purchase conditions continue to look favorable and rent prices climb.

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