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Daily Dose

All-Cash Sales Share Falls Back from Three-Year High

The second quarter of 2014 saw fewer all-cash home sales than the first quarter as institutional investors backed off from the market. In a quarterly report released Tuesday, RealtyTrac reported all-cash transactions made up 37.9 percent of all single-family home and condo sales in April, May, and June, down from the first quarter's three-year high of 42.0 percent but up from 35.7 percent in the year-ago quarter.

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Fannie Forecast Sees Weaker Growth in Housing

A second-quarter rebound combined with an upward revision for economic activity in the first quarter has given a boost to Fannie Mae's 2014 economic forecast. On the housing side, however, the company is less optimistic, downgrading its outlook "following the disappointing housing activity seen during the first half of the year," said Chief Economist Doug Duncan.

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Fannie, Freddie Investors File Another Suit Against U.S.

Investors have filed another lawsuit against the U.S. government, alleging that common stockholders in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been shortchanged. Three individual common shareholders along with Pershing Square Capital Management alleged in their complaint that the diverting of GSE profits into Treasury equates to taking private property for public use without "just compensation," a practice forbidden by the Fifth Amendment.

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Builder Confidence Improves for Third Month

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported on Monday a two-point increase in its Housing Market Index, a gauge of builder sentiment measuring current single-family new home sales, expected sales six months out, and volume of traffic from prospective homebuyers. As of August, the index measured 55, five points above the benchmark separating a market largely viewed as poor from one viewed as good.

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Consumer Sentiment Disappoints in Preliminary Reading

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment came in at 79.2 in the preliminary August reading, down from a final reading of 81.8 in July and several points below the consensus forecast of 82.3. It was the lowest reading since last November, when the country was still shaking off the effects of October's government shutdown.

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July Home Sales Stall

Home sales for July decreased slightly from the previous month after increasing for four months in a row, according to the July 2014 RE/MAX National Housing Report released on August 14. Meanwhile, home prices fell marginally month-over-month but increased year-over-year.

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Housing Affordability Takes a Hit, Still Looks Favorable

Housing affordability took a hit in the second quarter but remains historically high, according to the Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo. However, the decline in affordability is nothing to worry about, according to NAHB.

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Groups Offer Guidance on Proposed G-Fee Hike

As the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) mulls over a proposed increase in guarantee fees, a new report from the Urban Institute (UI) suggests the agency faces a more difficult task than one might assume. In a commentary released Thursday, UI authors Laurie Goodman, Ellie Seidman, Jim Parrott, and Jun Zhu say that, based on their modeling, g-fee determination "is an art, not a science—and more like a Jackson Pollock than a da Vinci."

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Early Indicators Suggest Uptick in New Home Sales

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) estimates purchase applications for new homes nudged up 2 percent compared to June. The increase does not account for any typical seasonal patterns. Factoring in seasonal adjustments, MBA says July single-family new home sales ran at an annual rate of 433,000 homes, up from 386,000 in June, representing a 12.2 percent rise.

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Fixed Mortgage Rates Sink Slightly

The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) dropped to a year-low 4.12 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending August 14, according to Freddie Mac, down from 4.14 percent from the week ending August 7 and from 4.40 percent from the same week in 2013.

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