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One-Third of For-Sale Homes Considered ‘Unaffordable’

Recovery in the housing market is not without its side effects, particularly in major metro markets on the West Coast and in Florida. A look into 35 major markets by Zillow reveals that buyers making the median income in Southern California, the Bay Area, Portland (Oregon), Denver, and Miami face markets where more than half the available homes are beyond their price range—which could mean the beginning of a new housing bubble.

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Report: Ellie Mae Attacks Show Industry Insight

In an interview with National Mortgage News, Ellie Mae president and COO Jonathan Corr revealed the company's suspicions that a recent cyber attack carried out on its servers may have been launched by people with knowledge of the industry. Ellie Mae has hired Stroz Friedberg, a cyber-security and digital forensics firm, to look into the attack as well as any possible data or security breaches.

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Realtors Urge FHA to Change Rules on Premiums

In a letter addressed Tuesday to FHA commissioner Carol Galante, National Association of Realtors (NAR) president Steve Brown says the administration’s decision to increase annual mortgage insurance premiums and to require mortgage insurance over a loan’s entire life are putting home purchases “increasingly out of reach for many qualified borrowers who rely on FHA financing.”

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Mortgage Fraud Risk on the Rise

Interthinx, a subsidiary of First American Financial Corporation, annually studies loan applications processed by its FraudGUARD system to determine the riskiest places in the country for mortgage fraud. What it found from its study of applications in 2013 was that fraud risk nationally rose by 4 index points to a total of 104. This continues the rising trend in fraud risk observed over the past three years as inventories shrink, prices rise, and markets stabilize.

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Mortgage Rates Little Changed in Light News Week

Freddie Mac released Thursday the results of its latest weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, showing the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) coming up to 4.41 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending April 3—a minor increase from 4.40 percent last week. “Mortgage rates were little changed amid a week of light economic reports,” said Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac.

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Forecast Calls for Economic Thaw

However, according to an economic forecast report released Wednesday by UCLA Anderson, analysts expect the national GDP to growth by roughly 3 percent now that warmer and wetter spring weather is on the way. Moreover, as the GDP rises, increased housing and business investments and consumer spending should keep that growth rate steady through 2016.

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Is the All-Cash Trend Moderating?

ZipRealty released an analysis of its transactions from January 2012 through December 2013, concluding that nearly one of every four closed without financing. While still high, that share is an improvement from only a few years ago, says Lanny Baker, president and CEO of ZipRealty. “Nationwide, the percentage of all-cash real estate transactions reached a five-year high in 2010 at 27 percent,” Baker said.

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$1.1B in Servicing Rights Up for Bid

MountainView Servicing Group announced it is advising the sale of another two mortgage servicing rights (MSR) portfolios, these ones possessing a combined unpaid principal balance of $1.1 billion. The first portfolio, which goes up for bid April 3, is $923 million of Freddie Mac servicing. The second offering unveiled this week is a $205 million Fannie Mae portfolio bidding on April 4.

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Purchase Volumes Fail to Lift March Mortgage Applications

Compiling weekly survey results from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), macroeconomic research firm Capital Economics calculated a 2.9 percent drop in total application volume in March following a meek 0.1 percent increase in February. On the home purchase side, applications came up an estimated 2.7 percent over March (1 percent in the final week) but remained down 16.8 percent year-over-year.

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Originators Outline Struggles in Changing Market

According to results in Hammerhouse’s 4th Annual Survey of Originator Opinions, 44 percent of originators polled said the biggest challenge for the industry in 2014 will be "adding new relationships to support a purchase focused business" with purchase volumes still too weak to support the market. Given these obstacles and the continuing decline in mortgage volumes, 69 percent of originators expect overall volume to drop in 2014.

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