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New Home Purchase Applications Up 15%

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released Tuesday its Builder Application Survey for last month, with data showing a 15 percent month-over-month increase in new home purchase applications. Using application from the survey and other market assumptions, MBA estimates sales of new single-family homes in March ran at an adjusted annualized rate of 479,000 units, a decrease of 10.1 percent from February’s anticipated pace of 533,000.

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Price Gains Continue to Build Up Steam

FNC, Inc.’s Residential Price Index (RPI) once again picked up its clip in February, rising at the highest annual rate in nearly eight years, the company reported. The national index, created to gauge price movement among “normal” home sales (exclusive of distressed properties), climbed 9.1 percent year-over-year in February, bringing it back to levels last seen at the peak of the housing market in June 2006 as non-distressed sales gain market share.

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As Markets Come to Boil, Analysts Dispel Bubble Fears

Pro Teck released its March Home Value Forecast, which ranks the hottest metro markets in the country. California claimed nine of the top 10 slots, while Florida claimed seven of the bottom 10 areas for home value appreciation. Though California has shown impressive gains in valuation recently—a trait that often makes California the subject of “new bubble” talk—Pro Teck CEO Tom O’Grady said he does not foresee trouble over the next five years.

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Agencies Advise Banks on Cyber-Security

In the wake of a cyber-attack on Ellie Mae and the discovery of the Heartbleed bug, FDIC put out a release advising financial institutions on resources to stay up to date on security threats. FDIC urges financial institutions to "ensure that their Information Security staff are aware of and subscribe to reliable and recognized resources that can help quickly identify cyber risks as they emerge."

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Wells, JPMorgan Show Bruises in Q1 Mortgage Results

Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase experienced very different first quarters, as evidenced by results in their quarterly earnings reports released Friday. Wells Fargo reported a record net income of $5.9 billion for the first quarter, an increase of 14 percent from the year-ago quarter and 5 percent from Q4 2013. Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase reported profits of $5.3 billion for the quarter compared to $6.5 billion a year ago.

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Asking Prices Up 10.0% Year-on-Year; Urban Areas Lead

Trulia found that month-to-month asking prices nationally in urban markets rose 1.2 percent in March. Quarter-to-quarter, prices rose 2.9 percent in March, reflecting three straight months of solid month-over-month gains. Both calculations were seasonally adjusted. More encouraging is that asking prices are up a full 10 percent since last year, rising in 97 of the 100 largest metros.

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OCC Counsel Addresses Regulatory Complaints from Community Banks

In a testimony given in front of the House Financial Services Committee this week, OCC chief counsel Amy Friend addressed frustrations stemming from regulatory burdens on community banks banks. Friend's testimony offered a conciliatory nod to the plight of smaller banks while noting particular ways the OCC addresses smaller bank's particular grievances with the Dodd-Frank Act.

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Spring Brings Renewed Demand for Homes

According to Redfin’s latest Real-Time Demand Pulse—a monthly analysis of tour and offer activity across 23 U.S. markets—homebuyer demand bounced back in March, showing promise after months of little activity. While the pickup in buyer interest bodes well for the spring and summer seasons, Redfin analyst Ellen Haberle noted March's data should be taken with a grain of salt.

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Credit Access Opens Up for Jumbo Loans

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) increased 0.44 percent last month to 114.0, the group reported Tuesday, indicating a loosening of credit. “Consistent with past months, many lenders and investors are providing borrowers seeking higher loan amounts with a broader range of financing options by introducing new jumbo loan programs,” explained MBA chief economist Mike Fratantoni.

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One-Third of Bankers to Only Lend Within QM

The American Bankers Association (ABA) released the results of its latest annual Real Estate Lending Survey. According to the ABA, more than 80 percent of bankers surveyed believe that tightened Dodd-Frank rules will restrict credit, thereby narrowing the pool of candidates able to secure mortgages. More than a third of bankers surveyed said they would only offer qualified mortgages.

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