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Home Sales Finding Positive Trend Again

The latest National Housing Report from RE/MAX found that for the third month in a row, home sales in May rose higher than sales in the previous month. "We've now seen three straight months of increased sales over the previous month—although we may not match the growth rates we saw last year, we are seeing significant increases in both sales and prices and that's a positive sign," said Margaret Kelly, RE/MAX CEO.

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Loan Closing Share, Credit Profiles Tick Up in May

Drawing from a sampling of mortgage applications from its network, Ellie Mae calculated an overall loan closing rate of 57.8 percent, a bounce up from 55 percent in April. The figure represents applications initiated 90 days prior "[t]o get a meaningful view of lender pull-through," the company said. Of those closed loans, two-thirds were for home purchases, the highest share on record.

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House Committee Turns Up Heat on Cordray

A week after appearing before the Senate Banking Committee, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray traveled back up the hill again on Wednesday to review the bureau's semi-annual report and take questions from the House Financial Services Committee. At the hearing, committee members asked Cordray to address a number of issues surrounding the embattled agency.

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Fed Stays on Track with Bond Purchases

The FOMC concluded its June meeting with the announcement that members have once again voted to bring down the Federal Reserve's stimulative monthly asset purchases. Taking a cue from improvements in labor market indicators, household spending, and general economic activity, the committee members voted to reduce the Fed's monthly purchase of agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to a combined $35 billion per month.

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Castro Tackles Hearing for HUD Nomination

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, the president's pick to replace Shaun Donovan as secretary of HUD, appeared to breeze through his first nomination challenge Tuesday as he fielded questions from the Senate Banking Committee. Facing questions from the group of senators, Castro addressed the current stability and role of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which had to take a $1.7 billion bailout last year for the first time in its history.

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Single-Family Starts Decline in May; Permits Pick Up

According to figures released by the Census Bureau and HUD, privately owned housing starts last month were at an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of just more than 1 million, down 6.5 percent from April's slightly revised estimate of 1.07 million. The government's report presented mixed news on the single-family front: While starts were down nearly 6 percent to a rate of 625,000, April construction was stronger than originally reported.

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Home Prices Up 0.6% in April; Annual Gains Keep Moderating

The latest Residential Price Index (RPI) report from FNC, Inc., shows home price appreciation continued in April at a monthly pace of 0.6 percent nationally, matching March's month-over-month increase. Though monthly increases picked up momentum in April, yearly returns continued to moderate for the second straight month—"a sign that the annual rate of home price appreciation has peaked," FNC said.

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Builder Sentiment Picks Up to Five-Month High

The National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI), released Monday in collaboration with Wells Fargo, registered 49 this month, up from 45 in May. A value below 50 indicates more builders view market conditions as "poor" rather than "good." Despite falling one point short of the benchmark, the moderate uptick in sentiment "is a welcome sign and shows some renewed confidence in the industry," said NAHB chairman Kevin Kelly.

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May Home Sales Fail to Match Rise in Inventory

A report published by Redfin's Research Center indicated that home inventory was up 9.1 percent in May. That number represents the highest number of new listings to come onto the market in the last four years. At the same time, the actual number of homes sold dropped 10 percent. The drop in actual sales surprised analysts, who had been predicting a flood of new home purchases once inventory was in greater supply.

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Purchase Apps Point to Drop in May New Home Sales

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported Friday that applications for new home purchases fell 8 percent from April to May, indicating a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 374,000 units. If the numbers play out that way, it will be the lowest pace of sales since July 2013. On an unadjusted basis, the association estimates there were 36,000 new home sales last month, a 14.3 percent decline from April.

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