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Property Fraud Risk on the Rise in Q1

Interthinx reported a 1 percent decline in its national Mortgage Fraud Risk Index from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014, bringing the index's value down to 100. Three of the component indices—measuring identity fraud, occupancy fraud, and employment and income fraud—came down over the quarter. The remaining component, property valuation fraud, surged up 27 percent to an index value of 128.

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Mortgage Apps Down 0.1% in June

Macroeconomic research company Capital Economics calculated a 0.1 percent decline in total loan application volumes throughout June following a 1.8 percent uptick in May. The company's figures are based on weekly reports put out by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). So far this year, applications have risen in three months and fallen in the other three.

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Millennial Growth Favoring Suburbia, Smaller Cities

An examination of data from the U.S. Census shows millennials are gravitating more toward suburbs and smaller cities. Conversely, baby boomers are becoming more urban, according to Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia, who noted that the fastest growing boomer areas also tend to have relatively young populations.

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Fannie’s Book Shrinks for Sixth Straight Month

Fannie Mae's book of business shrank for the sixth straight month in May as the enterprise's mortgage portfolio continued its decline. In its monthly volume summary, Fannie revealed its total book of business contracted at a compound rate of 2.4 percent in May, slightly slower than April's negative growth rate of 2.7 percent. Year-to-date, the book has seen an average annualized negative growth rate of 2.3 percent.

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FHFA Watchdog Voices Concerns over Non-Bank Servicers

As scrutiny continues to grow in the servicing arena, the watchdog for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) says it has concerns about non-bank servicers working with GSE loans. Out of the 30 largest servicers, FHFA OIG says that non-banks held a 17 percent share of mortgage market as of the end of 2013, representing nearly $1.7 trillion. As a result, the report says these non-bank companies may have taken on more volume than they can handle.

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Construction Spending Up 0.1% in May

Construction spending edged up 0.1 percent from April to May, though private homebuilding outlays came down slightly. The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that construction spending during May was at an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of $956.1 billion, just up from April's revised estimate of $955.1 billion and 6.6 percent higher than the May 2013 estimate of $896.6 billion.

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Home Prices Pick Up Another 8.8% in May

Property analytics firm CoreLogic reported an 8.8 percent year-over-year increase in its May Home Price Index (HPI), marking 27 straight months of annual improvement. Taking out distressed sales, the HPI was up 8.1 percent year-on-year. May's figure represents another slowdown in the annual rate of home price gains, which are now down almost 3 percentage points compared to only a few months ago.

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U.S. Bank Agrees to Pay $200M in DoJ Settlement

The Justice Department announced that U.S. Bank has agreed to a $200 million settlement on claims it underwrote FHA-insured loans that did not meet eligibility requirements. U.S. Bank also admitted that its quality control program fell short of FHA requirements. Consequently, the bank failed to identify shortcomings in many of the loans it had certified for FHA insurance.

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