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Freddie Curbs Expectations in Mid-Year Assessment

Despite a disappointing first quarter and a mediocre second quarter, Freddie Mac still expects the economy to improve throughout the second half of 2014. The company is, however, tempering its New Year's optimism. In its June U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook, released Thursday, Freddie offers a mid-year assessment that sees more humble growth across most sectors.

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Mortgage Rates Hover Following Fed Announcement

A year ago, interest rates were on their way up on speculation that the Fed may soon start tapering its bond stimulus. Now that the central bank is on track to potentially end its stimulus purchases by the end of the year, rates have actually shown little movement, defying expectations. While the first quarter's economic contraction is partly responsible for rates staying put, analysts at Bankrate.com say developments overseas are also having an effect.

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$1B Fannie Mae Portfolio Hits Market

As the second quarter comes to a close, a new $1 billion Fannie Mae bulk residential mortgage servicing rights (MSR) portfolio has hit the market. The announcement of the sale was made by Interactive Mortgage Advisors (IMA), which is acting as exclusive broker. The company describes the offering as "an excellent opportunity to focus and bid on newly originated MSRs with below market interest rates."

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Weak Year Continues for California

California home sales and prices were both on the rise in May, but the year as a whole still looks pretty grim for the Golden State. Compared to April, May home sales statewide increased 3.5 percent, according to real estate site PropertyRadar.com. Year-to-date, however, PropertyRadar reports sales are the lowest they've been since the start of the recession.

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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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Mortgage Apps Sink 9.2% in Latest Week

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported a seasonally adjusted 9.2 percent decline in its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 13. On an unadjusted basis, the group's application index was down 10 percent over the week. The drop reverses an adjusted 10.3 percent increase reported the week prior and accompanies a slight rise in average 30-year fixed rates to 4.36 percent.

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SunTrust, Feds Reach $968M Mortgage Settlement

SunTrust Banks announced it has struck a nearly $1 billion deal with the government to settle allegations of misconduct in its lending and servicing practices. In an agreement reached with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Justice Department, HUD, and attorneys general in 49 states and the District of Columbia, SunTrust agreed to provide relief to consumers and payments to the government totaling a combined value of $968 million.

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