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OIG: CFPB’s Supervisory Activities Need Improvement

An audit of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) operational efficiency found the agency is lacking when it comes to the execution of its supervisory activities. In a report, the Office of the Inspector General for the Federal Reserve System says CFPB could improve in three areas: reporting timelines, standard compliance rating definitions, and examination reporting policies.

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Analysts: Despite Challenges, Housing Still Attractive

In an analysis gauging the recovery’s progress, Fitch Ratings listed harsh winter weather across the country as one of the biggest factors moderating the housing recovery, though higher interest rates and home prices have also provided some drag. Affordability will likely only deteriorate. Looking at 2014, Fitch expects new home prices to rise between 2.5–3.5 percent, with existing-home prices also moving up.

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Coalition Launches to Protect Fannie, Freddie Shareholders

A new group has launched on the side of shareholders in the ongoing debate for the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Calling itself the “Coalition for Mortgage Security,” the group describes itself as a bipartisan, grassroots organization with the goal of reforming housing finance “in a way that benefits and fairly treats current and future homeowners, taxpayers, and investors across the country.”

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National Recovery Measure Rises to 88%

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) delivered some good news Monday in that 59 of the 350 metro markets have returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity. In the NAHB/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI), the national average is running at 88 percent, with 11 metros gained year-over-year.

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Americans’ Feelings Mixed on Present, Future of Housing

Fannie Mae released Monday its most recent National Housing Survey, revealing a slight softening in the housing recovery as monthly indicators remain volatile. “The housing recovery continues to proceed in fits and starts,” said Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Rising mortgage rates and a lack of supply have dampened housing market momentum.”

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Report: Credit Standards Show ‘Little Sign of Easing’

Black Knight Financial Service’s Mortgage Monitor Report shows the effective loan modification efforts have shown far fewer defaults, which helps those underwater already in homes. However, those looking to get a home that have had some trouble in the past may hit a brick wall as only 30 percent of loans last year went to borrowers with credit scores below 720, which isn’t even close to the subprime score of 620.

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41% of Homes Unaffordable on Two Median Incomes

In the nation’s largest cities, a median income is not sufficient to purchase a median-priced home. In fact, even households with two median incomes cannot afford median-priced homes in the 40 largest cities in the United States, according to a Redfin survey released last week. Redfin’s findings concur with data from Zillow revealing median-income earners in Southern California cannot afford more than half of homes for sale in their market.

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Vacation Home Sales Pick Up; Investor Interest Wanes

Vacation home sales rose in 2013 as investment purchases retreated from levels observed in previous years, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun commented that as market conditions return to normal, investors must now evaluate their purchases more carefully—and judiciously.

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