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Rising Costs Turn Per-Loan Profits into Losses

After a rough 2013—which saw average per-loan profits decline by nearly half year-over-year—mortgage banks are now losing money on each loan originated, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported Tuesday. According to the trade group, independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks reported a net loss of $194 on each loan originated in the first quarter of the year.

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Urban Institute Breaks Down GSE Denial Rates

A new blog post from the Urban Institute asserts recent numbers on loan denial rates for minorities weren't too high; rather, they may have been too low. Using HMDA data, the group examined the credit profiles of applicants, noting that the denial rate really only matters for weaker credit profile applicants—they are more likely to get denied.

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Economic Concerns Weigh on May Housing Confidence

Consumers' attitudes about housing diminished somewhat last month as economic worries weighed on their minds, according to new survey results from Fannie Mae. "While recent housing activity suggests that the worst of the housing slump may be behind us, this caution among consumers supports our expectation that the rebound in home sales will likely be too modest to pull sales for all of 2014 ahead of last year," Doug Duncan, chief economist.

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Forecasters Revise Expectations on Disappointing May Production

In a letter to clients, analysts at investment banking services firm FBR Capital Markets said they are lowering their 2014 origination outlook to $989 billion from an earlier forecast of nearly $1.1 trillion. "After an April where volumes had increased for the first time in a year, we had grown modestly more optimistic," the firm said. "Now, we believe May results could prove to be a leading indicator of what is shaping up to be the weakest ... year in recent memory."

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More than 300K Homes Back in Equity in Q1

An analysis by CoreLogic found that roughly 6.3 million properties, or 12.7 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, had negative equity as of Q1 2014. The first quarter of 2014 saw a decline from the fourth quarter of 2013, when 6.6 million homes had negative equity, or 13.4 percent. Underwater homes have a national aggregate value of negative equity of $383.7 billion at the end of the quarter.

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Census Examines Main Causes for Moving

Among the millions of households who moved between 2012 and 2013, a study finds the most important reason was to find a new or better home. According to the Census Bureau, 11.7 percent of surveyed participants moved in the year, with 48 percent moving for housing reasons compared to family or employment. All told, 17.2 million gave a housing-related reason for moving.

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Home Price Gains Showing Signs of Stability

According to Trulia, for the first time since July 2012, none of the 100 largest markets in May—anywhere in the United States—saw home prices rise more than 20 percent year-over-year. This is the first sign of sustainability in the housing market in years and is, according to Trulia' chief economist, Jed Kolko, a welcome change from the hyper-rebounding that occurred in some markets, particularly in the West.

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Report: BofA, Feds Negotiating $12B Settlement

Citing reports from "people familiar with the negotiations," the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday that Bank of America has been working fervently over the week to come to an agreement with the Justice Department and put an end to speculation on the potential size of the settlement. Though the final numbers remain unconfirmed, if true, the settlement would rival last year's historic $13 billion paid by JPMorgan Chase to resolve similar allegations.

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