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The Supply and Demand of Housing

As housing metrics continue to take unexpected turns, it’s become clear by now that the current recovery has functioned unlike any other. In the company's latest Economic & Housing Market Outlook, economists Frank Nothaft and Leonard Kiefer at Freddie Mac took a look at three fundamental areas—mortgage rates, home sales, and household formations—to figure out why.

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Cordray: Student Debts Undermining Housing

Speaking before an audience in Boulder, Colorado, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Richard Cordray addressed the growing amount of student loan debt—$1.2 trillion and counting—and how it will have negative ramifications on the housing market in the future.

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New York Reg to Expand Probe into Non-Bank Practices

The New York regulator who earlier this year launched a probe into the practices of non-bank mortgage servicers revealed Tuesday he plans to expand his investigations. Delivering remarks at the Mortgage Bankers Association' 2014 National Secondary Market Conference, Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky of New York's Department of Financial Services said the agency plans to dig into fee-based ancillary services at non-banks such as Ocwen and Nationstar.

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April Signs Point to Cooler Summer than Last Year

Following a release from Redfin indicating mixed strength in April’s housing segment, RE/MAX has issued its own monthly report, echoing the theme of a cooling market compared to the last few years. "While sales and prices aren't growing at the rate they did last year, we still remain in a recovery with the market settling into a more sustainable growth pattern," said CEO Margaret Kelly.

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Despite Declines, Negative Equity Picture Looks Grim

The company released Tuesday its Negative Equity Report for the first quarter, revealing an estimated 9.7 million homeowners continue to owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth. While the continuing downward trend in underwater rates is a welcome sign of improvement in the housing sector, the company notes that the "effective" negative equity rate remains elevated at more than one in three.

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Report: Obama to Tap San Antonio Mayor for HUD

President Obama is expected to choose San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to replace Shaun Donovan as HUD secretary following Donovan's move to the Office of Management and Budget, according to a report from the New York Times. This is the second overture the White House has made to the San Antonio mayor.

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Despite Declines, Originator Rankings Little Changed in Q1

The decline in mortgage production in the year's opening months failed to produce any names to the list of top lenders for the quarter, but it did shake up the rankings a bit. Staying firmly in the No. 1 spot for the quarter was Wells Fargo, which held on to 14.3 percent of the market with $36 billion in origination volumes, down from $50 billion in Q4 2013. On the servicing side, Wells Fargo again beat out all others, boasting a portfolio estimated at $1.81 trillion.

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Consumer Sentiment Backs Off of Nine-Month High

In a preliminary report issued last week, Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan reported a decline in their joint Index of Consumer Sentiment to a reading of 81.8 from April's final reading of 84.1. A large portion of the overall decline came from a decrease in the survey's Current Conditions Index, which may have suffered from concern over a slowing housing market.

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Housing Shows Life After Meek March

In its Real-Time Price Tracker report for April, national brokerage Redfin reported a 12.4 percent monthly pickup in home sales across its 30 surveyed markets, restoring some faith in sales after an unexpected dive in March. However, compared to April 2013, last month's sales fell 7.6 percent short, with nine markets posting double-digit annual declines.

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