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New Purchase Apps up 5%; Sales Forecast to Rise

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported Monday a 5 percent month-over-month increase in new home purchase applications. The increase is the lowest so far this year, following gains of 15 percent in March, 12 percent in February, and 27 percent in January. Based on application volumes and other market considerations, the group estimates new single-family sales ran at a seasonally adjusted yearly pace of 419,000 last month.

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Audit Finds Room for Improvement in FHFA’s Insurer Oversight

In a recent audit of the Federal Housing Finance Agency's practices commissioned by the agency's inspector general, CohnReznick found that FHFA has "opportunities to further strengthen its oversight of the Enterprises' monitoring of the financial condition of mortgage insurers and their related risk exposure."

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Housing Recovery Losing Support from Prices

Home asking prices rose just 9.0 percent year-over-year in April, the smallest gain in 11 months, and Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko has a few ideas why that number has fallen. One reason for the slippage is from a large price spike during the housing recovery in February and April of 2013, according Kolko. Year-over-year changes in April 2014 no longer include these elevated months, dropping yearly asking price numbers.

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Report: Senators Sour on Reform Bill

A recently unveiled plan to phase out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and overhaul the secondary mortgage market may have hit another snag, with six key senators reportedly deciding not to give their support. According to Bloomberg, six members of the Senate Banking Committee—all Democrats—have cited concerns that plans in the Johnson-Crapo proposal for finance reform "seemed unworkable."

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Carrington Names New National Sales Director

Moving forward in its efforts to expand lending options for non-prime borrowers, Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC announced the appointment of a new national sales director hired to focus on what the company says is an underserved market.

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As Sellers Gain Confidence, They Engage in ‘Risky’ Pricing Approach

As home sellers become more confident in the housing market, many are taking on what Redfin calls a “risky pricing strategy,” according to the online real estate brokerage’s latest survey. A little more than 40 percent of home sellers plan to price their homes above market value, Redfin’s data shows. Regardless of this bolstered confidence, Redfin warns overpricing a home is not a wise strategy in today’s market.

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Connecticut Home Sales Rise, Prices Drop in March

Single-family home sales in Connecticut increased year-over-year in March, marking the 11th consecutive annual increase, according to the Warren Group. Meanwhile, the state’s median home price experienced its first downward slide since June 2012. However, Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of the Warren Group, called March’s price drop “an aberration of data and not the start of a new trend.”

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All-Cash Home Sales Climb to Record High

A new report from RealtyTrac indicates all-cash home sales accounted for 42.7 percent of first-quarter purchases, a record high since the company started tracking the data in 2011. "Strict lending standards combined with low inventory continue to give the advantage to investors and other cash buyers in this housing market," said Daren Blomquist, VP at RealtyTrac.

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Mortgage Debt Among Seniors on the Rise

The percentage of older Americans with outstanding mortgage debt has increased since the start of the housing crisis, according to a report released Wednesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). In fact, according to the bureau, about half of retired seniors with mortgage debt pay more than 30 percent of their household income on housing costs.

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Mortgage Rates Fall to 2014 Low

Despite performing far better than anticipated, April jobs numbers weren’t enough to prop up fixed mortgage rates this week, market reports show. In its Primary Mortgage Market Survey, Freddie Mac clocked the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) at an average 4.21 percent (0.6 point), down from 4.29 percent and the lowest level since late last year. A year ago, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.42 percent.

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