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Mortgage Rates Tick Up Ahead of FOMC Meeting

Despite soft housing news, mortgage rates experienced a moderate increase ahead of next week’s economic policy update from the Federal Open Market Committee. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate came up to 4.33 percent (0.6 point) for the week ending April 24, up from 4.27 percent in the previous week.

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Mortgage Apps Stumble; Loan Amounts Hit New High

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, mortgage applications declined in the last week, though loan sizes are seeing record highs. Meanwhile, the average loan size for purchase applications has reached its highest level in the history of the survey at $280,500, coinciding with the trend in rising purchase activity for larger loan amounts.

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Sun Continues Shining on Florida Housing

According to Florida Realtors, the state's housing market reported higher median prices, more new listings, and a stable level of inventory in March. For 28 months in a row now, statewide median sales prices have risen annually for single-family homes and condos. "What we're seeing is a market we can live with," said Florida Realtors chief economist Dr. John Tuccillo.

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CFPB Report Details ‘Pain Points’ of Loan Closing Process

As part of its "Know Before You Owe" initiative to streamline mortgage lending, CFPB released Wednesday the results of a year of research on the closing process, including comments collected from both consumers and market participants. The findings indicate frustration all around. Among consumers, the most common complaints the bureau saw dealt with the complexity and sheer amount of paperwork required to finalize a loan.

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National Indicators Slip Further Away from ‘Stable’

In the company’s second-ever Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi), analysts at Freddie Mac reported a national index value of -3.11, putting the U.S. market just on the “weak” side of a stable market (ranging from index values of -2 to 2). “Despite a slowdown over the winter months, the housing market continues to show improvement in most states, although at a somewhat slower pace,” said Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist at Freddie Mac.

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March New Home Sales Dive to Eight-Month Low

The pace of new home sales plunged in March to their lowest level in eight months, driving down hopes of a seasonal renewal in housing activity. Monthly data released Wednesday by HUD and the Census Bureau shows sales of new homes last month plummeting 14.5 percent from February to an estimated seasonally adjusted yearly rate of 384,000. The last time transactions ran so low was last July, when they came to 383,000.

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FHFA Sees Third HPI Increase Despite Harsh Weather

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its monthly House Price Index (HPI) for February, revealing continued growth even as winter weather slowed the market. The broad measure of the movement of single-family home prices in this purchase-only index went up by 0.6 percent, according to FHFA, and with the exception of November 2013, marked nearly two straight years of increases.

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Home Values Up 5.7% in Q1

Zillow’s Q1 Real Estate Market Report, released Tuesday, shows that home values across the United States are up 5.7 percent (to a national median of $169,800) compared to Q1 2013. This marks the 21st consecutive month that prices, compared year-over-year, have gone up. Even more encouraging is that home values in 527 U.S. cities that saw declines of 10 percent or more during the recession are either at their peak or soon will be.

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