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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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Mortgage Credit Access Declines in April

A report released Thursday by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) shows that mortgage credit availability was down slightly in April, which means a tightening of standards in the mortgage industry. The results, which analyze data from the AllRegs Market Clarity product, come through MBA’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). These results showed that the MCAI index decreased by 0.18 percent to 113.8 from March to April.

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Fannie, Freddie Profit from First-Quarter Settlements

Releasing their earnings reports simultaneously, Fannie and Freddie reported first-quarter profits of $5.3 billion and $4.0 billion, respectively—a major step back from incomes reported last year but still a fair amount for what was a slow period for the housing market. Both enterprises have reported profits each quarter for more than two years straight.

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Despite Continued Weakness, Analysts See Hope in Loan Apps

According to monthly application data released by the Mortgage Bankers Association and compiled by Capital Economics, total application activity in April was down 4.8 percent month-over-month, slipping further from March’s 2.9 percent decline. The entirety of the decline came from another drop in refinance application volumes, which were down 10.8 percent over the month, the biggest drop so far this year.

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Credit, Financial Doubts Holding Young Renters Back

A breakdown of attitudes among young homeowners and renters by Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group finds that while most renters still dream of owning a home, few are taking steps to prepare for a purchase. Even among those who would prefer to own a home, the majority remain pessimistic about their ability to get a mortgage, with down payments and credit scores cited as the top obstacles.

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Housing Optimism Climbs as Job Worries Ease

The results of Fannie Mae's April National Housing Survey show 42 percent of Americans believe now is a good time to sell a home. This is the third straight month that the percentage of respondents saying it’s a good time to sell has increased, bringing that percentage to an all-time survey high. Fannie is taking it as a good sign that buying activity will increase in the coming months, as potential buyers may look to shed their homes in order to buy new ones.

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Non-Prime Loan Share on the Rise

Looking back a quarter, TransUnion says new account originations in Q4 2013 totaled just 1.39 million, down by nearly a million from Q4 2012. While overall new loan activity was slow, participation increased among the non-prime population—defined by TransUnion as those with a credit score lower than 700 on the company’s VantageScore 2.0 model.

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