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Report: Loan Risk Remains High; QM Having ‘No Discernible Impact’

The American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) International Center on Housing Risk released this week its latest National Mortgage Risk Index (NMRI), a measure of likely loan default rates in the event of another economic crisis. For its March data, the group calculated that under stress, 11.5 percent of recent home purchase mortgages would default, just down from 11.6 percent in February.

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Mortgage Returns Announces Upgrades to TRUE CRM Product

Mortgage Returns, a firm specializing in customer relationship management (CRM) technology and automated marketing solutions for the mortgage industry, announced improvements to its TRUE CRM system designed to further increase return on investment for clients.

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First-Quarter GDP Growth Hits Wall

According to numbers put out by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Wednesday, real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annualized rate of 0.1 percent in Q1, a plunge from the final 2.6 percent growth rate reported for Q4 2013. The sudden slowdown reflects in part the toll this year’s winter season took on economic expansion, though not all changes were weather-related.

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Market Speeds Up in March

Homes continue to fly off the market at a quick pace, according to March data released by Redfin. In March, across the 20 metros measured by Redfin, median days on the market fell by more than a week to 32 days, dropping from 40 days in February. Compared to last year's figure of 35, homes are selling three days faster on average. The company's analysis found that 29.8 percent of homes went under contract within two weeks of being listed.

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MCS Announces Plans to Expand Process Center

Mortgage Contracting Services' (MCS) CEO, Caroline Reaves, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced Tuesday the company will create 90 new jobs in Ruston, Louisiana, while doubling the size of its business process outsourcing center to more than 20,000 feet.

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What Recent Buyers Wish They Knew

In a survey of more than 800 recent homebuyers, Chase found approximately nine out of every 10 said that overall, they “felt prepared” when they purchased their home. Still, looking back, a combined 56 percent said they wish they were armed with more knowledge about making an offer and negotiating, the financing aspects of purchasing a house, and the actual details on closing the transaction.

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Homeownership Rate Tumbles to 19-Year Low

According to figures released by the Census Bureau Tuesday, homeownership dropped last quarter to a rate of 64.8 percent, 0.4 percentage points lower than Q4 2013 and the lowest rate since the third quarter of 1995. Quarter-to-quarter, homeownership was down in all regions except the West, though at 59.4 percent, it remains lower in that region than in any other.

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How Loan Limits Have Failed Today’s Housing Market

One way the federal government has accounted for local market differences is through the conforming loan limit: the maximum amount of a home loan that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can guarantee. However, according to Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko, this current system falls far short of reflecting the actual differences in local home prices and ends up favoring borrowers in lower-cost markets.

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Home Price Increases Continue to Cool

Home prices as measured by S&P Dow Jones performed more or less as expected in February, with annual growth rates continuing to slow. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices shows prices among 20 of the nation’s biggest markets grew 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in February, matching January’s rate of growth. Unadjusted, the index was unchanged month-over-month.

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