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Is the All-Cash Trend Moderating?

ZipRealty released an analysis of its transactions from January 2012 through December 2013, concluding that nearly one of every four closed without financing. While still high, that share is an improvement from only a few years ago, says Lanny Baker, president and CEO of ZipRealty. “Nationwide, the percentage of all-cash real estate transactions reached a five-year high in 2010 at 27 percent,” Baker said.

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$1.1B in Servicing Rights Up for Bid

MountainView Servicing Group announced it is advising the sale of another two mortgage servicing rights (MSR) portfolios, these ones possessing a combined unpaid principal balance of $1.1 billion. The first portfolio, which goes up for bid April 3, is $923 million of Freddie Mac servicing. The second offering unveiled this week is a $205 million Fannie Mae portfolio bidding on April 4.

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Purchase Volumes Fail to Lift March Mortgage Applications

Compiling weekly survey results from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), macroeconomic research firm Capital Economics calculated a 2.9 percent drop in total application volume in March following a meek 0.1 percent increase in February. On the home purchase side, applications came up an estimated 2.7 percent over March (1 percent in the final week) but remained down 16.8 percent year-over-year.

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Originators Outline Struggles in Changing Market

According to results in Hammerhouse’s 4th Annual Survey of Originator Opinions, 44 percent of originators polled said the biggest challenge for the industry in 2014 will be "adding new relationships to support a purchase focused business" with purchase volumes still too weak to support the market. Given these obstacles and the continuing decline in mortgage volumes, 69 percent of originators expect overall volume to drop in 2014.

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Fannie Mae Releases 2013 STAR Results

Fannie Mae released its annual Servicer Total Achievement and Rewards (STAR) results, naming Fifth Third Bank as its sole Five STAR designee for overall performance and customer service. "We are pleased to see servicers' continued efforts to improve their operations, help homeowners and meet Fannie Mae's goals," said Leslie Peeler, SVP of the National Servicing Organization at Fannie Mae.

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New Business Slips to Five-Year Low at Fannie

Fannie Mae reported further contraction in its book of business for February—the second this year and the third in as many months—as new business acquisitions dropped to a five-year low. According to the enterprise’s monthly volume summary for February, business shrank at a compound annual rate of 1.4 percent, bringing the book’s total growth rate for the year to -2.4 percent.

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Construction Spending Ticks Up; Residential Activity Stumbles

The Department of Commerce reported Tuesday that construction spending throughout February came to an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of $945.7 billion, a 0.1 percent climb from a downwardly revised level of $944.6 billion in January. Year-over-year, February spending was up 8.7 percent. Between both private and public projects, residential construction spending was at an estimated rate of $365.2 billion, down 0.7 percent from January.

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CFPB: Consumer Complaints Nearly Double in 2013

According to CFPB’s figures, complaint volume last year totaled 163,700, an 80 percent increase from the 91,000 recorded complaints in 2012. Including this year, the bureau has received more than 310,000 complaints to date. Areas of dissatisfaction range from bank accounts to debt collection to all manner of loans—including mortgages, which represented the greatest share of complaint volume last year at 37 percent.

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Home Prices Up 12.2% in February; Smaller Gains Predicted

According to CoreLogic's latest Home Price Index report, home prices nationwide rose 12.2 percent (including distressed sales) in February compared to the year prior. The change represents 24 months of consecutive yearly gains. On a monthly basis, home prices inched up 0.8 percent from January’s revised index. Moving forward, CoreLogic says indicators point to slower increases.

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