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Mortgage Rates Reverse Upward Trend

In its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, Freddie Mac reported the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaging a rate of 4.34 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending April 10, a decline from 4.41 percent last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed was down nearly a full percentage point: 3.43 percent. Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey showed similar rate changes.

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OCC Counsel Addresses Regulatory Complaints from Community Banks

In a testimony given in front of the House Financial Services Committee this week, OCC chief counsel Amy Friend addressed frustrations stemming from regulatory burdens on community banks banks. Friend's testimony offered a conciliatory nod to the plight of smaller banks while noting particular ways the OCC addresses smaller bank's particular grievances with the Dodd-Frank Act.

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Freddie Mac Extends Mortgage Relief to Victims in Washington Disaster

Freddie Mac released on Wednesday an announcement "urgently reminding" servicers about the full range of relief options available to borrowers affected by flooding and other natural disasters in Washington. The company also made special note to remind servicers to consider relief policies for borrowers who work in eligible disaster areas but live in unaffected areas.

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Citi Announces $1.13B Offer to Settle Securities Claims

Citigroup announced this week it has agreed to pay approximately $1.13 billion to settle repurchase claims on residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS). According to the bank’s announcement, Citi has agreed to make a binding offer to the trustees of 68 Citi-sponsored mortgage trusts that issued a combined $59.4 billion in RMBS from 2005–2008.

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Spring Brings Renewed Demand for Homes

According to Redfin’s latest Real-Time Demand Pulse—a monthly analysis of tour and offer activity across 23 U.S. markets—homebuyer demand bounced back in March, showing promise after months of little activity. While the pickup in buyer interest bodes well for the spring and summer seasons, Redfin analyst Ellen Haberle noted March's data should be taken with a grain of salt.

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Weak Application Volumes Get Weaker

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported a 1.6 percent decline in its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 4. Week-over-week, MBA’s Refinance Index fell 5 percent, declining to its lowest level since the end of last year. Purchase home mortgage activity was healthier last week compared to the week prior, coming up 3 percent.

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Chicago Ranks as Nation’s Most Affordable Market

ZipRealty released Tuesday its list of the top 10 most affordable housing markets of 2014, ranking Chicago as the No. 1 affordable metro. Based on median home sales price data and estimated family income, ZipRealty calculated an Affordability Index of 2.2 for the Windy City, meaning homes are available for just more than twice the annual average household income ($72,400 against a median price of $160,000).

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Long & Foster Names Manager for Maryland Office

In Maryland, Long & Foster Real Estate appointed Patti Moore as manager of the firm’s Salisbury office. Moore brings to her position more than a decade of real estate and business experience, having led her own brokerage for years before merging it with a local real estate franchise.

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Credit Access Opens Up for Jumbo Loans

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) increased 0.44 percent last month to 114.0, the group reported Tuesday, indicating a loosening of credit. “Consistent with past months, many lenders and investors are providing borrowers seeking higher loan amounts with a broader range of financing options by introducing new jumbo loan programs,” explained MBA chief economist Mike Fratantoni.

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One-Third of Bankers to Only Lend Within QM

The American Bankers Association (ABA) released the results of its latest annual Real Estate Lending Survey. According to the ABA, more than 80 percent of bankers surveyed believe that tightened Dodd-Frank rules will restrict credit, thereby narrowing the pool of candidates able to secure mortgages. More than a third of bankers surveyed said they would only offer qualified mortgages.

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