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LPS: 2012 Home Prices Up 4.6% as of August

August home prices across the United States were up an average 4.6 percent since the start of the year, according to data from Lender Processing Services' (LPS) Applied Analytics division. LPS' Home Price Index, which reflects transacted sales rather than recorded sales, revealed that the average U.S. home price increased to $205,000 in August, up 0.2 percent from July. The average home price in August 2011 was $199,000, or 2.6 percent less than this year's reading. The most recent price increase brings the HPI up 4.6 percent from January 2012.

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Capital Economics: Drop in Distressed Sales Good for Builders

In a US Housing Market Update released by the firm, analyst and property economist Paul Diggle notes that while "a substantial overhang of properties still in the shadow inventory" will keep distressed sellers in the market, the peak in distressed supply appears to be well behind us, giving homebuilders more room to grow with less competition from discounted homes. In addition, short sales--typically sold at a smaller discount--have been gaining traction as foreclosure sales drop, creating "less of a depressing influence on the new-build market."

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Patton Boggs to Welcome Back Former Partner

New

Patton Boggs is welcoming back a former partner, announcing that Todd R. Harrison has rejoined the firm's litigation and dispute resolution practice group. Harrison is headed back to Patton Boggs after departing in 2011 to serve as chief counsel for oversight and investigations on the energy and commerce committee for the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Churchill Executive Recognized by Regional Publication

An executive from Churchill Mortgage recently received recognition from The Nashville Business Journal. Matthew C. Clarke, Churchill's CFO and COO, was a finalist in this year's CFO Awards, which recognize leading CFOs from corporations in Middle Tennessee.

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Pending Home Sales Index Shows Small September Gain

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose ever so slightly in September, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday, tempering the much-heralded housing sector revival. The Index inched up to 99.5, an improvement of 0.3 percentage points over August's 99.2. Economists had expected the index to jump 2.5 percent to 101.7.

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First-Time Jobless Claims Drop Sharply

First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell 23,000 to 369,000 for the week ended October 20, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected initial claims to fall to 372,000. The initial claims report has been unusually volatile for the last month with wide swings in the seasonal adjustment factors used by the Labor Department to "normalize" the data. However, the factor used for this week's report was virtually the same as the factor used a week ago, suggesting the sharp drop in claims reflects a truer reading of the labor market.

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Congressman Defends Firms’ ‘Good Samaritan’ Purchases

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) is speaking out in defense of JPMorgan Chase, calling the U.S. government's lawsuit against the financial institution a case of "no good deed goes unpunished." New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a suit against JPMorgan for the alleged misconduct of Bear Stearns & Co. prior to JPMorgan's acquisition of the failing investment bank, but Frank says the bank is being punished for getting involved at the government's request.

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