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Home Values Bump Up for First Time Since 2007

For the first time since 2007, home values saw a year-over-year gain in the second quarter of 2012, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. The index showed homes increased in value by 0.2 percent to $149,300 from last year├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós second quarter. Additionally, values have increased for the fourth month in a row. Out of 167 metros covered by Zillow, 53 posted increases from the second quarter of 2011 to the same quarter this year. Values in Phoenix rose by 12.1 percent, the highest among other metros during the same time period.

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Pamela Anderson Will Let You Live in Her Malibu Manse

Pamela Anderson has many followers and fanatics thanks to her status as the world's most famous Playmate, and those who want to get a little closer to Anderson can now do so by renting her Malibu pad. However, the opportunity comes with a serious price tag, and Anderson is asking $50,000 per month to dwell in her 2,750-square-foot abode.

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Walnut Place Drops Suit in Countrywide Settlement

A major player in the ongoing Countrywide settlement dropped its suit against the defunct mortgage unit on Monday. According to news services, Walnut Place, otherwise known as Baupost Group, withdrew objections to a proposed $8.5 billion settlement currently under way with Bank of America, which bought Countrywide in 2008. Several reports held that a tentative deal had been reached by institutional investors last year to settle allegations of systematic misrepresentation.

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Growth Estimates Point South for Fannie Mae

A weakened second quarter may indicate a slowdown in economic activity for the rest of the year, Fannie Mae reported Monday. According to a report from the GSE, its Economic & Strategic Research Group may have been too optimistic in its original 2012 GDP growth projection of 2.2 percent. Its revised growth rate estimate is 2.0 percent. Despite the downgrade in anticipated economic growth, Fannie Mae found a silver lining in the housing market. Year-over-year, home sales increased by 9 percent, and single-family housing starts are nearly 20 percent higher (although still below healthy norms).

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Five Banks Fail, Drawing Nearly $150M from the FDIC

Five banks failed Friday, requiring an estimated total of $150 million from the FDIC. Banks failed in Illinois, Kansas, Georgia, and Florida with the greatest expense stemming from a single bank in Illinois. The FDIC estimates the failure of Second Federal Savings and Loan Association of Chicago will lead to a total cost of $76.9 million. Hinsdale Bank & Trust Company, based in Hinsdale, Illinois, has assumed all the deposits of Second Federal Savings and Loan Association of Chicago as well as $14.2 million in assets, mostly cash.

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CEO of Cisco Lists Silicon Valley Estate for $14.8M

The CEO of CIsco Systems has listed his luxurious Silicon Valley estate. John Chambers, who also serves as Cisco'S chairman, is selling his 6-acre Los Altos Hills property for $14.8 million. Built in the 90s, the 8,280-square-foot home includes the usual high-end amenities like a swimming pool, jacuzzi, and tennis court.

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Survey Shows FHA, VA Loans Dominate in Communities of Color

A new report reveals that loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs are disproportionately prevalent in neighborhood's of color. The study, which is the sixth edition of the Paying More for the American Dream series, found that government-backed loans comprised nearly 67 percent of home purchase loans in communities of color. Statistics from the report indicate that borrowers of in neighborhoods of color received government-backed loans approximately twice as often as those in predominantly white areas.

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Two Years in Review for the CFPB and Dodd-Frank

Financial reform advocates have two birthdays to celebrate on Saturday. This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the watchdog Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the two-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act, the sweeping financial reform law that spawned it. Their stories run parallel to each other ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô and rightly so. The consumer bureau squeaked past partisan gridlock this time last year, just one year after Democrats, then in the majority of both houses of Congress, cleared Dodd-Frank for the president├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós signature.

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Syncora Settles Lawsuit Against Countrywide for $375M

Another Countrywide lawsuit has been finalized, with the announcement that Syncora Guarantee Inc. has settled its claims with the company and its affiliates. Syncora, a subsidiary of Syncora Holdings Ltd., received $375 million from Countrywide to conclude its litigation against the company. In exchange for the payout, Syncora has agreed to release all claims against Countrywide and Bank of America. An official release about the lawsuit noted that Syncora's filing stemmed from insured second-liens.

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