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Lending Declines in Q1, Remains Up Year-Over-Year

Mortgage origination numbers from the first quarter of the year are in and closing totals indicate a generally diminished lending pace. While diverse factors contributed to the decline in originations, the departure of two major correspondent lenders during the period are considered a key catalyst in driving down closings. According to statements from Mortgage Lender Ranking, residential production sunk by 5.56 percent between quarters. However, year-over-year origination tallies are in opposition to the quarter-to-quarter results, showing a 10.88 percent improvement.

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Mortgage Applications Increase Modestly, Largely Flat

Mortgage applications went up last week as most other measures of application activity declined or stayed flat, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The trade group found that mortgage application crept forward by 1.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and 2 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis. Government applications fell for purchases and conventional loans. Purchase indices ticked up 3.5 percent from the week before on 5.4 percent increase in conventional purchases. The Government Refinance Index dipped by 2.3 percent.

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CoreLogic on Spring Buying Season: This Year Is Different

Home prices declined by 0.6 percent on an annual basis in March, according to CoreLogic's latest Home Price Index, released Tuesday. However, when distressed sales ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô foreclosure sales and short sales ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô are taken out of the equation, the nation actually experienced a rise in home sales from March 2011 to March 2012 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô an increase of 0.9 percent. Also notable: Overall home prices ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô including distressed sales ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô rose on a monthly basis in March for the first time since July 2011. Accounting for all transactions, prices are now 33.7 percent below their April 2006 peak.

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MGIC Writes $1.7B in New Insurance in April

MGIC, the nation's largest private mortgage insurer, released its monthly earnings report Tuesday, revealing $1.7 billion in new insurance written during the month of April. This comes after last month's announcement that in the first quarter of this year, MGIC wrote $4.2 billion in new insurance. MGIC is still suffering from elevated delinquencies, though they did fall slightly over the month from 160,473 delinquent loans to 156,698 delinquencies recorded at the end of the month. While 9,717 delinquent loans were cured during the month of April, 10,134 loans received new notices of delinquency.

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Elections Overseas Drive Mortgage Rates to All-Time Lows

Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages slid this week to 3.65 percent, a four-year low made feasible by turmoil in French and Greek elections, real estate Web site Zillow said Tuesday. The 30-year loan fell from 3.69 percent last week and represents the lowest recorded by Zillow since the Web site began tracking mortgage rates in April 2008. Interest rates for the 30-year also zigzagged across the country, falling most steeply in places like Colorado and Illinois. Rates for the 15-year fixed-rate loan averaged 2.91 percent, alongside 2.52 percent for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages.

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Affordability, Inventory Improve, Still Shy of Full Recovery

The U.S. housing market continues to trudge down the slow, bumpy road to recovery with a few positive indicators lighting the way. However, a full recovery continues to linger listlessly on the horizon. Obama's Housing Scorecard for April, released jointly by HUD and the Treasury Department, reveals some positive movement in home sales, though prices continue to languish in many markets. Another piece of good news for the market: Housing inventory is now at a sustainable level. The market currently holds a 5.3-month supply of new homes.

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More Slow Growth as Economy Adds Only 115K Jobs

The nation added 115,000 jobs in April, far below expectations and a drop from March├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós revised payroll growth of 154,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The closely watched unemployment rate dipped again to 8.1 percent ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô its lowest level since January 2009 (7.8 percent) when President Obama took office ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a function of a sharp drop in the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós labor force. Payroll gains for February and March were revised, adding 19,000 to the February numbers and 34,000 to March. The average workweek remained at 34.5 hours.

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Asking Prices for For-Sale Homes Up in April

Homes for sale saw their asking prices tick up 0.5 percent in April, more than in March, according to Trulia. Asking prices climbed quarter-over-quarter by 1.9 percent, while price increases unadjusted for seasonality went up 4.8 percent. Prices for for-sale homes also went up 0.2 percent nationally. Miami and Phoenix saw the biggest increases among asking prices, with figures up by more than 15 percent year-over-year. Forty-four of the 100 largest metro areas observed year-over-year price increases, while pickups took place in 92.

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Bank of Colorado Significantly Increasing Market Share

Bank of Colorado recently reported an estimated 25 percent uptick in loan production during the past 24-months, and the company's technology provider, Mortgagebot, is taking partial credit for the significant increase. Citing the bank's use of MortgageboT's PowerSite platform, the tech company says that its integrated point-of-sale solution helped the financial institution capitalize on current market conditions. Mortgagebot noted that the departure of several larger lenders in Bank of Colorado's geographical region created opportunities to increase market share.

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