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Report Reveals Year-Over-Year Rise in New Residential Sales

Tallying new residential sales for August, the latest report conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development showed a 27.7 percent increase in sales on a year-over-year basis. However, July numbers bested findings from August, with sales flagging 0.3 percent month-to-month. By region, results from the survey revealed that the West and the Northeast have experienced the strongest improvements in the number of new homes sold year-to-date as of August.

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P. Diddy Lists Manhattan Party Pad for $8.5M

Homebuyers in Manhattan have the chance to live like a hip hop mogul, now that P. Diddy has listed his New York City apartment for $8.5 million. Calling it an "entertainer's dream," Zillow reports that the music man transitioned the three-bedroom property into a more open space, turning the pad into a one-bedroom abode with an enormous media and piano room.

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Mortgage Litigation Index Shows Quarterly Declines

The most recent Mortgage Litigation Index showed that legal activity in the industry slowed its pace between the final quarter of 2011 and the opening quarter of 2012. According to figures from the first-quarter of the year, the number of total lawsuits dropped from 244 to 216 between quarters. However, the index indicated that while case activity declined on a quarter-to-quarter basis, legal action was up year-over-year, with litigation related to compliance, loan titles, and whistleblower action displaying especially strong increases.

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United Financial Announces Retirement of 28-Year Veteran

United Financial Bancorp, Inc., is losing its long-time chief operating officer and executive vice president. The company recently announced that COO and EVP Keith E. Harvey will retire, effective December 31, after having served United Financial for 28 years. United Financial's current chief lending officer (CLO) and EVP, J. Jeffrey Sullivan, will succeed Harvey as COO following his transition at the end of 2012. To fill Sullivan's previous role, United Financial has promoted Charles R. Valade as the bank's new CLO.

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Redwood Trust Announces New Chairman of the Board

Redwood Trust, Inc., is making significant changes to its directorship, recently announcing the departure of current chairman of the board, George E. Bull, III, who officially stepped down from his leadership role on September 18. Following Bull's transition, Redwood unanimously elected Richard D. Baum as the company's new chairman for its board of directors.

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Fed’s Stimulus Decision Prompts Record-Low Mortgage Rates


Mortgage rates slid to new lows this week as investors dumped their cash into safe-haven Treasury debt, prompted by the Fed's decision to keep interest rates low for an unfixed time. Zillow found the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slipping past 3.2 percent for the first time to arrive at 3.18 percent, down from 3.35 percent on Wednesday last week. The real estate website said this marks the lowest rate for the 30-year home loan since 2008, when it launched its weekly survey. Interest rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 2.59 percent, while those for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 2.43 percent.

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Case-Shiller Price Indices Shoot to 20-Month High

U.S. home prices continued to increase in July, according to Case Shiller. On Tuesday it revealed that its 20-city index up 1.6 percent from June and the 10-city index up 1.5 percent. The 10-city index rose to its highest level since November 2010 and the 20-city index to the highest level since October 2010. Prices rose in all of the 20 cities. Year-over-year, the 10-city index was up 0.6 percent and the 20-city index rose 1.2 percent. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the 20-city index to increase 1.7 percent from June.

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Romney Campaign Releases Housing Paper Amid Roundabout

With gaffes and down polls embroiling his campaign, Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney unveiled a housing white paper on Friday to reposition his message and salvage his campaign. The document, titled ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£Securing the American Dream and the Future of Housing,├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø prescribes several conservative policy must-haves. For starters, there├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós much ado about the return of private capital to the secondary mortgage market and devolution for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Oh, and jobs. Twelve million to be exact.

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Credit Availability Ticks Up for Mortgages: Survey

The popularity of FHA mortgages is slowing down, while the use of mortgage financing is growing overall, according to the Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey. FHA-backed transactions made a slight increase in August to 25.9 percent from 25.5 percent in July. The percentage is down from January, when FHA transactions accounted for 27.3 percent of all home purchase transactions. Overall, mortgages were used to finance 68.9 percent of home purchase transactions in August, an increase from 67.5 percent in July.

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