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FHFA Pushes Back on Eminent Domain Policy in California

FHFA issued a notice Wednesday to warn of the controversial use of eminent domain recently proposed in San Bernardino County. California officials are considering the use of eminent domain to seize underwater mortgages. The mortgages would be taken at fair market value, and then restructured into new loans with terms reflecting the current market. Chicago and Berkeley are also exploring the proposed use of eminent domain. FHFA said that in relation to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the use of an eminent domain program could result in a cost to taxpayers.

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Initial Jobless Claims Lower than Expected

First time claims for unemployment insurance fell 6,000 for the week ended Aug 4 to 361,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected 367,000 initial claims. The prior week├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós total was revised up to 367,000 from the originally reported 365,000.

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No Treasury Draw for Fannie Mae for Second Consecutive Quarter

Following Tuesday├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós news that Freddie Mac will not require a draw from Treasury this quarter, Fannie Mae announced the same on Wednesday in its second quarter earnings report. This is the second consecutive quarter that the GSE has not required a draw from Treasury. Before this year, Fannie May required a draw from Treasury for the previous 11 consecutive quarters. The GSE reported a net worth of $2.8 billion with comprehensive income in the second quarter reaching $5.4 billion. This is up from $2.9 billion in the first quarter of this year.

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Mortgage Fraud Risk Rises in Second Quarter: Interthinx

After remaining steady in the first quarter of the year, the Interthinx Mortgage Fraud Risk Index rose again in the second quarter, climbing about 7 percent over the three-month period. Nevada and Arizona are the riskiest two states, followed by Florida, New Jersey, and Georgia, which made its way to the top five list for the first time since Interthinx began tracking mortgage fraud in 2009. Georgia took the place of California, which has been on the top five list since the inception of the index, according to Interthinx.

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HARP Refinances See Record Activity in June: FHFA

HARP-assisted refinances drove record refinance activity in the month of June, FHFA revealed Tuesday. The agency released its Refinance Report for June 2012, showing that refinance volume remained strong in June as mortgage rates fell to all-time lows. An estimated 33 percent of refinance volume was done through HARP, the highest percentage since HARP's inception. The report revealed that at the end of June, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae had refinanced 422,969 loans through HARP in 2012, more than in 2011.

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New American Funding Receives Industry Honor

New American Funding has a reason to celebrate the end of summer thanks to a recent honor bestowed on the company by _Top_ _Agent_ _Magazine_. The publication recently named New American├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós managing director, Patty Arvielo, to its annual roster of Top California Mortgage Vendors.

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Closing Costs for Mortgage Loans Continue to Decline

A new report from Bankrate.com shows significant declines in mortgage closing costs, pointing to a victory for the industry. According to the website's recent study, the average cost to close on a mortgage loan in the U.S. dropped by seven percent during the past year.

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Consumer Optimism Unflagging Despite Economic Trouble

Stalled confidence in the economy and personal finances apparently hasn├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ót brought down optimism in the housing market. Fannie Mae released its July 2012 National Housing Survey Tuesday, showing that consumer optimism regarding the slowly recovering housing market remained strong during the month. Survey respondents said they expect home prices to increase 1.7 percent in the next year, slightly down from the 2.0 percent survey high recorded in June, while 11 percent believe they will drop.

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Buy Buy Brooklyn: Hall Street Listing Has Artistic Legacy

The former Brooklyn home of legendary artists and one-time couple Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe is on the market for $1 million. Located in Clinton Hill, the property's price tag reflects Brooklyn's increasing popularity, but according to Zillow, the singer and photographer were lucky enough to snag the townhouse for just $80 per month back in the 60s.

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