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Foreign Buyers Rush to Prop Up U.S. Housing Market: NAR

The combination of low housing prices and the comparative weakness of the dollar continues to push foreign buyers to the United States, raising international home sales to $82.4 billion up from $66.4 billion last year, according to the National Association of Realtors 2012 Profile of International Home Buying Activity. NAR conducted the survey and asked realtors to report their international business activities within the United States for the 12 months ending March 2012. Twenty-seven percent reported having worked with international clients this year.

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New EVPs, Chief Risk Officer for SunTrust Mortgage

SunTrust Mortgage has appointed new leadership, with the announcement of two new executive vice presidents. Peter E. Mahoney will join SunTrust as the EVP of mortgage strategy, and Jack Wixted will become an EVP and the chief risk officer for the company.

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SIFMA Encourages Alignment of GSE Operations

In a letter filed Wednesday to FHFA, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association expressed its view that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should seek to align their operations as much as possible. The alignment would help set the stage and ease transition into the future for the GSEs, SIFMA suggests. Market performance shows a gap between the perceived and actual performance and liquidity of mortgage backed securities issued by the GSEs. The liquidity differential impacts the cost and efficiency of the GSE securitization process and the ability of the Enterprises to fund mortgage lending.

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Mortgage Applications Jump Highest Since 2009: MBA

Mortgage applications jumped by 18 percent from the week earlier, riding a refinance wave to numbers not seen since 2009, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The trade group found that the Refinance Index climbed up by over 19 percent from the week before, reaching the highest level for an index since April 2009. The refinance share of mortgage activity soared to 79 percent of total volume. He added that loans refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program steadied in recent weeks.

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Dexter Star Lists Hal Levitt-Designed Home for $1.995M

Michael C. Hall, whose famous for his portrayal of serial killer Dexter in the Showtime series of the same name, is braving the dangers of the Los Angeles housing market. Recently listing his Hollywood Hills home for $1.995 million, Hall is looking to unload his classic Hal Levitt-designed home.

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Homeowners Driving More Mortgage Purchases in New England

Record-breaking low mortgage rates and rising home sales are leading to increase mortgage activity in New England, according to The Warren Group's Mortgage MarketShare Module. According to the data, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have all seen strong mortgage activity so far in 2012, with Massachusetts showing the strongest numbers. Activity in the state is up more than 28 percent, rising to 99,097 in the first four months of the year ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô an increase from 76,930 during the same period in 2011. Purchase mortgages increased almost 13 percent year-over-year to 13,376.

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Thirty-Year Loan Crashes Into New Low as Europe Scrambles

The crisis of confidence in Europe once again drove mortgage rates to record lows this week, with real estate Web site Zillow reporting that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slammed into 3.56 percent, the lowest it has recorded since it started surveying rates. Zillow said that the 30-year loan initially rose to 3.62 percent this week after euro zone authorities decided to bail out Spain with favorable terms. The rate for a 15-year loan hovered at 2.95 percent, while interest rates for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 2.68 percent.

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