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RE/MAX: Depressed Inventory Stifles Sales, Boosts Prices in September

The median sales price for homes sold in September continued to move higher yearly and monthly while sales stalled from August, according to a housing report from RE/MAX, which tracks MLS data in 52 metropolitan areas. The median sales price in September was $164,989, a slight 0.7 percent increase from August and a 7.8 percent improvement from September 2011. So far, prices have been rising yearly for eight straight months.

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California’s Chateau d’Or Receives Price Reduction to $25M

Famed Los Angeles mansion, Chateau d'Or, is still on the market, but the property's sellers recently initiated a significant price reduction, dropping the listing from $40 million to just $25 million. The 26,00o-square-foot home, located in the city's Bel Air neighborhood, boasts 15 bedrooms and 16.5 bathrooms, and may be "better suited to Disneyland," according to Curbed.

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Avison Young to Expand Operations in the Southeast

Announcing an acquisition deal with Thomas Linderman Graham Inc., a commercial real estate services company in Raleigh, North Carolina, Canada-based Avison Young is continuing its U.S. expansion. Through its purchase agreement with Thomas Linderman Graham, Avison Young will open two new offices in the state.

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September Housing Permits, Starts at Four-Year Highs

Housing starts and permits jumped in September to their highest levels since July 2008, Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported jointly Wednesday. Housing starts jumped 15.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 while permits improved 11.6 percent to 894,000. Single family starts represented 69.2 percent of the total in September, matching their year-to-date share. Single family starts made up 71.5 percent of all starts for the same period in 2011.

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Default Rates on First and Second Mortgages Fall to New Lows

The default rate for first mortgages now stands at a post-recession low, and the default rate for second mortgages is at the lowest level in its more than 8-year history, according to data through September from the S&P Dow Jones Indices and Experian for the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices. The first mortgage default rate fell to 1.36 percent in September, the lowest level since the end of the 2007/2009 recession. At the same time, the second mortgage default rate bottomed to 0.64 percent, down from 0.72 percent in August.

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Inventory Limits California Sales, Boosts Median Price

The California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) continued to report a shortage of inventory in September, which is limiting home sales but seems to be pushing up median home prices. According to C.A.R., the median home price in California is now at the highest level in more than four years. Sales, on the other hand, fell in September, sinking 5.2 percent from a revised 510,910 in August and declined 1.2 percent from a revised 490,280 a year ago.

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Virginia Man Sentenced in $41M Bank Fraud Suit

A Virginia man received a sentence of 14 years in federal prison for carrying out elaborate and sophisticated fraud schemes that took millions away from investors and the government, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) announced. George P. Hranowskyj of Chesapeake, Virginia, pled guilty in July to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

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PNC Reports Growth in Originations

PNC recorded net income of $925 million in Q3, an 11 percent year-over-year increase from $834 million. PNC's total net income for the first three quarters was $2.3 billion, down from $2.6 billion in the same period last year. Part of PNC's quarterly increase can be attributed to a rise in residential mortgage banking revenue, which grew $35 million "due to higher loan sales revenue driven by higher loan origination volume" the company said. Loan origination volume increased $1.2 billion from third-quarter 2011 to $3.8 billion.

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