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Mortgage Insurers Wrote $7.1B in New Primary Insurance in April

Three mortgage insurers wrote $7.1 billion in newly originated primary mortgage insurance in April, up from $3.7 billion last year, according to the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America. MICA said that the companies, including Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp., Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp., and Radian Guaranty Inc., fielded new primary insurance from $6.7 billion in March. Some 30,575 borrowers used private mortgage insurance to buy or refinance their homes in April. The insurers reported 22,569 defaults and 20,678 cures in April.

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Fixed Mortgage Rates Continue to Break Record Lows

As the debt crisis in Europe continues to worsen and investors look to Treasury bonds for security, fixed mortgage rates fell to all-time record lows in the last week of May. According to the results of Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed averaged 3.75 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending May 31. This is down from 3.88 percent the previous week and 4.55 percent at the same time last year. The 15-year fixed rate mortgage also fell, bringing three of the four benchmark mortgage rates under 3 percent.

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Initial Jobless Claims Up for Fourth Straight Week

First time claims for unemployment insurance rose to 383,000 up from the prior week├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós 373,000, revised up from the previously reported 370,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists had expected the report would be unchanged at 370,000 initial claims.

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Mortgage Applications Fell 1.3% Last Week: MBA


Despite record-low mortgage rates, mortgage applications fell 1.3 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The trade group found that mortgage loan application volume declined by a seasonally adjusted 1.3 percent. It fell 1.6 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis.The Refinance Index climbed down by 1.5 percent from the week before, with declines on the way for the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index by 0.6 percent. The same index went down by a seasonally unadjusted 1.8 percent.

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Home Values Increase Near Wildlife Refuges: Study

In a study the first of its kinds, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported Wednesday in urban areas across three regions of the country owning a home near a national wildlife refuge increases home value and helps support the surrounding community's tax base. The survey, conducted by economic researches at the University of North Carolina, found three regions that showed a home value increase: 7 percent to 9 percent in the Southeast, 4 percent to 5 percent in the Northeast, and 3 percent to 6 percent in California and Nevada. Tourism to the refuges also plays a role in in the increase.

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CFPB Proposes New Rule to Supervise Nonbank Entities

In what the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau called an important step in the development of our nonbank supervision program, the CFPB officially proposed a rule last week to establish procedures for the bureau's supervision of nonbank financial entities. The Dodd-Frank Act grants the CFPB authority to supervise a nonbank that "it has reasonable cause to determine is posing a risk to consumers based on complaints or other information it receives."

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Pending Home Sales Index Slips Badly in April

The Pending Home Sales Index gave back its entire March increase in April, falling to 95.5 from 101.1 one month earlier, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. The March index was revised downward from the originally reported 101.4 adding to the gloomy report. Economists had expected the Index to increase 0.5 percent from March. Even with the decline though, the index is up 14.4 percent since April 2011, but is now at its lowest level since December, dampening expectations.

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Mortgage Rates Stay Low as Euro Debt Contagion Spreads

Investors helped keep interest rates for mortgage loans in record-low territory this week, as European Union leaders grappled with lurking debt crises in Spain and Italy. Real estate Web site Zillow recorded the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 3.6 percent, just above an all-time low of 3.59 percent set two weeks before. Rates for 15-year loans averaged 2.91 percent, while those for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages hovered at 2.54 percent. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate loans largely fell in most states, climbing only in Illinois, New York, and Washington.

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Home Prices Plummet to Lowest Levels Since 2002

The Case Shiller Home Price Indexes fell for the seventh straight month in March. The drop in the broader 20-city index was barely noticeable ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô down to 134.10 from 134.14 in February ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô while the 10-city index fell to 146.61 from 146.74. Year-over-year, the 10-city index was down 2.8 percent and the 20-city index off 2.6 percent, improving from February. Economists had expected the 20-city index to show a 2.7 percent year-over-year decline. Separately, the national Case Shiller Index, reported quarterly, was down 2.0 percent in the first quarter.

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Initial Unemployment Claims Drop But Remain Elevated

First time claims for unemployment insurance dipped to 370,000 for the week ended May 19 from the previous week├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós upwardly revised reading of 372,000 the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists had expected the report would show 371,000 initial claims. The Labor Department had initially reported 370,000 claims filed for the week ended May 12. The revision turned that report to an increase of 2,000 from a previously report that filings were unchanged week-to-week. Continuing claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on a one-week lag ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô fell 29,000 to 3,260,000.

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