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TRF and Wolters Kluwer Announce Partnership

In Minnesota, Wolters Kluwer Financial Services has established an agreement with The Reinvestment Fund (TRF). The two entities will work together to integrate TRF;s PolicyMap application with Wolters Kluwer's software solutions for the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and fair lending compliance.

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Refinance Applications Spike as Investors Leave Europe: MBA

Investors fleeing Europe once more helped drive mortgage refinance applications to 3.8 percent this week, up from the week before, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The MBA's Refinance Index climbed 5.6 percent from the week before, signaling a rise for the third consecutive week and helping reach highs not seen since February earlier this year. The four-week moving average ticked up by 4.83 for the index. The refinance share of mortgage activity leapt to 76.6 percent of total application volume.

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April New Home Sales Climb 3.3%, Beating Earlier Forecasts

New homes sales rose 3.3 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 343,000, the Commerce Department and HUD said jointly Wednesday. Sales for March were revised upward from 328,000 to 332,000. Economists had expected the report to show a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 335,000 new home sales in April. New home sales in April were up 9.9 percent from April 2011, the seventh straight month of year-over-year increases. The increase came despite survey results that showed new home shoppers had fallen.

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Warren Group: Massachusetts Prices May Have Hit Bottom

Continuing a four-month trend ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô one that has also prevailed in nine of the past 10 consecutive months ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô single-family home sales in Massachusetts rose year-over-year in April, according to The Warren Group, a New England real estate analytics firm. However, single-family home prices reversed a seven-month downward drift, rising 1.1 percent. The median sales price for single-family homes in Massachusetts now stands at $275,000. On the other hand, the year-to-date median price is $264,900, which is 1 percent lower than the year-to-date price in April of last year, according to The Warren Group.

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Mortgage Rates Remain Near Record Lows as Europe Wavers

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hovered at 3.63 percent this week, up from record lows last week, with debt crises in Europe continuing to scare investors and drag down prospects for a steady economic recovery. Real estate Web site Zillow found the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage down to 3.63 percent, up from 3.59 percent last week. The 15-year home loan averaged 2.93 percent, while rates for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages reached 2.54 percent. Europe remains a sore spot for the economic recovery.

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Prices for Existing Homes See Strongest Gains in Six Years

Existing-home sales rose to 4.62 million at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in April from a downwardly revised March rate of 4.47 million, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. Economists had forecast the April sales pace would be 4.66 million. The median price of an existing home climbed 10 percent to $177,400 in April 2011, the strongest year-to-year gain since January 2006. The median price in April reached its highest level since July 2010 when it was $182,100. For-sale homes rose to 2.54 million in April.

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Group: Housing Finds Sustainable Recovery Amid Threats

In its latest monthly report released Monday, Capital Economics painted a positive picture of the housing market, insisting the market has moved from bottoming-out to recovering. To those wondering whether Capital Economics' positive prophesies are merely a mirage soon to be dispersed much like the short-lived positive movement the market experienced in 2009 and 2010, the analytics firm pointed out a substantial difference between what occurred in 2009-2010 and what is occurring today.

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Credit Unions Originate Record Number of Mortgages

First-lien home loans helped move credit unions to set new records with loan originations over the first quarter. Callahan & Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm, said Monday that first mortgage originations reached $26 billion by the end of the quarter, accounting for 36 percent of originations. Credit unions reportedly originated 160,746 first-lien loans, with mortgages averaging $161,549. Consumer loan originations ticked up 16.6 percent to reach $39 billion quarter-over-quarter but fell year-over-year.

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