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CoreLogic: Home Prices Show Sixth Consecutive Decline

National home prices declined 1.0 percent between December 2011 and January 2012, according to the latest home price index from CoreLogic. It represents the sixth consecutive month the company has recorded a month-over-month drop in residential property values. The stretch of depreciation is much longer when comparing year-over-year numbers. Based on data through the end of January, annual declines in home prices have continued for 18 months straight by CoreLogic's assessment.

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Multi-State Mortgage Fraud Results in Hefty Sentence

In Minnesota, a former house flipper was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison for his role in a real estate investment scheme, topping the weekly fraud blotter for TheMReport.com. The hefty sentence for Robert W. Dufrense, Jr., who is accused of bilking more than $5 million out of investors across multiple states, was more elaborate than expected due to an additional charge for obstructing justice. Dufresne was originally convicted of one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering for a house-flipping scam.

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Initial Unemployment Claims Rise For Third Straight Week

According to data released today by the U.S. Department of Labor, first time claims for unemployment insurance rose 8,000 in the week ended March 2. The report marks the third straight weekly increase, following revisions to earlier statistics. Continuing claims, reported on a one-week lag, increased 10,000 to hit 3,416,000, representing the second straight weekly increase. The four week moving average for initial claims edged up modestly to 355,000 from 354750 while the average for continuing claims fell.

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More Americans Feel Confident About Housing: Survey

More Americans feel confident about their household finances, the housing recovery, and the prospect of an economic upturn, Fannie Mae said Wednesday. The mortgage giant drew on poll data from some 1,000 respondents to sketch a blend of guardedness and hopefulness in a National Housing Report. Thirty-five percent of Americans now believe the economy is on the right track, an increase from 19 percent in November, compared with 57 percent who still feel damp about the state of recovery. Fewer respondents fielded layoff concerns.

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Falling Loan Applications Tilt Toward Still-Nascent Recovery

In signs that a stable housing rebound may still be ways off, mortgage applications contracted by 1.2 percent last week, even while the Home Affordable Refinance Program offered a still-steady buttress for refinance activity. The Mortgage Bankers Association found in a weekly survey that mortgage application volume also declined by 10.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis. The Purchase Index went up by a seasonally adjusted 2.1 percent from last week, while it climbed by 14.7 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis.

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