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Builder Confidence Reaches Five-Year High in May

Builder confidence jumped five points in in May to 29, its highest level since the same month in 2007, the National Association of Home Builders said Tuesday. Economists had expected the index to edge up to 26 in May. The month-over-month increase was the largest since April 2009. The total index in May was up 13 points from May 2011, the strongest year-over-year gain since April 2004. All three components of the index ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô current sales, sales six months out and buyer traffic ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô showed strong increases in May.

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Bank Shares Fall as Greek Turmoil Undermines Confidence

A fresh round of concerns that Greece may leave the euro zone sent U.S. stock markets into a dizzying tumble Monday. After some lift in recent weeks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 125.25 points to close by end of day at 12,695, along with shares for the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós four largest lenders. The deal reportedly involves a Syriza, a leftwing bloc opposed to further austerity measures that may parlay slashes to Greek social services for $170 billion in bailout funds under a package jointly agreed-to by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

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ResCap Files Chapter 11, With Nationstar Set to Acquire

Residential Capital LLC, the embattled mortgage subsidiary of Ally Financial, filed Chapter 11 Monday, with Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. set to acquire it. The Detroit-based company framed the move as a way to shave losses, repay taxpayers, and preserve its position as an auto lender. Lewisville, Texas-based Nationstar said in a separate announcement that it would acquire ResCap, with the purchase including $374 billion in mortgage servicing assets and $201 billion in primary residential mortgage servicing rights.

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Settlement Monitor Launches New Online Complaint Tool

Consumer advocates now have the ability to report violations if their clients suspect any as the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós five largest servicers complete requirements under the $25 billion settlement. Speaking at a conference hosted by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Joseph A. Smith, Jr., the settlement monitor, announced the standup of a website portal for complaints about servicers. A statement said that the monitor will use any information gathered from the online tool to oversee implementation of the agreement with servicers.

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HARP Means Savings, Less Debt for Homeowners: Freddie Mac

More homeowners continue to reap benefits from the newly modified Home Affordable Refinance Program, with 79 percent of homeowners with government-backed mortgages either keeping the same level of mortgage debt as before or reducing it over the first quarter. Of those homeowners, Freddie Mac found recently, 79 percent held onto the same level of debt for first-lien home mortgages, while 21 percent of homeowners shaved off dollars from their principal balance. The share of borrowers keeping their original loan amounts hovered at the highest level in the 26-year history of the survey.

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Platinum Data Focused on Risk Mitigation for Reverse Mortgages

California-based technology provider, Platinum Data Solutions, has announced a new reverse mortgage client partnership in San Diego. The company recently revealed that Plaza Home Mortgage Inc. has implemented Platinum's RealView platform, targeting quality appraisal review for reverse mortgages across the U.S.

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Turmoil in Europe Drives Mortgage Rates to All-Time Lows

Jittery investors retreated to U.S. Treasury debt this week after upsets in French and Greek elections, a movement that yet again drove mortgage rates to all-time lows. Freddie Mac found Thursday that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage broke records by falling to 3.83 percent, down from 3.84 percent last week. Finance Web site Bankrate.com, which releases a survey at the same as Freddie each week, found similar results, with the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage hitting 3.2 percent and the jumbo 30-year loan falling to 4.54 percent, both new lows.

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