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Mortgage Applications Fell 1.3% Last Week: MBA

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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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Fewer Banks See Risk of Failure Over Fourth Straight Quarter

The number of financial institutions at risk of failure dropped for the fourth consecutive quarter, falling from 813 to 772. The FDIC reported Thursday that the decline signals the smallest number of problem banks since yearend 2009, with total assets waning from $319 billion to $292 billion. The much-weakened Deposit Insurance Fund saw its first-quarter net worth rise to $15.3 billion, up from $11.8 billion over the fourth quarter last year. Insured deposits grew by an estimated 0.7 percent over the first quarter.

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eLynx Examines the Borrowers’ Perspective on Lending

Seeking to provide industry insight into the borrowers' perspective when purchasing a mortgage, eLynx has revealed the findings from its recent panel discussion with lenders and customers. To conduct its survey, eLynx, a portfolio company of American Capital, assembled an advisory group that included both lending professionals and borrowers, tapping the participants for feedback on the initiatives that could improve the mortgage loan experience and reduce stress during the process.

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UWM Launches ‘Elite’ Program for Mortgage Brokers

Brokers will have a new resource to tap into, with the launch of United Wholesale Mortgage's Elite program. The mortgage lender will use the new product to offer broker's access to the best conventional rates and pricing in the industry, according to a company statement.

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