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Refi Boom Set to Fuel $200B More Originations in 2012

A surge in refinance applications could propel mortgage originations by more than $200 billion in 2012, increasing to $1.28 trillion, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The trade group attributed estimates ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô upwardly revised from $1.26 trillion in 2011 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô to account for a refinance boom sparked by the crises in debt-saddled Europe. The MBA said that it expected refinance originations would amount to $870 billion this year, an amount nearly identical to forecasts from last year, when HARP led the way in estimates.

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California’s Greatest Obstacle Is Shrinking Inventory

Things are looking up in California. Pending-home sales are continuing to rise on an annual basis; median prices are rising; and equity sales are starting to make up a larger portion of total sales, according to the California Association of Realtors. However, despite the year-over-year gains, April's pending home sales demonstrated a decline from March. Pending-home sales include contract signings but not closings. The index is based on 2008 contract signings with an index score of 100 equaling the average amount of contracts signed per month in 2008. The pending-home sales index for March was revised to 138.9.

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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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