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Fitch Releases Report on Regional Trends, Forecasts

Fitch Ratings has released its commentary on the current rends in regional home pricing, noting that significant variability persists among each area surveyed. In its recent report, Fitch also called for the nation's housing recovery to continue at an irregular and anemic pace for the duration of 2012. Citing tighter credit standards and static levels of household income, Fitch's analysis revealed that all regions are experiencing lower prices for new home sales. According to data from Fitch, the West has been hardest hit by flagging home prices.

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New Home Sales See Steepest Decline in 13 Months

New homes sales fell 7.1 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 328,000, the steepest percentage decline since February 2011, according to the Commerce Department. Sales for January were revised upward from 313,000 to 353,000. Economists had expected the report to show a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 318,000 new home sales in March. New-home sales in March were up 7.5 percent from March 2011. The median price of a new home fell 1.0 percent in March to $234,500, but was up 6.3 percent from March 2011.

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Home Prices Fall to Lowest Level Since 2002

The Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes fell for the sixth straight month in February, with the 10- and 20-city indices each dropping 0.8 percent from January, according to Standard & Poor's. The 10-city index slid to its lowest level since May 2003 and the 20-city index dropped to its lowest level since October 2002. Prices fell in 16 of the 20 cities surveyed, improving month-over-month in only Miami, Phoenix, and San Diego. Prices were down year-over-year in 15 of the 20 cities, improving only in cities like Denver, Detroit, and Minneapolis.

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NAMB Joins Coalition Submitting CFPB Petition on QM Rule

The National Association of Mortgage Brokers has joined the coalition of professional entities petitioning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for greater clarification of the Qualified Mortgage rules within the Dodd-Frank Act. Comprised of various trade associations and housing interest groups with ties to the mortgage industry, the coalition recently submitted a letter to CFPB director Richard Cordray. As it stands now, QM legislation could be especially damaging to low- to moderate-income buyers.

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Home Prices Fell in March Despite Low Sales Inventory: Survey

A surge in homebuyer traffic and waxing inventory failed to prevent home prices from declining in March, according to one survey. Polling 2,500 agents for their monthly HousingPulse Tracking Survey, Campbell Surveys and Inside Mortgage Finance found Monday that home prices for non-distressed properties slid 5.7 percent year-over-year, alongside 2.5 percent for move-in ready REOs over the same time frame. Prices for short sales plummeted 14.3 percent.

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Senior Home Equity Went Up $30B in Q4: NRMLA

Senior home equity went up by $30 billion in the fourth quarter last year, leaving senior homeowners to account for $3.22 trillion in equity, according to a recent report. The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association collaborated with Risk Span to release the Reverse Mortgage Market Index. The results? The reverse mortgage market is stabilizing, according to the index, which registered 153.48 in the fourth quarter, up 0.9 percent from the third quarter.

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Genpact Launches New MOS Platform

The mortgage industry is gaining a new technology tool targeting streamlined loan processing for originators and lenders. Launching the Quantum Mortgage Operation System, Genpact Limited is now offering a platform for real estate and banking professionals. Genpact, a technology company specializing in business processing and management solutions, will provide automation for major elements of the mortgage origination cycle through Quantum. In an official statement, Genpact noted that the platform's use of data eliminates the silos between origination, closing and secondary marketing, enabling lenders to work on each loan file simultaneously.

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New Corporate Director Appointed at ISGN

In Florida, ISGN Corporation has announced the appointment of a new director of corporate technology strategy. ISGN, an end-to-end technology solutions and services provider for the mortgage industry, recently hired Tim Anderson to the leadership role.

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Existing-Home Sales Fall in March for Second Straight Month

Existing-home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.48 million in March from a downwardly revised February rate of 4.60 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. Economists had forecast the March sales pace would be 4.62 million. At the same time, the median price of a new home rose to $163,800, its highest level since last November's $164,000 and up 2.5 percent since March 2011, the first price increase since December 2010.

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Initial Unemployment Dip But Remain Elevated

First time claims for unemployment insurance remained over 380,000 for the second straight week for the week ended April 14, the Labor Department reported Thursday, the highest levels of the year. According to the report there were 386,000 initial claims, down from the revised 388,000 one week earlier The prior week├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós report was adjusted upward by 8,000 Economists had expected initial claims would decrease (from the original report) to 365,000.

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