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Multifamily Surge Leads Housing Permits to Four-Year High

Housing permits surged another 4.5 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 747,000, the highest level since September 2008, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported jointly Tuesday. At the same time though, housing starts fell for the third time in the last four months to the lowest level since last October. March housing starts were reported at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000 compared with 694,000 in February. Starts have been flat for the past three years.

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Tradeweb Reaches Benchmark for TBA-MBS Trades

Touting its unique platform, Tradeweb Markets LLC has announced that the company recently reached a new benchmark, with more than $1 trillion in mortgage securities risk offset through the use of its trading technology. Tradeweb credits the company's new round-robin functionality of its programs for its success in the to-be announced-mortgage-backed securities (TBA-MBS) market.

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Financial Literacy Day Offers Consultation to Congressional Employees

Capitol Hill staffers are getting a chance to learn more about the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. The company recently announced that it will hold a free clinic for Congressional employees on Tuesday, April 17. The financial planning initiative from CFP is part of the 2012 Financial Literacy Day, which was organized by Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. Through the clinic, CFP will offer one-on-one personal finance consultation for participants. Attendees for the CFP event will gain advice on mortgages, debt management, and more.

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Builder Confidence Dips as Home Buying Season Begins

Builder confidence fell three points in April to 25, matching the lowest point of the year, the National Association of Home Builders said Monday. The month-over-month decline was the first since last September. 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 fell in April, with buyer traffic slipping to a four month low. The builder assessment of present home sales conditions dropped three points to 26. The outlook for home sales in the next six months also fell three points to 32.

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Chase Sees $461M in Q1 Income From Mortgage Production

JPMorgan Chase reaped a net income of $461 million in first-quarter income from mortgage production and servicing, a slight change of pace from $1.1 billion seen in net losses last year. The bank said that the results came off 33 percent in application volume from the first quarter. Except for repurchase losses, revenue stemming from mortgage production climbed to $1.6 billion, up 80 percent from the previous year. Repurchase losses hovered at $302 million, a carry-over from $420 million in repurchase losses seen last year.

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Fifteen-Year Loan Hits New Low As Economic Worries Grow

Mortgage rates fell once more as economic worries accelerate on the heels of a disappointing jobs report and debt crises overseas, with rates for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage slamming into new lows. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac found the 15-year loan cresting at 3.11 percent, a new all-time low below 3.13 percent seen in early March. Freddie also said that the 30-year loan yet again averaged 3.88 percent, down from 3.98 percent last week. The 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell from 2.86 percent to 2.85 percent, while the 1-year ARM went up to 2.80 percent from 2.78 percent.

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Initial Unemployment Claims Jump to 10-Week High

First time claims for unemployment insurance jumped 13,000 to 380,000 for the week ended April 7, the Labor Department reported Thursday, the highest level since the end of January. At the same time the previous week's report was adjusted upward by 10,000, wiping out what had been a four-year low and showing an increase of 4,000 initial claims instead of an originally reported drop of 6,000 for the week ending in late March. Economists had expected initial claims would increase - from the original report - to 359,000. The week-over-week jump in first time claims was the second straight of the year.

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The Fed’s Beige Book Sees Modest to Moderate Growth


The economy continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace from mid-February through late March, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its periodic Beige Book. The central bank reported faster and solid growth in Kansas City and Minneapolis but moderate or modest growth in Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco Cleveland, and St. Louis. New York reported economic growth picked up somewhat while Philadelphia and Richmond cited improving business conditions. Banking conditions remained stable, the Beige Book said, with modest improvements in demand for lending.

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Mortgage Rates Dip as Job Numbers, Spain Disappoint

Mortgage rates fell to lows not seen in a month on the heels of an underwhelming jobs report and concerns that Spain may follow Greece into default-scenario territory. Real estate Web site Zillow found interest rates for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage zigzagging across the country, just as it fell from 3.81 percent to 3.73 percent this week. Rates for the 15-year loan hovered near 2.95 percent, while those for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages slumped to 2.56 percent. The Labor Department flattened expectations by reporting that the economy added only 120,000 jobs in March.

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Before Slowing, Home Prices Slid 0.9% in January: LPS

Home prices slid 0.9 percent in January before likely slowing to a crawl in February, analytics provider Lender Processing Services said Monday. The company released a Home Price Index that showed home prices averaging $195,000, signaling a seventh straight month of price declines. Of nearly 600 metro areas, 524 encountered price declines, with a dip in prices for 39 states. Pittsburgh emerged from the largest 26 metro areas as the only city to experience increases in average home prices since January 2005.

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