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Aging Population Forces Housing to Mature

The nation's housing developments need to grow up. There are many challenges to address: Support services to allow seniors to age in place, financing residential developments ranging from independent living facilities to nursing homes, creating affordable housing for low-income and low-net-worth seniors, and enabling older homeowners to tap accumulated equity. Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research Group recently published a Data Note detailing the characteristics and housing consumption of the nation's elderly to get a clearer picture of the needs that must be addressed soon.

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Wells Fargo to Streamline Refinance Only In-House Loans

Wells Fargo recently announced that it will accept refinance applications for homeowners with FHA mortgages only if their loans are serviced in-house by the mortgage lender. Vickee Adams, a spokesperson for Wells, said in an e-mailed statement that the lender currently services more than 500,000 customers with FHA home loans that could qualify to save money by refinancing under changes at the agency. The lender will start accepting only refinance applications for in-house loans on Tuesday.

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Stock Valuations May Rise for Housing Despite Euro Crisis: Report

Despite the deteriorating situation in Europe, the United States housing market's recent gains should drive up stocks valuations for building products companies in the near future, Barclays said in a report Tuesday. Barclays├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó U.S. Building Products & Homebuilding report shows that valuations for building products stocks under the institution's coverage are in the lower half of their historical trading ranges, largely due to "fairly lackluster" first-quarter earnings caused by lag between home purchases and building products sales. Financial crises in the euro zone are also driving down building products stocks.

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Group: Housing Outlook ‘Significantly Brighter’ Than Year Ago

According to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, the key to the housing market recovery is job growth. "What the for-sale market needs most is a sustained increase in employment to bring household growth back to its long-term pace," the Joint Center said in its recent report, The State of the Nation's Housing 2012. Multifamily starts rose 54 percent and home improvement spending rose 0.6 percent over the year in 2011 and single family housing starts declined 8.6 percent over the year.

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Mortgage Rates Bounce Up From Record Lows: Freddie Mac

Mortgage rates saw increases across the board after nearly two months in record-low territory, with Freddie Mac revealing in a weekly survey Thursday that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up to 3.71 percent. The GSE found that the 30-year loan's increase ended a six-week streak of falling rates. At the same time last year, the fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.50 percent. The 15-year FRM also slid up, averaging 2.98 percent (0.7 point). The average was 2.94 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.

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Foreign Buyers Rush to Prop Up U.S. Housing Market: NAR

The combination of low housing prices and the comparative weakness of the dollar continues to push foreign buyers to the United States, raising international home sales to $82.4 billion up from $66.4 billion last year, according to the National Association of Realtors 2012 Profile of International Home Buying Activity. NAR conducted the survey and asked realtors to report their international business activities within the United States for the 12 months ending March 2012. Twenty-seven percent reported having worked with international clients this year.

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New EVPs, Chief Risk Officer for SunTrust Mortgage

SunTrust Mortgage has appointed new leadership, with the announcement of two new executive vice presidents. Peter E. Mahoney will join SunTrust as the EVP of mortgage strategy, and Jack Wixted will become an EVP and the chief risk officer for the company.

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