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Mortgage Rates Slam Into New Holiday Lows

Interest rates for mortgage loans slammed into new lows just before a holiday break, with investors hewing close to the safety of U.S. Treasury debt. Finance Web site Bankrate.com and mortgage company Freddie Mac released their findings in separate weekly surveys. Freddie Mac found the 30-year loan falling to 3.91 percent this week, the lowest this year, as it rocketed past a previous rock-bottom rate of 3.94 percent. Bankrate.com meanwhile found the 30-year fixed-mortgage reaching a second all-time low for the week, as rates for the loan ticked up from 4.19 percent to crest at 4.20 percent.

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Home Values Decline 0.3% in October: Zillow

Home values continued on a downward-facing slope by declining 0.3 percent in October, with more to come over 2012, according to real estate Web site Zillow. The company released a monthly Zillow Real Estate Market Report that found monthly depreciation rates nonetheless stabilizing as the housing market bottoms out. Zillow found declines for home values year-over-year by 5.1 percent to $147,900, as home values declined by 23.7 percent since peaking in May 2007.

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Mortgage Applications Fall 2.6% From Week Before: MBA

Mortgage applications fell 2.6 percent from the week before as mortgage rates slammed into news lows, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday. The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, contracted by 2.8 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis from the week before, while the Refinance Index fell 1.6 percent during the same time frame. The Purchase Index meanwhile dropped 4.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week earlier, compared with a 7.5-percent shortfall for the same on a seasonally unadjusted basis.

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Two New Executives Added at Sun National

Sun National Bank is updating is commercial lending team, with the addition of two new executives. Targeting support and growth for its middle market and commercial real estate business, Sun National has hired Anthony W. LaMarca and Joseph C. Tkac. LaMarca is joining Sun National as the company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós senior vice president and wholesale regional manager for its south New Jersey and Philadelphia markets.

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Texas Lender Expands Into Southern Region

Texas-based Supreme Lending is expanding its reach, with the recent announcement that the company added branches in Alabama. The five new locations, which are spread throughout the Southern state, are part of Supreme's growth strategy plan for 2012. Currently, Supreme's Alabama branches close nearly $500 million mortgages per year. Supreme's decision to extend its service area builds on the company's proprietary technologies and its in-house operations for underwriting, closing, and funding loans.

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UWM Fast Tracks HARP 2.0 Integration

In accordance with the government's updated Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0), United Wholesale Mortgage has announced its successful implementation of the December 1 enhancements to the initiative. The federal program, which is designed to help facilitate refinancing for distressed homeowners, is expected to increase the number of participants who are eligible for assistance.

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InHouse to Offer Direct Access to UCDP

InHouse Inc. is working to abbreviate the time it takes lenders and appraisers to deliver the correct documentation to the government-sponsored enterprises. The company recently announced that it now offers users a faster, easier method of integration and compliance with the Uniform Collateral Data Portal. Providing technology services for banks, lenders, credit unions, and other mortgage originators, InHouse will help the companies it works with adapt to the UCDP in a matter of weeks.

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Housing Starts Strongest in Nearly Two Years

A pickup in job growth and record-low mortgage rates helped fast-track housing starts to their strongest performance in nearly two years in November, with rental property construction ahead of single-family home starts. Housing starts surged by 9.3 percent month-over-month to hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000, up from 627,000 in October. The Commerce Department reported the data Tuesday via the Census Bureau. Continuing trouble in the euro zone helps keep mortgage rates at record lows.

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Homebuilder Confidence Up Two Points: NAHB

Inching forward by the largest margin since May 2010, homebuilder confidence ticked up two points from a downwardly revised 21 for single-family homes, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Current sales conditions climbed two points to 22, according to the NAHB, while sales expectations for the next six months moved up to 26, reflecting a one-point increase. The index recorded a three-point gain in prospective buyer traffic that accelerated the measure to 18, the highest seen since May 2008.

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DataQuick Sees Home Sales Rise 4% in California

DataQuick released statistics this week that reveal a 4-percent year-over-year increase in California home sales. The analytics company offered up an account of resales in California in a report released Wednesday. Condominiums and resale home sales leapt from 34,087 in October to 31,403 in November last year, with sales in the Golden State still far below lows of 25,578 seen in 2007. The company said that mortgage payments typical of homebuyers averaged $931 in November.

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