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NYT: Obama Administration Floating Refi Proposal

On Wednesday the New York Times broke a story suggesting that Obama administration officials are floating proposals to inject the ailing housing industry with needed relief, encourage the markets, and potentially energize the broader economy. If it passed with recommendations from a Columbia Business School proposal, the refinance plan could potentially infuse the economy with $118 billion in savings and add to historic highs for mortgage applications.

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FHFA: Q2 Home Prices Decline by 0.6%

Home prices for the second quarter dropped 0.6 percent beneath figures reported during the first quarter this year, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which released a price index for seasonally adjusted home purchases Thursday. Quarterly declines in prices amounted to 5.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis. Seasonally adjusted prices plunged by 5.9 percent over the past year, according to the FHFA, with a quarterly decline occurring despite an uptick in seasonally adjusted house prices month-over-month.

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Mortgage Rates Post Mixed Results

After beaching on a 50-year low last week, mortgage rates posted mixed results this week, either raising costs for mortgage borrowers or lowering costs. Weekly surveys by Freddie Mac and Bankrate disagreed with each other about the benchmark 30-year loan, with the GSE posting spikes and the company showing declines to new lows. No matter which rates went up and down, analysts said in past interviews that borrowers are unlikely to return to the market. According to Freddie, the 30-year loan jumped from 4.15 percent to 4.22 percent.

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Experts: Future for CMBS Markets Still Mixed

Even as economic uncertainty and fears of a double-dip recession continue to rile the markets, some say that commercial mortgage-backed securities, recently on a downdraft, could either slowly recover over 2011 or see a fallback. According to experts, ongoing concerns about debt crises overseas and at home could dent a rebound for the CMBS markets. Stories by Bloomberg News, Retail Traffic magazine, coupled with data from Trepp Inc. and Barclays Capital, portray gray skies for CMBS.

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Mortgage Applications Hit 15-Year Bottom Despite Low Rates

Cresting on low tides in credit supply and buyer confidence, fewer first-time and repeat homebuyers filed mortgage applications last week, according to a weekly survey released by the Mortgage Bankers Association Wednesday. The MBA said that overall mortgage loan application volume dropped 2.4 percent, with purchases slamming into a 15-year low. The Market Composite Index, which the MBA uses to gauge loan application activity, showed a seasonally adjusted squeeze in loan volume.

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Zillow: Mortgage Rates Fall. Again

Mortgage rates continued falling to new lows, according to real estate Web site Zillow, which released rates in the latest Mortgage Marketplace note Tuesday. According to Zillow, the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate loan jumped four basis points to hit 4.07 percent Saturday, up from 4.09 percent last week. Zillow tracks mortgage rates by pooling anonymous loan quotes submitted by the 1.7 million users that it says follow its Web site on a daily basis. The Zillow rates track ongoing mortgage-rate declines reported by Bankrate and Freddie Mac.

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Weiss: Mortgage Insurers Barely Make the Grade

With decisions by state regulators to close mortgage insurance practices for PMI Group, pending the company's ability to meet capital requirements, mortgage insurers continue to fall under scrutiny as a troubled industry.

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FHA Multifamily Rental Loans Hit New Highs

Despite all-time highs for home affordability, homebuilders are seeing less demand for home construction and more for multifamily rentals, with the Federal Housing Administration recently releasing a report that signals new highs for rental properties across the country. The FHA said that it has endorsed some $10.5 billion in multifamily rental housing loans ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô seven times the number of loans made three years ago and the only second time that the FHA has lent so much.

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Adding to Worries, New Home Sales Drop in July

Marking a third consecutive month, new home sales fell over July, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The drop in new home sales reflects still-weakening consumer confidence as new fears about a global economic slowdown continued to rattle stocks and markets worldwide. New single-family house sales dipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000 over July, reflecting a downward shift in estimates that fixed these numbers at a 0.7 percent decline from 300,000 homes sold over June.

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