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Home Prices Hold Steady in July Despite Economic Headwinds

The rocky economic landscape could give way to a smoother housing sector if recent home prices signal anything, with a major Standard & Poor├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós/Case-Shiller index revealing Tuesday a marginal uptick in numbers over July. Economists chalked up the gains to a seasonal boost and suggested more stability may be on the way for a troubled housing economy. The indices reflected a 0.9-percent boon for measures of activity across 10 and 20 major metropolitan cities, a consecutive four-month increase.

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Rumored Europe Relief Sends Up Shares for Lenders

After a drought for good news, markets and mortgage lenders found reason to celebrate Monday with a late-day flood by investors to their stocks. Confidence-boosting measures by government officials led the charge by investors to lenders like Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, with central bankers in Europe mustering up an aid package for debt-ridden countries.

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RREP and WL Ross Team Up to Buy DBBM

A new acquisition is in the works for Ranieri Real Estate Partners LP (RREP) and WL Ross & Co. LLC. The companies are teaming up to purchase Deutsche Bank Berkshire Mortgage.

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Trulia: More Renters Still Want to Own Homes

Even with new-home sales tanking and recession fears redoubling over August, more renters clung onto the hope of homeownership, with 59 percent still aspiring to pocket a pair of keys and ink their names to mortgages, according to Trulia. The consensus: more than half of all homeowners believe in making the home their most important investment. According to Trulia, 70 percent of survey respondents held firmly to the idea that homeownership is central to the American Dream.

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Economic Worries Trample on New-Home Sales Over August

Despite the lure of record-low mortgage rates, fewer consumers stepped out from behind the fear of a global economic slowdown to purchase new homes, curtailing new sales by 2.3 percent month-over-month in August. Market watchers chalked up a six-month dearth to consumers wary about their job security, stock markets, and the threat of a new recession. The Census Bureau signaled a fallback to 295,000 housing units on a seasonally adjusted basis, down from 302,000 from July.

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Two New Banks Fail Despite Slowing Pace Nationally

Two financial institutions bucked a trendy crawl for bank failures by folding Friday, pushing the 2011 tally to 73. The FDIC swooped in to corral the fallout from the collapse of Nevada City-based Citizens Bank of Northern California and Norkfolk-based Bank of the Commonwealth, paying out for the former and keeping assets from the latter for disposition. California state regulators turned off the lights at Citizens Bank, while their Virginia counterparts shuttered the Bank of the Commonwealth.

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Fed: Lower Jumbo Loan Limits Unlikely to Crimp Markets

Ahead of lower limits for conforming jumbo loans, nearly assured in October as Congress disagrees even over stopgap spending bills, the Federal Reserve offered a revealing look at the market Friday by releasing a report on the health of the housing market. The consensus: falling limits will likely only nudge the jumbo loan market, not tip it over, as some critics claim. The Fed found that the current criteria for a jumbo fences in only 1.3 percent of all loans backed by GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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Study: More Mortgage Professionals Choose Paperless Lending

More loan officers, underwriters, and attorneys are filing their loan documents and closing deals in a paperless environment, according to a recent survey. Xerox released a survey Wednesday that found some 61 percent of mortgage industry professionals are ditching their loan folders, logging in to online systems, and doing more business without paper. The seventh annual Path to Paperless survey revealed some 96 percent of respondents favor a workplace without paper.

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