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Freddie Mac: Double-Dip Less Likely

Freddie

On Monday mortgage giant Freddie Mac published its monthly Economic and Housing Market Outlook, revealing a recovery in the rental sector and diminishing possibilities for a double-dip recession, with home sales expected to rise above the same for last year by as much as 3 to 5 percent. Households continued to feel concern over their finances, delaying action on larger-than-average purchases. Moreover, the rental housing market crept by with only a 15.2 percent pickup over the past year and through the first quarter this year.

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NAHB: Homebuilder Confidence Up in July

On Monday the National Association of Home Builders reported an increasingly sunny outlook among single-family homebuilders, with a Housing Market Index jointly released by Wells Fargo signaling a 13-point rise in homebuilder confidence-an uptick from the three-point plunge in June. In July two of the three indexes saw surges, up from steady declines over May. Current sales conditions went up to 15 from two points-the same as in May-as sales expectations for the next six months jumped by 22 points.

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Closing Will Cost You in New York

The numbers are in, and New York tops the list of states boasting the highest mortgage closing costs nationwide. The results of the Bankrate, Inc. survey demonstrate New York├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós dubious dominance in closing fees for the second straight year. Other high-cost areas rounding out the top five? Texas, Utah, San Francisco, and Idaho. Nationally, the total cost of origination and title fees has risen since last year by 8.8 percent, to an average cost of $4,070 on a $200,000 mortgage.

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Housing Analysts Jittery About Debt Default Scenario

Fueling fears about a federal default scenario, fragile debt-ceiling negotiations continued to splinter and stagnate this week, with Republicans refusing to budge on proposed tax increases and Democrats fighting to keep entitlements off the chopping block. If trends continue and the federal government defaults on its national debt, housing economists and mortgage rate analysts predict spikes in interest and mortgage rates, with steep and potentially catastrophic declines in homes sales.

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Capital Economics: Seasonal Uplift Raises Prices

A monthly update from Capital Economics holds that small upticks in home prices and sales reflect anomalous behavior in the market, thanks in part to a generous seasonal uplift. The report predicts continued falls in home sales.

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Freddie Reveals Declines in Mortgage Rates

Freddie Mac released a southerly primary mortgage market survey Thursday, revealing downward trends for mortgage rates across the board against a backdrop of anemic job growth and steadily increasing unemployment figures. According to the GSE, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dipped to 4.51 percent falling from 4.60 percent last week and staying just under the 4.57 percent average it struck last year. The data for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages yielded a fall from 3.75 percent last week to 3.65 percent this week.

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Survey: Low Job Growth Hampers Homebuilding

Financial analysis firm Zelman & Associates released a survey signaling mixed results in the homebuilding industry, with new home orders grinding to a halt in May despite 20 percent year-over-year increases. The survey reported that builder sentiment gravitated towards stability, with an industry score topping off at 32.3 on a 0-100 scale, up from 29.6 in May. The Washington, D.C., builders' market remained top dog, while other regions rose only incrementally. Homebuilding starts hovered at 613,000.

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Weak Jobs Report Hangs Over Housing Markets

Job growth slammed into a wall last month, with employment figures dropping and the number of jobless rising a grim indication that the housing markets may lose steam. According to Census data, the economy added only 18,000 new jobs in June, falling short of expectations that data would trump the 25,000 jobs brought on in May. Numbers for job loss in April and May also hit 9.2 percent and 9.1 percent, with economists saying that the market still needs a net gain of about 150,000 jobs.

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MBA: Commercial, Multifamily Originations Sluggish

According to a recent quarterly report released by the Mortgage Bankers Association, commercial and multifamily originations slowed to a rate 25 percent lower in the quarter this year than the last quarter in 2010. Titled the Commercial Real Estate/Multifamily Finance Quarterly Data Book, the report documented new signs of life in the economy, denoting $7.8 billion in profits for mortgage commitments, the highest in the first quarter in three years, reflective of a 60-percent increase from the first quarter last year.

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Renters: Owning a Home Top Priority

The National Association of Realtors released a survey this week showing strong support for the belief that homeownership is a credible and worthy goal, with 72 percent of renters surveyed agreeing that owning a home remains a top priority. The 2011 National Housing Pulse Survey signaled a 72 percent thrust among renters who want to own a home, a marked improvement from 63 percent last year. The survey revealed a backlash against the proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage rule, which critics charge will raise down payments by 20 percent.

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