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Analysts: U.S. Default May Crimp GSEs, Close FHA

With recent reports signaling a throwback for public officials involved in debt-ceiling negotiations, housing analysts and market watchers worry about the possible fallout for government-backed mortgages in a default scenario come August. If the federal government defaults on its debt, analysts say, still-brittle mortgage markets will splinter as mortgage rates follow spikes in Treasury yields. Concerns continue to grow after a series of breakdowns between Congress and the White House.

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MBA: Refis and Mortgage Applications Jump

On Wednesday the Mortgage Bankers Association released its weekly survey, showing jumps in mortgage applications by 15.5 percent and by 23.1 percent in refinances, respectively, from the previous week. According to the survey, mortgage loan application volume went up over 15 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, with a steady increase by 43 percent. According to the survey, mortgage loan application volume went up over 15 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, with a steady increase by 43.9 percent on an unadjusted basis from the week earlier.

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GAO Analyzes Risk-Retention Rule

On Tuesday the Government Accountability Office added to fears over rising mortgage rates by releasing a new report that casts concern on the role risk retention will play in the markets. A provision in the Dodd-Frank Act obligates the GAO to perform an economic impact analysis, making the report a timely one since it arrives on the heels of outcry from trade and industry associations. It added that mortgage-related provisions in Dodd-Frank would prescribe "tradeoffs" between additional consumer financial protection and a needed expansion in credit supply.

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NAR: June Existing-Home Sales Saunter Back

Despite a forward leap by prices, a surge in contract cancellations led to a sudden easing in existing-home sales over June, according to a National Association of Realtors report. Analysts at the trade association placed blame for the lax numbers at the feet of wary lenders and continuing economic uncertainties. According to the report, upward-bound sales across regions like the South and Midwest contrasted with dips in the Northwest and Northeast, alongside a steadily slacking condo sector.

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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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