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Clear Capital Evaluates Recent FHFA Data

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported a 1.0 percent rise in U.S. house prices between the timeframe of October to November. The previously reported 0.2 percent decrease in October was revised downward to reflect a 0.7 percent decrease, according to FHFA. Dr. Alex Villacorta of Clear Capital delivered insights on the recent findings, stating in part, "As this index is calculated using sale prices from only the conforming loan segment of the market, it has a tendency to understate both gains and losses than the broader market."

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GSEs Release Strong Refinancing Statistics

During the month of November alone, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac handled approximately 36,000 mortgages versus October's 34,000 mortgages within the Home Affordable Refinance Program. President Obama's most recent proposition aims to assist more households in refinancing, and in the president's recent State of the Union address, he presented possible modifications to the Home Affordable Refinance Program stating that "responsible homeowners shouldn't have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief."

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Ellie Mae Adds New Chief Information Officer

Ellie Mae, one of the top providers of automation solutions for the residential mortgage industry, announced today that David Robins would be joining their team as chief information officer (CIO). Robbins is the former chief technology officer (CTO) of NetApp, Inc.

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New Risk Management Initiative for Collingwood

The Collingwood Group launched a new risk management and compliance division, established with the January 2012 acquirement of GWN Consulting, LLC (GWN), a firm specializing in Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Ginnie Mae risk management and quality control.

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Financial Security On the Uptick in January

The Bankrate.com Financial Security Index made a leap in its recent release in January, from measuring a 95.8 in December to a 97.3, which is reported to be the highest score since June 2011, when the score was a reported 97.8. However, despite the seemingly positive outlook, consumers continue to feel uneasy with their financial security. Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate.com's senior financial analyst, says, "Each of the components - job security, savings, debt, net worth and overall financial security - improved over the past months."

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Mortgage Rates See First Increase in 2012

Interest rates for mortgage loans went up for the first time in several months this week but remain near historic lows. Finance Web site Bankrate.com and mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported modest increases for mortgage rates across the board. Freddie Mac found the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rising from an all-time low of 3.88 percent last week to 3.98 percent this week, far below 4.80 percent seen for the loan at the same time last year. Bankrate.com posted a similar increase from 4.18 percent last week to 4.25 percent this week. Europe's debt crises have helped keep rates low.

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New-Home Sales Hit All-Time Lows in 2011

New-home sales crawled to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 307,000 in December despite modest signs of recovery. The Commerce Department said Thursady that new-home sales fell 2.2 percent below expectations from November, which held that homebuyers would pick up a seasonally adjusted 314,000 homes annually. New homes from last month carried a median sales price around $210,300, with the average sales price hovering around $266,000. Experts suggest contract failures, foreclosures, short sales, and tight credit helped slow sales.

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Mortgage Application Volume Declines 5%: MBA


Mortgage application volume ticked down by 5 percent from the week before, with the refinance share of activity deflating sharply. The Mortgage Bankers Association adjusted the latest numbers to account for the Martin Luther King holiday in a Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey it released Wednesday. The refinance share of mortgage activity contracted by a sizeable 81.3 percent of total application volume, corresponding with a dip by 5.2 percent for the Refinance Index. Interest rates for mortgage loans by and large went up.

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