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Housing Scorecard Reveals Slippery Recovery

Though the skies above the housing market appear to be clearing, the July edition of the Obama administration├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Housing Scorecard warns of another storm to come. HUD and Treasury Department released the latest scorecard Friday, providing a look at a market in recovery but threatened by an expected increase in foreclosure activity. According to the report, foreclosure starts and completions both declined in June, painting a picture of continued recovery. However, officials expect foreclosure activity to pick up in coming months as firms lift delays in foreclosure processing.

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LPS Settles With Missouri AG in Signing Errors Case

Lender Processing Services, Inc., announced Thursday that an agreement was reached between subsidiary DocX, LLC, and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. The agreement between the parties resulted in a dismissal of criminal charges pending against DocX. In February 2012, Koster obtained criminal indictments against DocX related to its alleged role in the mortgage-document surrogate signing scandal of 2010. Officials alleged that DocX earned approximately $363,000 in total revenue from mortgage documents with signing errors between 2008 and 2010.

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Home Prices Increase In May, as Delaware Leads: LPS

Lender Processing Services released Friday its latest Home Price Index report, showing that prices increased both month-over-month and year-over-year. The report, based on residential real estate transaction data as of the end of May, revealed that the home price index for the month was $202,000, a 0.9 percent month-over-month increase and a 3.2 percent increase from the start of the year. In addition, May's index represented a 0.4 percent year-over-year increase.

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Star Trek-Themed Home Boasts Galactic Price Tag


An Australian homeowner who used his wealth to build a lavish, sci fi-themed estate has listed his galactic dream home for $10.5 million. According to the Wall Street Journal, the individual who created the luxury property is an avid fan of Star Trek, and he designed his house to mimic the television show's famous vessel, the Starship Enterprise.

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Economy Surprises With 163,000 New Jobs in July

The nation added a surprising 163,000 jobs in July but the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent as the number of people working actually declined, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. At the same time, June's paltry job gains originally reported at 80,000 were reduced to 64,000 while May├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós job numbers edged up to 87,000 from 77,000. Average weekly hours remained 34.5 and average hourly earnings rose to $19.77 from $19.75, continuing pressure on household incomes, as the economic recovery sputters along.

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Mortgage Rates Tick Up After Three Months

Freddie Mac announced Thursday that after more than three months of record-low drops, mortgage rates slid up this week. Freddie Mac's survey showed that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.55 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending August 2, up from 3.49 percent the previous week. Before this week, the average 30-year FRM had fallen to or matched record-low levels for 13 of the past 14 weeks. The 15-year FRM also slid up, averaging 2.83 percent (0.6 point) from 2.80 percent last week.

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Former Morgan Stanley Leader Launches Investment Firm

Morgan Stanley├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós former head of U.S. housing strategy, Oliver Chang, has formed an asset management firm targeting investments in the single-family rental market, recently co-founding Sylvan Road Capital, LLC. The newly formed company from Chang, Robert Lee, Sarah Lee, and Gavin Kleinknecht expects to put more than $1 billion into the market during the next two years.

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IBKC Closes Acquisition of Gulf Bancorp, Florida Gulf Bank

Another large acquisition in the Florida market has been completed, with the announcement that IberiaBank Corporation (IBKC) has purchased Gulf Bancorp, Inc., and its subsidiary, Florida Gulf Bank. IBKC's deal closed following the end of business on July 31, the same day that BB&T Corporation concluded its buy out of BankAtlantic

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Live Like an Olympian in Michael Phelps’ $1.42M Condo

modern home

Though his performance during the 2012 Olympic games has been less dominant than anticipated, Michael Phelps is proving his commitment to competition, having recently jumped into the volatile real estate market. According to Zillow, Phelps has listed his Baltimore condominium for $1.42 million.

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Initial Jobless Claims Up, Less than Expected

First time claims for unemployment insurance rose 8,000 for the week ended July 28 to 365,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected 370,000 initial claims. The prior week├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós total was revised up to 357,000 from the originally reported 353,000. Continuing claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on a one-week lag ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô fell 19,000 to 3,272,000 from the prior week's 3,291,000, revised from the originally reported 3,297,000. The numbers reflected a slightly stronger labor picture after a volatile few weeks.

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