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Real Estate Roundtable Announces New Board Members

In Washington, D.C., the Real Estate Roundtable has announced its new roster of directors. The organization recently appointed members of the board for the 2013 fiscal year, and the Roundtable's incoming chairman and 21-person board began their terms on July 1.

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AGA Files Statement With the House Finance Subcommittee

The American Guild of Appraisers has officially filed a statement with Congressional legislators as part of a recent hearing titled, Appraisal Oversight: The Regulatory Impact on Consumers and Businesses. Conducted by the Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity Committee of the House Finance Sub-Committee, the AGA was asked to submit a statement of record to assist the lawmakers as they proposals directed at improving appraisal regulation, enforcement, and oversight. AGA said that it is also working with consumer organizations to ensure that consumers receive professional appraisals.

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Mortgage Rates Slam into New Record Lows as Europe Wobbles

Mortgage rates continued to drop Thursday as the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate slammed into a new record low of 3.87 percent, according to Freddie Mac. The GSE found that for interest rates for the 15-year loan fell to 3.13 percent, while the jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage declined to 4.47 percent, each setting record lows. Adjustable-mortgage rates were mixed, with the average 3-year and 1-year ARMs inching higher to 3.07 percent. The popular 5-year and 1-year ARMs pulled back below the 3 percent threshold.

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Mortgage Applications Drop as Interest Rates Post New Lows

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Mortgage applications decreased 6.7 percent over the week ending June 19, while interest rates also fell, finding new lows in some categories, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinances still make up a majority of applications ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô 78 percent for the week, slightly lower than the 79 percent share recorded the previous week. The amount of refinance applications fell 8 percent over the week. HARP 2.0 refinance applications stood at 20 percent three weeks ago but have been at 24 percent for the past two weeks.

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California Legislature Passes Homeowner Bill of Rights

The California State Legislature has officially passed the Homeowner Bill of Rights. The proposal was originally put forth by the state's Attorney General Kamala Harris, and the legislation is now in the hands of Governor Jerry Brown, whose signature would finalize the law. According to a recent release from the California State Legislature, the law would "institute sensible reforms to bank's foreclosure practices and create a fairer foreclosure process for California's homeowners." The bill would also end current dual-tracking processes for foreclosures.

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Initial Jobless Claims Down Ahead of Jobs Report

First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell a sharp 14,000 to 374,000 for the week ended June 30, the Labor Department said Thursday, finding the largest drop in nine weeks. The prior week's total was revised up to 388,000 from the originally reported 386,000. The drop in claims was the second week-over-week improvement and came on the weekend heading into the July 4 holiday, usually a slower period for layoffs, according to seasonal factors. An uncertain employment report will follow on Friday.

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Thirty-Year Loan Slumps to Record-Breaking Low

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slumped back to a new, record-breaking low, as manufacturing fell behind and more investors turned to the safe haven of Treasury debt. Zillow found that interest rates for the loan fell to 3.43 percent, beating a previous low of 3.48 percent for the real estate Web site and setting a new record since it started reporting interest rates in 2008. Interest rates for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.87 percent, while those for 5- and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages hovered at 2.43 percent.

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Costs and Profits Rise for Mortgage Originators: MBA

Costs are rising for mortgage originators, but they are still seeing a rise in profit, according to a recent study of independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks conducted by the Mortgage Banks Association. The net cost of originating a mortgage loan in the first quarter of this year was $3,413. When calculating net cost, MBA weighs production and operating expenses and commissions against fee income, excluding factors such as secondary marketing gains, and capitalized servicing.

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