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Q3 Home Prices Fall While Some State Sales Rise

Existing-home prices sagged in most metropolitan areas over the third quarter, pointing to a soft spot in job security for people across the country as home affordability hovers around record highs. A quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors revealed that more than two-thirds of all metropolitan areas suffered plunges in home prices from last year. The NAR found state existing-home sales falling by 0.1 percent to crest at a seasonally adjusted 4.9 million over the third quarter. First-time buyers bought up 32 percent of homes.

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LoanSifter, Google Enter New Strategic Partnership

A new strategic partnership between LoanSifter, Inc., and Google will give consumers access to online mortgage lending and real-time pricing. Through Google's comparison ads, LoanSifter will facilitate the comparison of loan products among multiple providers using its technology platforms.

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Furor Mounts Over $13M in GSE Exec Bonuses

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain under scrutiny in the wake of large salaries and bonuses for their executives, as lawmakers from both major parties mount a rare joint effort to criticize the GSEs and their federal regulator. No less than 60 senators a total of 35 Republicans and 25 Democrats crossed the aisle to circulate a letter Friday that denounced the Federal Housing Finance Agency for signing off on $12.79 million in bonuses for ten executives with the GSEs. Furor over the bonuses follows a string of changes for Freddie Mac.

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Nearly 70% Want Housing Solutions from Candidates: Survey

Nearly three-quarters of Americans will look for positions on housing from presidential candidates for the 2012 election cycle, according to a recent survey. Move, Inc. released the findings in a survey that it facilitated in phone interviews with respondents in early October. According to the survey, some seven in 10 Americans, or roughly 70 percent, expect candidates for the presidency to address housing concerns. Of these, nearly 71 percent identified themselves as Millennials. About 82 percent called housing "critical" to the recovery.

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Freddie: Equity-to-Cash Conversions Lowest in 16 Years

Giving homeowners more reason to refinance their loans, third-quarter results show that a majority of borrowers who exchanged their fixed rates for today├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós low rates on first-lien mortgages either saved big on principal or kept their current payments. Of the 82 percent of borrowers who refinanced their first-lien mortgages, 37 percent of homeowners substantially reduced their principal balance by paying in. The GSE said 44 percent maintained their original monthly loan amounts by refinancing.

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FHFA Serves Related Cos. with Subpoena

New York developer Related Cos. has been served. The company received a subpoena from the inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, as part of its investigation into business transactions between the entity and Fannie Mae. In early 2011, Related entered into a joint venture with the GSE, and through the deal, Related gained an investment stake in multiple apartment properties that were in foreclosure via Fannie. Reports signal that the FHFA's legal pursuit is only after a portion of the transaction.

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RE/MAX Launches Global Real Estate Site

A new online initiative from RE/MAX turns the spotlight on global real estate markets from Brazil to New Zealand. The company just launched Global.Remax.Com, and the site will be the first web-based portal that gives consumers access to details on home listings in countries around the world.

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U.S. Lenders Wary Ahead of Euro Crisis: Survey

A third-quarter opinion survey for loan officers revealed that more financial institutions tightened their credit supply over fears that debt-ridden euro zone countries would tear apart the content├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós currency and expose U.S. banks to danger. The Federal Reserve polled senior loan officers from 51 U.S. banks and 22 branches for the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós financial institutions at foreign branches for the October 2011 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices.

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GSEs Add New UCDP Platform Provider

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have selected a new integration platform provider, with the announcement that Solidifi U.S. will become one of the GSE's partners for their Uniform Collateral Data Portal (UCDP) module. Part of the Uniform Mortgage Data Program (UMDP), the UCDP acts as the sole portal for the submission of electronic appraisal information to the GSEs, and the technology initiative from Fannie and Freddie targets the enhancement of quality and consistency across all appraisal-related activities.

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LPS Names New VP of Investor Relations

A new head of investor relations has been announced at Lender Processing Services, with the appointment of Nancy Murphy to the leadership role. Formerly the director of investment relations for fashion retailer Stein Mart Inc., Murphy is returning to the financial industry, where she spent most of her career prior to joining the clothing company.

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