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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

application

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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New Hire for Avison Young’s Los Angeles Division

Avison Young is bolstering the leadership for its West Coast brokerage operations with the announcement that Martin McDermott will join the company's West Los Angeles office. McDermott, a commercial real estate broker, will focus on office and retail property transactions in his new role for Avison Young.

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Mortgage Rates Rise Slightly This Week: Zillow

After falling to new lows last week, interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages climbed to 3.82 percent, real estate Web site Zillow said Tuesday. The Web site polled anonymous quotes from online users to release the latest Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, which it offers weekly. While the 30-year loan averaged 3.8 percent, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage hovered around 3.12 percent. Mortgage rates have remained near all-time lows as investors continue to flee from European markets, which remain afflicted by concerns over their debt crises.

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Zillow Launches New Neighborhood Platform

Zillow is making it easier for home shoppers to gain information about the homes they are interested in purchasing with the launch of its Neighborhood Advice tool. The popular website will allow potential home buyers to learn more about the neighborhood they are targeting via social media outlet, Facebook.

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Illinois Home Sales Climbed in December

Illinois received an unexpected gift during December - rising home sales. Crediting the unseasonably mild weather, low mortgage interest rates, and attractive market pricing, the state recorded its sixth consecutive month of increasing numbers of homes sold. According to the recent report released by the Illinois Association of Realtors, the total number of homes sales during December was up 14 percent year-over-year. Overall, data from Illinois showed 8,828 homes sold for the month, off of 7,746 sold during December 2010.

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