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Transwestern Hiring, Promoting in Midwest

Transwestern has announced the appointment of a new president for its Midwest region. The company recently named Mike Watts to the leadership role, and Watts will take over responsibilities for overall strategy, business development, recruitment, and financial performance for the region.

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First-Quarter GDP Growth Slows to 2.2% With Spending Drop

The U.S. economy grew at a disappointing 2.2 percent rate in the first quarter, the Labor Department reported Friday, down from the 3.0 percent growth rate in the fourth quarter and below expectations. Economists had expected GDP to grow at 2.5 percent in the first quarter. A drop in government spending was the biggest factor in the slowdown in growth. In dollar terms, GDP increased $73.4 billion, most of which was an increase in personal consumption - $68.1 billion.

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Mortgage Rates Hover Near Record Lows . . . Still

Debt crises in Europe once more left interest rates for mortgage loans near record lows. Finance Web site Bankrate.com found 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaging 4.09 percent, down from 4.10 percent last week, alongside a 15-year loan that hit 3.28 percent this week, down from 3.32 percent. Bankrate.com found said that 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages meanwhile fell from 3.05 percent last week to 3.03 percent this week. News out of Britain this week found that the bulwark economy slipped into a double-dip recession during the first quarter.

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PNC Financial Elects New President

PNC Financial Services Group has announced the appointment of William S. Demchak as the company's president of the corporation. The board of directors elected Demchak, who will also serve as PNC's president for its principal banking subsidiary, PNC Bank.

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Pending-Home Sales Leap Ahead in March: NAR

The Pending Home Sales Index rose sharply in March to 101.4 from February's revised 97.4, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. Economists had expected the Index to increase 1.0 percent from February. The index is now at the highest level since April 2010 when it reached 111.3. The index improved for the third straight month and fifth time in the last six month. The March reading is up 12.8 percent from March 2011, the strongest year-over-year gain since last July. The PHSI has been drifting upward, albeit modestly for most of the past two years.

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Mortgage Applications Fell 3.8% Last Week: MBA


Mortgage applications fell 3.8 percent from the week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The trade group found that application volume waned by 3.3 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis from the week before. Purchases went up 2.7 percent from one week earlier, climbing by a seasonally unadjusted 3.6 percent in the same vein. Refinance applications declined on the whole. The Refinance Index dipped by 5.6 percent from the week before, as conventional refis slipped by 6.1 percent and government refis climbed down by 2.1 percent.

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Illinois Reports Strong March Home Sales Statistics

The Illinois Association of Realtors has released March data that shows the strongest performance for home sales in the state since 2007. In addition to the rise in homes sold during the month, the IAR also reported that median pricing in the state received a lift, breaking 20 months of price declines. In addition to the rise in homes sold during the month, the IAR also reported that median pricing in the state received a lift, breaking 20 months of price declines. Sales of single-family homes and condominiums rose 21.1 percent year-over-year in March.

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New American Touts HARP 2.0 for Maryland Homeowners

In Maryland, New American Funding is working to help borrowers who may qualify for refinancing under HARP 2.0. The third-party lender allows struggling homeowners to avoid broker fees through their mortgage banking services, should the borrower meet the HARP 2.0 requirements. Current statistics show that 23 percent of Maryland's homeowners are considered underwater, owing more on their home than it is worth. Maryland's high number of underwater borrowers makes it the seventh-ranked state nationally, based on the percentage of struggling homeowners.

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Fitch Releases Report on Regional Trends, Forecasts

Fitch Ratings has released its commentary on the current rends in regional home pricing, noting that significant variability persists among each area surveyed. In its recent report, Fitch also called for the nation's housing recovery to continue at an irregular and anemic pace for the duration of 2012. Citing tighter credit standards and static levels of household income, Fitch's analysis revealed that all regions are experiencing lower prices for new home sales. According to data from Fitch, the West has been hardest hit by flagging home prices.

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