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Mortgage Rates Smash New Records on Europe Debt Fears

A rush by overseas investors to the safe haven of U.S. Treasury debt helped whittle away at yields and force mortgage rates to all-time lows, a short-term boon to creditworthy homebuyers. With the 30-year benchmark loan smashing new records, analysts for mortgage giant Freddie Mac and finance Web site Bankrate.com chalked up the favorable rates to a wobbly Greece and unsettled concerns over euro zone markets. Bankrate.com and Freddie Mac report the latest mortgage rates each week.

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Mortgage Applications Jump to Seasonal 6.3%

Mortgage application volume jumped from the previous week by 6.3 percent, reflecting the highly attractive plunge by interest rates to record lows, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Even so, the good news comes amid a fall in home valuations and cash buyer interest, which Capital Economics says will likely depress sales activity across the housing market. Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac, spoke to MReport about the forces behind anemic demand for home purchases at the Five Star Conference and Expo in Dallas.

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Mega Banks Team Up to Give Homes to Vets

Three of the largest U.S. financial institutions are teaming up to fund a major home giveaway for injured veterans, in collaboration with the Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF) JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America are making donations to provide seven mortgage-free homes to American soldiers hurt in the line of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. The banks are partnering with other industry entities to create the housing gift, which part of MWSF's Homes4WoundedHeroes program.

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By the Numbers: Survey Shows Best Investment Markets Q3

Numbers between the second and third-quarters of the year lend an in depth look at the real estate markets to invest in now. According to HomeVestors and Local Market Monitor, Inc., now is the time to buy in some of the nation's most compromised areas. The latest data reveals that around 14 percent of single-family residential properties are maintained as rental products, and the company's statistics demonstrate the key locations yielding a high risk-return premium based on national averages.

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Fidelity Bank Hires New Mortgage Leader

New

Fidelity Bank has hired a new leader for its mortgage division with the addition of John M. Pruitt. Charged with full management of the financial institutions mortgage services, Pruitt will join the bank's Atlanta headquarters. Boasting more than 26 years of retail mortgage experience, Pruitt has been in previous executive positions with various companies in the mortgage industry.

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CoreLogic Survey Shows Moderately Positive Q2 Data

CoreLogic has released second-quarter numbers that shed some positive light on struggling markets. The company's most recent survey indicates that negative equity is on the decline in some of the most affected areas, and additional results show that many homeowners with underwater mortgages are paying higher interest rates on those loans. Borrowers in negative equity at the close of the second quarter totaled 10.9 million, for a market share of 22.5 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, representing a slight downward trend.

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Rep. Frank to Update Plans for FOMC Overhaul

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is speaking out again on new legislation that would block regional presidents within the Federal Reserve system from voting participation in the Federal Open Market Committee. Rep. Frank, author of the proposed bill, is seeking to replace five seats on the committee ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô those traditionally reserved for the presidents of regional Fed banks ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô with four hand-selected individuals, chosen by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Rep. Frank is also said to be working on an updated version of the legislation.

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Bush, Lawmakers Mull Housing Finance, Past and Future

Lawmakers butted heads over their intentions for GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at a hearing Tuesday, with Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee seeking private-sector solutions while a number of Democrats called the federal government a needed buttress in housing finance. MReport captured a look back by former President George W. Bush at the federal bailouts orchestrated by his administration during the financial crisis.

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S&P Launches Five New Sub-Industry Indices

Standard & Poor's is enhancing its index offerings, and S&P's new additions are aimed at evaluating the performance of specific sub-industries within the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS). The five new indices from S&P include the Banks Select Industry Index, Capital Markets Select Industry Index, Insurance Select Industry Index, Mortgage Finance Select Industry Index, and the Regional Banks Select Industry Index. Additionally, the Software & Services Select Industry Index will launch in late September.

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