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Clouds May Lift for Housing, Economy by 2014: Survey

Housing lingered in the doldrums of a recovery last year but may pick up by 2014 as the U.S. economy generally improves, analysts and economists said Wednesday. The Urban Land Institute polled 38 real estate analysts and economists to signal their expectations for "broad improvements" in the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós economy and real estate markets in 2012. The survey revealed that transaction volume in commercial real estate markets could reach as much as $312 billion in 2014, up from a projected $250 billion in 2012. The news is welcome for an industry that has stayed under a cloud since the crisis.

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New Study Reveals Top 10 Cities for Financial Jobs

The U.S. job market has continued to make headlines during recent months as high unemployment numbers persist in many areas around the country. A study by Accounting Principals, an accounting and financial staffing firm, combined statistics gleaned from the company's internal data, as well as information on the nation's current volume of jobs openings and general economic conditions in the regions observed to establish which cities are likely to be most lucrative for job seekers in the finance field.

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HARP Shores Up Slowing Refinance Activity: MBA

A climb for mortgage rates last week cooled mortgage applications, leading overall volume to edge down by 2.7 percent. The Mortgage Bankers Association found in a weekly survey that the refinance share of mortgage activity also continued a six-week streak of declines, with a deflation from 73.4 percent of total applications to 71.9 percent last week. The Refinance Index accordingly ticked down by 4.6 percent from the week before, falling to the lowest figures since December last year. The MBA attributed the dip in a statement to a 12-percent decline in government refinance activity.

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Realtor Referrals Supply One-Third of Business for Lenders: Survey

Referrals from real estate agents guide about one-third of mortgage-financing decisions for today├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós homebuyers, according to a recent survey. Campbell Surveys and Inside Mortgage Finance polled about 1,800 Realtors in January to learn that agents recommended about 60 percent of the business for mortgage lenders. The survey inferred from the results that real estate agents influence or shape some 34 percent of mortgage-financed home purchases. Recommendations by many agents came about as a result of pre-existing relationships with lenders.

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Mortech Upgrades Lending Management Platform

Lenders utilizing the MarksmanLMP platform from Mortech, Inc., are set to gain an advantage when analyzing a borrower's credit score. The company recently announced that it would add a credit report solution to the technology module that will provide faster access to information on potential consumers.

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A Five Star Send-Off for FSI’s CEO

The Five Star Institute, parent company for MReport, is saying goodbye to friend and CEO Ed Delgado. Joining Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, Delgado will leave FSI to become the company's chief operating officer. Delgado boasts more than two decades of experience in the mortgage banking industry and was responsible for founding the company's Lender Leadership League while with FSI.

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Mortgage Rates Still Historically Low But Stable: Zillow

Mortgage rates continued to show signs of stability this week, with rates for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage largely repeating a series of bumpy but steady fluctuations. Real estate Web site Zillow fielded 3.88 percent for the 30-year loan, nine basis points down from 3.97 percent last week after a back-and-forth between 3.89 percent and 3.98 percent. The company said that rates for the 15-year loan averaged 3.1 percent this week, with those for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages not far behind at 2.72 percent.

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Despite Crisis, Americans Still Believe in Homeownership: Survey

Job and employment figures may keep homeowners near the sidelines, but more Americans still value homeownership and consider it an investment worth making, according to a recent survey. Mortgage giant Fannie Mae polled some 3,000 respondents during the fourth quarter and revealed the figures in a Quarterly National Housing Survey Tuesday. More Americans prefer homeownership to the alternative ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô renting ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô and see it as an investment in their futures. The belief in homeownership also extended to respondents across all education levels.

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QBE FIRST Appoints New CEO

QBE FIRST has named a new CEO, recently announcing the appointment of Christopher Davies to the executive position. The company will capitalize on Davies' two decades of experience in the banking and mortgage industries to promote the growth of QBE FIRST throughout North America.

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Central Pacific Announces New Executive Leadership Role

Central Pacific Financial Corp. has announced the addition of a new executive position within the company's subsidiary, Central Pacific Bank. The financial institution has appointed Lance Mizumoto to the newly established role of executive vice president and chief banking officer. Mizumoto has been a part of CPB since 2005, and most recently, he served as the bank's executive vice president of the commercial markets group. During his three decade career in the industry, Mizumoto has garnered extensive leadership experience in corporate banking, commercial lending, and trade finance.

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