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Origination

AGA Petitions Federal Reserve, CFPB

On Capitol Hill, the American Guild of Appraisers is petitioning the Federal Reserve Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to overturn a recently adopted rule that stands in opposition to regulations contained in the Dodd-Frank Act. The AGA wrote the organization's plea based on the assertion that the Fed's new rule poses a threat to the viability of professional appraisal practice and undermines the legitimacy of real estate appraisals. The legislation in question was put in place last year by the Fed.

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B of A Ceases Mortgage Sales to Fannie Mae

Bank of America announced Thursday that it will cease making new refinance mortgage sales to Fannie Mae as the mortgage heavyweights tangle over sensitive buyback claims from the financial crisis. The bank will stop selling first-lien refinance loans to the GSE for securitization purposes this month, it said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. B of A cited "contractual delivery commitments and variances" for a halt in sales against a backdrop of legal wrangling with Fannie Mae that it called "inconsistent" with past statements from the government-sponsored enterprise.

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New Home Sales Fell Slightly in January

New home sales fell 0.9 percent in January, declining from 324,000 in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 321,000. The Commerce Department found that the new home sales from January reflected a 3.5-percent increase year-over-year, up from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 310,000. Sales in the Northeast accordingly leapt forward by 11.1 percent from December but fell 39.4 percent from January last year. The South boasted still-strong numbers on either basis, up 9.3 percent month-over-month and 15.3 percent year-over-year.

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Mortgage Rates Lift on Greek Bailout, Housing

Interest rates for mortgage loans climbed close to 4 percent this week as a second Greek bailout sowed more confidence in the investor crowd and signs emerged that housing may see an upswing. Finance Web site Bankrate.com and mortgage company Freddie Mac each released separate surveys, with analysts attributing the rise to different causes. The GSE found the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage lifting to 3.95 percent, up from 3.87 percent. Bankrate.com saw rates for the loan hit 4.16 percent, up from 4.10 percent last week.

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FHFA’s Fourth Quarter Findings a Mixed Message

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has released its data from the fourth quarter of 2011, and findings from the government organization├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós survey show that U.S. home pricing was slightly on the decline during the period. The FHFA├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós seasonally-adjusted, purchase-only house price index (HPI) demonstrated a 0.1 percent drop in pricing between quarters, and year-over-year, the statistics displayed a decrease of 2.4 percent. In spite of the national trend, however, HPI findings from the FHFA indicated that 27 states and the District of Columbia recorded a rise for the fourth quarter of last year.

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Pro Teck: February Forecast Shows Positive Trends

Releasing its February Home Value Forecast, Pro Teck Valuation Services revealed research that indicates that many core based statistical areas (CBSAs) around the U.S. are showing positive momentum. While Pro Teck's report acknowledged market data that demonstrates weak or soft status for many CBSAs, the company's recent statistics point toward a slow improvement for negative conditions throughout the country. Ranking CBSAs from "hot" to "distressed," Pro Teck also rolled out a new evaluation system with its February survey.

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Initial Claims Flat While Continuing Claims Fall Lower

First time claims for unemployment insurance were unchanged at 351,000 for the week ended February 18, following upward adjustments for numbers recorded the previous week which represented a four-year record low. The U.S. Department of Labor also reported that continuing claims fell 52,000 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the fourth drop observed during the first six weeks of the year. Total claims including emergency and extended federal programs fell 178,619 to 7,502,791 for the period, while extended claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô based on individual state unemployment rates ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô increased.

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Mortgage Application Volume Fell 4.5%: MBA

Mortgage application volume contracted by 4.5 percent from the week before, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The Market Composite Index, a measure of volume for loan applications, fell 3.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the MBA├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós weekly survey. Seasonally adjusted purchases declined by 2.9 percent from the week before and rose by 1.4 percent on an unadjusted basis. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity declined from 5.4 percent of total volume to 5.3 percent.

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Existing-Home Sales Up in January as Prices Fall: NAR

Existing-home sales rose in January for the third time in the last four months, according to the National Association of Realtors. January sales ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô completed transactions ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô were up 4.3 percent from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.57 million. December├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós total was revised downward to 4.38 million from 4.61 million. The January 2012 sales pace was up 0.7 percent from January 2011. The median price of an existing-home was $154,700 in January, down 2.0 percent from January 2011, falling to lows from 2001.

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