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Origination

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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Carwin Advisors Forecasts Recovery for Las Vegas, Phoenix

Revealing results from its predictive modeling survey of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Phoneix, Arizona, Carwin Advisors is forecasting the recovery timeline for both metropolitan areas. According to Carwin, Las Vegas will have a longer wait for housing market improvement, while Phoenix is expected to be well on the way to recovery by 2013. Carwin predicts that the housing market will eventually normalize to levels of new and existing home sales that were average for the metro area during the early 2000s.

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DRI Adds New Sales Position, Promotes Schaefer to SVP

Bolstering support for its executive sales and client activities , DRI Management Systems, Inc., is enhancing its leadership lineup. The technology solutions company has hired Michael J. Bailin to the newly added position of regional sales executive for the western states division, and DRI also announced the recent promotion of Nancy Schaefer to the role of senior vice president of client operations.

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Ex-Linebacker, Realtor, Many Others Nabbed for Fraud

A Realtor and mortgage broker, his wife, and several others found themselves in the crosshairs of prosecutors Tuesday, along with a former Dallas Cowboys linebacker and nine co-conspirators. MReport sourced the stories from two news outlets to create the mortgage fraud blotter for Tuesday. According to one news source, former linebacker William Tisdale received convictions along with nine co-conspirators for their involvement in millions of dollars in mortgage fraud from the North Texas area.

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Mortgage Rates Up on Greek Bailout 2.0: Zillow

Signaling the still-steady role played by eurozone affairs in U.S. markets, real estate Web site ZIllow found interest rates for mortgage loans by and large rising this week. The Web site found the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticking up to land somewhere between 3.67 percent and 3.76 percent before arriving at the latter rate Tuesday. For the 15-year loan, the rate hovered around 3 percent, while rates for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages stayed near 2.75 percent.

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CFPB Convenes Panel to Review Mortgage Disclosure Forms

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took steps Tuesday to engage mortgage lenders by forming a small business panel to review the integration of mortgage disclosure requirements into a single uniform document. The Dodd-Frank Act obligates the bureau to streamline conflicting rules and statutory requirements from the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and Truth-in-Lending Act. The CFPB billed the panel as a way to increase transparency with mortgage lenders.

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FHFA Proposes Remaking Secondary Mortgage Market

The federal agency responsible for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released a proposal Tuesday that calls for lawmakers to gradually wean the GSEs off taxpayer funds and stand up a new secondary market, replete with new institutions, securitization measures, and servicing standards. The proposal outlines steps for ways to shift risk and responsibility from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to a new market that lawmakers would need to establish without destabilizing a cornerstone of the economy.

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Ex-Mayoral Candidate, Woman Sentenced for Mortgage Fraud

Fraud

A onetime candidate for mayor of a city in Georgia and woman in New Jersey found themselves sentenced by separate courts to several years in prison. MReport sourced the stories Monday from several news outlets. According to one, ex-mayoral candidate Gregory Cordell, a real estate agent and developer, received his sentence for $1.25 million in mortgage fraud for a property in Cartersville. The woman in New Jersey bilked CitiFinancial out of funds for a mortgage, according to another news source.

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