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Slight Uptick in Applications Driven Solely by Refinances

Mortgage applications increased 1.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in May, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's latest mortgage application survey released Wednesday. The survey measured application data for the week ending June 1 and included an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, application rates were not as strong, falling more than 9 percent from the previous week. Refinances continue to make up a large portion of mortgages, taking up 78 percent of activity for the week, up 1 percent from the previous week.

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Settlement Monitor Talks Selection Process for Primary Firm

The Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight continues to evolve as the monitor, a widely respected banking and housing finance chief, takes on new help from accounting and legal firms. Joseph A. Smith, Jr., onetime Federal Housing Finance Agency director-nominee, now responsible for overseeing servicer compliance under the $25 billion settlement, revealed Monday that BDO USA, LLP, would serve as the Raleigh, North Carolina-based office's eyes and ears. He spoke with MReport about the firm Wednesday.

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Thirty-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Ties Record Low: Zillow

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate tied the all-time low at 3.59 percent, down one basis point from last week, according to a Zillow report released Tuesday. The real estate Web site also found the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 2.95 percent, while rates for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages hovered at 2.6 percent. The last time Zillow reported the same low mortgage rate was May 18. New York and Illinois both saw base points decrease by 9 and 11 points respectively.

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Fannie Mae Taps Former BofA EVP for CEO

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae announced Tuesday that old hand Timothy Mayopoulos will take over as president and CEO in mid-June. The new chief executive joined Fannie three years ago to serve as EVP, chief administrative officer, and general counsel. He assumes his new role as outgoing CEO Michael Williams takes leave. Before joining Fannie Mae, Mayopolous served as EVP and general counsel of Bank of America. He also functioned in senior management roles at Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse First Boston, and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc.

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Home Prices Rose in April, May Continue: CoreLogic

Home prices across the nation rose in April, and a further increase is expected for May's index, according to CoreLogic's April Home Price Index report. The report, released Tuesday, showed that home prices in the United States increased in on a year-over-year basis by 1.1 percent in April. This was the second consecutive year-over-year increase in 2012 and the first time two consecutive increases have occurred since June 2010. On a month-over-month basis, home prices increased by 2.2 percent in April, marking the consecutive month-over-month increase this year.

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Prices See First Quarterly, Yearly Gain Since 2010: Report

For the first time since August 2010, home prices rose on both a quarterly and yearly basis, according to the May 2012 Home Data Index report released by Clear Capital. Quarter-over-quarter, prices appreciated 0.4 percent, the first quarterly increase since November 2011. Year-over-year, prices rose by 0.1 percent, according to the index. The increases were attributed to stronger regional growth in the West, Northeast, and South, as well as a rise in REO-only prices. Among the four regions, the growth was greatest in the West.

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Nationstar to Acquire $10.4B Servicing Portfolio From BofA

Nationstar Mortgage LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc., announced Tuesday that it reached a deal with Bank of America to acquire residential mortgage servicing rights for a portfolio with $10.4 billion in unpaid principal balance. The entire portfolio is backed by the GSEs. The deal was struck with a co-investment from New York-based Newcastle Investment Corp. Newcastle├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós $44 million contribution toward the purchase price of the portfolio comes with rights.

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Settlement Monitor Selects Primary Firm to Oversee Compliance

The monitor responsible for reviewing $25 billion in settlement funds announced Monday that his office has selected BDO USA, LLP, to serve as the primary professional firm needed to oversee the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós servicers. The firm will play a critical role in the oversight process as Joseph A. Smith, Jr., the former North Carolina banking commissioner selected by 49 state attorneys general to head up the settlement, begins the footwork necessary to fulfill terms and conditions under the landmark deal.

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