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Housing Analysts Jittery About Debt Default Scenario

Fueling fears about a federal default scenario, fragile debt-ceiling negotiations continued to splinter and stagnate this week, with Republicans refusing to budge on proposed tax increases and Democrats fighting to keep entitlements off the chopping block. If trends continue and the federal government defaults on its national debt, housing economists and mortgage rate analysts predict spikes in interest and mortgage rates, with steep and potentially catastrophic declines in homes sales.

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Capital Economics: Seasonal Uplift Raises Prices

A monthly update from Capital Economics holds that small upticks in home prices and sales reflect anomalous behavior in the market, thanks in part to a generous seasonal uplift. The report predicts continued falls in home sales.

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WFG National Adds Two

According to an announcement made Tuesday, WFG National Title Insurance hailed move-ups by two to its Louisiana agency division. Stephen Sklamba and Liz Pecoraro will take on new roles as VP and underwriting counsel and state sales manager, respectively. Stephen and Liz are well-established and highly regarded by a wide number of independent agencies in Louisiana, Charles Cain, SVP and agency manager, their new boss, said in a statement.

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Global Kinex Appraisal Tech Moves Up

In a statement released Thursday, Global DMS announced that the Uniform Collateral Data Portal would now offer its appraisal process management software to lenders and appraisal companies.

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Companies Eye RMBS, Signaling Comeback

If two companies have their way, residential mortgage-backed securities may make a comeback. BlackRock Inc. and Two Harbors Investment Corporation said they may make a return to AA bond ratings.

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Freddie Reveals Declines in Mortgage Rates

Freddie Mac released a southerly primary mortgage market survey Thursday, revealing downward trends for mortgage rates across the board against a backdrop of anemic job growth and steadily increasing unemployment figures. According to the GSE, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dipped to 4.51 percent falling from 4.60 percent last week and staying just under the 4.57 percent average it struck last year. The data for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages yielded a fall from 3.75 percent last week to 3.65 percent this week.

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Galante Now Acting FHA Commissioner

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In a statement released Tuesday, HUD announced the move by multifamily housing deputy assistant secretary Carol Galante to her new role as acting commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration. President Barack Obama picked Galante for the position, with rumors circulating around the Capitol that the affordable housing veteran may receive a nomination for the top role, too.

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12 Mortgage Fraud Cases, Over $12M in Losses

Twelve defendants appeared in court around the country this week to answer for charges related to mortgage fraud, conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, and making false information to financial institutions, among others. The estimated combined losses for lenders and families: some $12.4 million. Unaccounted-for: the number of delayed dreams, shattered finances, and lives adversely impacted by the crimes, alleged and otherwise. Several news agencies reported the news.

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MBIA Drops Suit Against Bank of America

After a contentious suit against Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, MBIA Inc. ended a lawsuit against the mortgage giant over $5.7 billion in bad credit default protection the insurer underwrote for the bank's mortgage-backed securities. According to the filing, MBIA and Bank of America both agreed to voluntarily withdraw the claims and cover their fees for their separate cases. MBIA had sued Merrill in April 2009 with accompanying allegations that the bank committed fraud.

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