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Confusion Over Reverse Mortgages Linked to Higher Foreclosures

The CFPB released a report Thursday showing that although reverse mortgages are meant to help borrowers in retirement, they are in fact causing problems for many who don├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ót fully understand them. A reverse mortgage is a type of home loan that lets older homeowners access the equity they have built up on their homes and defer loan payment until they sell the home, move out, or pass away. The original purpose of reverse mortgages was to allow these homeowners to convert home equity into retirement income.

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Mortgage Rates Stay Flat as Europe Trembles

Mortgage rates remained somewhat flat for the week ending June 28, according to Freddie Mac├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Average fixed mortgage rates remained largely unchanged, helping to keep affordability high for buyers in the market to purchase a home or looking for a refinance. The 30-year fixed averaged 3.66 percent (0.7 point), staying level with the all-time low that was achieved the previous week. At this time in 2011, the 30-year fixed averaged 4.51 percent. The 15-year fixed averaged 2.94 percent (0.7 point), down slightly from 2.95 percent the previous week.

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First-Quarter GDP Growth Crawls at 1.9%

The US economy grew at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in the first quarter, the Labor Department said Thursday. The BEA report was consistent with market expectations but emphasized a moribund economy. The economy had expanded at a 3.0 percent pace in the fourth quarter of 2011. In economic measurement terms, these data are ancient economic history, since the second quarter ends Saturday. The advance first quarter GDP report will be released on July 27. The data released so far for April, May, and early June suggest second-quarter 2012 economic activity may have grown even less rapidly.

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Mortgage Applications Fall 7.1%, Prompted by Refinance Decline

Mortgage applications decreased 7.1 percent over the week last week with an 8 percent decline in refinance applications contributing largely to the decrease, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. The decline was the same for an unadjusted and seasonally adjusted index. The percentage of mortgage applications made up by refinance applications fell slightly from 80 percent the previous week to 79 percent for the week. Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate loans ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô with both conforming and jumbo loan balances ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô increased slightly for the week.

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Bank, Groups Go After CFPB to Declare It Unconstitutional

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau faces a new legal challenge as a Texas community bank and two conservative groups launch a lawsuit to undo it and the financial reform law that created it two years ago. The Big Spring, Texas-based State National Bank recently paired with the Competitive Enterprise Institute and 60 Plus Association to sue the embattled consumer bureau in federal court. The suit challenges the constitutionality of the CFPB and Dodd-Frank Act, as well as Richard Cordray's appointment.

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Hollywood Legends List Mullholland Drive Estate for $6.995M

Legendary Hollywood couple Warren Beatty and Annette Bening are selling their Beverly Hills home. The Beatty-Benings put their luxury pad up for for lease last year, but after failing to snag an interested tenant, they've listed the property, which is located on famed Mullholland Drive, for $6.995 million.

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Virginia Man Sentenced Over Role in Mortgage Fraud

SIGTARP announced Tuesday that a Virginia man was sentenced earlier in the week to more than seven years in prison for running a fraudulent mortgage-rescue business. Howard R. Shmuckler of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced to 90 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. He was found guilty of running a mortgage-rescue business that received substantial amounts in fees but only modified clients├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó mortgages in a few cases. Shmuckler pleaded guilty to six counts of wire fraud on April 10.

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Pending-Home Sales Make Strong Debut in May: NAR

The Pending Home Sales Index rose a strong 5.9 percent in May to 101.1, returning to its level of March, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. The index had slipped in April to 95.5 after reaching its highest level since April 2010. The index is up a solid 13.3 percent since May 2011. The report is another in a string of positive signs for the housing sector. Pending home sales are counted when sales contracts are signed, and are viewed as a leading indicator of existing home sales, according to NAR.

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Home Prices Strengthen with Second Consecutive Monthly Increase

April marked the second consecutive month of monthly home price gains but posted a 2.4 percent decline year-over-year, according to FNC├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Residential Price Index. However, FNC notes that the yearly decline ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£marks the slowest pace of price declines since the housing crash.├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø FNC, an appraisal technology provider, recorded a 0.6 percent price increase in April based on prices in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. FNC relies on public records and real-time appraisals of neighborhoods and properties. Some cities to experience declines in April do not appear to be anomalous.

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