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NAHB Projects Positive 2014 for Single-Family Homes

Speaking at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders' Show (IBS) in Las Vegas, economists expressed a positive outlook for homebuilders in 2014--with a few warnings. NAHB chief economist David Crowe noted five key points for his positive projections: ""Consumers are back, pent-up demand is emerging, there is a growing need for new construction, distressed sales are diminishing and builders see it."" However, builders still face hurdles like tight credit conditions, and difficulties in obtaining accurate appraisals.

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Application Numbers Slightly Up in January, Future Looks Hazy

Using weekly stats published by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Capital Economics calculated a 2.5 percent increase in applications last month, turning the trend around from an 18.2 percent decline in December and a 1.3 percent drop in November. With the refinance boom in the rearview, Capital Economics shifted its focus to purchase applications, which rose 3.1 percent in January. As for future movements, the firm's outlook paints an unclear picture.

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2013 Refinancers Projected to Save $21B in 2014

Borrowers who refinanced last year will save on net about $21 billion in interest over 2014, according to the results of Freddie Mac's latest quarterly refinance analysis. The company's report shows the average interest rate reduction among refinancers in the fourth quarter was about 1.5 percentage points, translating into a savings of about 25 percent. Those who refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) during Q4 saw an average rate reduction of 1.7 percentage points, meanwhile.

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IDS Expands Staff to Meet Growing Demand

International Document Services (IDS), a mortgage document preparation vendor based in Salt Lake City, touted the tremendous steps forward the company took in 2013 as demand for its services grew.

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Mortgage Demand Down in Latest Quarter, Terms Tighten

The Federal Reserve released Monday its January 2014 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey, a poll examining changes in lending standards and demand in the latest quarter. Whether it was because of higher hurdles to clear or last year's rise in interest rates, a moderate fraction of banks reported a drop in demand for prime purchase mortgages, with a combined 47.9 percent saying demand was weaker. Only 19.7 percent saw greater consumer interest in prime residential loans.

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2013 Originations Estimated at $1.8T, Big Players Give Up More Ground

For the entire year, industry numbers point to a total of $1.8 trillion in originations, well above what many analysts projected at the opening of the year. Given the current trend of declining mortgage rates and the Federal Housing Finance Agency's expected push to open credit availability at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FBR Capital Markets says we might see originations in 2014 push to $1.3 trillion or higher, depending on how the next few months play out.

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CFPB Details Ongoing Servicing Problems in 2013

A number of "unfair and deceptive" servicing practices "continued to plague consumers throughout 2013," the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says in a recent report. "Taking action against mortgage servicing practices that harm consumers is a key priority for the CFPB," Director Richard Cordray said. "Especially under the detailed protections of our new rules, we expect services to clean up their act and provide responsible customer service."

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