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Fannie Mae Fields Net Income, Evading Treasury Draw

Fannie Mae revealed that it produced $2.7 billion in net income for the first quarter this year, enough to prevent another draw from the Treasury, a first for the mortgage giant since it entered federal conservatorship in 2008. The favorable results offer a significant difference to a net loss of $6.5 billion from the same quarter last year, along with a net loss of $2.4 billion by the fourth quarter. Despite net income for the first quarter, Fannie Mae sustains a debt for more than $180 billion in taxpayer funds it has received with Freddie Mac since 2008.

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RiskSpan Rolls Out New Pricing Initiative for Structured Securities

Targeting better risk management for the mortgage-backed securities market, RiskSpan, Inc., has added a new independent pricing initiative to the company's service offerings. The enhancement will give risk managers, traders, and pricing professionals immediate, daily access to security prices and changes, enhancing risk mitigation and streamlining audits.

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Lending Declines in Q1, Remains Up Year-Over-Year

Mortgage origination numbers from the first quarter of the year are in and closing totals indicate a generally diminished lending pace. While diverse factors contributed to the decline in originations, the departure of two major correspondent lenders during the period are considered a key catalyst in driving down closings. According to statements from Mortgage Lender Ranking, residential production sunk by 5.56 percent between quarters. However, year-over-year origination tallies are in opposition to the quarter-to-quarter results, showing a 10.88 percent improvement.

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Capital Economics Sees Improvement Ahead for Housing

Noting some recent strengthening in demand in the housing market, Capital Economics suggests housing prices "are close to, or already through, their trough," and recovery will continue through the coming months. While acknowledging the decline in home sales in March, Capital Economics├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó analysts remain optimistic due to the recent increases in pending home sales. The National Association of Realtors' latest Pending Home Sales Index in March reached 101.4, its highest level since April 2010. Recent data on mortgage applications also point toward a strengthening market.

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Mortgage Applications Increase Modestly, Largely Flat

Mortgage applications went up last week as most other measures of application activity declined or stayed flat, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The trade group found that mortgage application crept forward by 1.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and 2 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis. Government applications fell for purchases and conventional loans. Purchase indices ticked up 3.5 percent from the week before on 5.4 percent increase in conventional purchases. The Government Refinance Index dipped by 2.3 percent.

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Donovan: Servicer Competition Prevents More Refinancing

Solvency issues re-emerged for the Federal Housing Administration in a hearing convened Tuesday by the Senate Banking Committee, with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan calling for lower loan-to-value thresholds and more servicer competition to expand refinance opportunities. The hearing follows a bill by Sens. Barbara Boxer and Robert Menendez to roll back refinancing barriers for homeowners with GSE-held mortgages and featured the legislation as lawmakers discussed solutions to the housing crisis. The hearing quickly turned to servicer competition.

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CoreLogic on Spring Buying Season: This Year Is Different

Home prices declined by 0.6 percent on an annual basis in March, according to CoreLogic's latest Home Price Index, released Tuesday. However, when distressed sales ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô foreclosure sales and short sales ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô are taken out of the equation, the nation actually experienced a rise in home sales from March 2011 to March 2012 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô an increase of 0.9 percent. Also notable: Overall home prices ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô including distressed sales ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô rose on a monthly basis in March for the first time since July 2011. Accounting for all transactions, prices are now 33.7 percent below their April 2006 peak.

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MGIC Writes $1.7B in New Insurance in April

MGIC, the nation's largest private mortgage insurer, released its monthly earnings report Tuesday, revealing $1.7 billion in new insurance written during the month of April. This comes after last month's announcement that in the first quarter of this year, MGIC wrote $4.2 billion in new insurance. MGIC is still suffering from elevated delinquencies, though they did fall slightly over the month from 160,473 delinquent loans to 156,698 delinquencies recorded at the end of the month. While 9,717 delinquent loans were cured during the month of April, 10,134 loans received new notices of delinquency.

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Elections Overseas Drive Mortgage Rates to All-Time Lows

Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages slid this week to 3.65 percent, a four-year low made feasible by turmoil in French and Greek elections, real estate Web site Zillow said Tuesday. The 30-year loan fell from 3.69 percent last week and represents the lowest recorded by Zillow since the Web site began tracking mortgage rates in April 2008. Interest rates for the 30-year also zigzagged across the country, falling most steeply in places like Colorado and Illinois. Rates for the 15-year fixed-rate loan averaged 2.91 percent, alongside 2.52 percent for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages.

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