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AREAA Announces New Chair-Elect for Directorship

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The Asian Real Estate Association has named Ivan Choi as its chair-elect. Choi will assume the leadership post following the AREAA's national convention in September, where he will be officially installed as the organization's chairman of the board.

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CFPB Director Talks Mortgage Lending Reform

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, laid out the agency├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós aims to reform mortgage lending standards before a congressional subcommittee Monday. Speaking before House lawmakers, Cordray acknowledged that although the Dodd-Frank Act has had a hand in improving most consumer lending markets, tight mortgage lending standards have kept creditworthy borrowers out of homes. In an effort to fix these issues, Cordray said that CFPB is proposing ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£clear rules of the road├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø to address each stage of the mortgage process and to rebuild consumer and investor confidence.

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Thirty-Year Loan Slides to New Low Amid Downgrades

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slid to 3.35 percent, setting a new low for Zillow, as Europe braced for another wave of credit downgrades. The real estate Web site found the 15-year home loan averaging 2.8 percent, while interest rates for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages each hovered at 2.52 percent. She added that Zillow expects mortgage rates to remain near record lows as investors keep watch on economic stability in Europe. Mortgage rates zigzagged lower across the country, falling by as much as 10 basis points in Florida.

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Home Values Bump Up for First Time Since 2007

For the first time since 2007, home values saw a year-over-year gain in the second quarter of 2012, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. The index showed homes increased in value by 0.2 percent to $149,300 from last year├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós second quarter. Additionally, values have increased for the fourth month in a row. Out of 167 metros covered by Zillow, 53 posted increases from the second quarter of 2011 to the same quarter this year. Values in Phoenix rose by 12.1 percent, the highest among other metros during the same time period.

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Pamela Anderson Will Let You Live in Her Malibu Manse

Pamela Anderson has many followers and fanatics thanks to her status as the world's most famous Playmate, and those who want to get a little closer to Anderson can now do so by renting her Malibu pad. However, the opportunity comes with a serious price tag, and Anderson is asking $50,000 per month to dwell in her 2,750-square-foot abode.

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Walnut Place Drops Suit in Countrywide Settlement

A major player in the ongoing Countrywide settlement dropped its suit against the defunct mortgage unit on Monday. According to news services, Walnut Place, otherwise known as Baupost Group, withdrew objections to a proposed $8.5 billion settlement currently under way with Bank of America, which bought Countrywide in 2008. Several reports held that a tentative deal had been reached by institutional investors last year to settle allegations of systematic misrepresentation.

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Growth Estimates Point South for Fannie Mae

A weakened second quarter may indicate a slowdown in economic activity for the rest of the year, Fannie Mae reported Monday. According to a report from the GSE, its Economic & Strategic Research Group may have been too optimistic in its original 2012 GDP growth projection of 2.2 percent. Its revised growth rate estimate is 2.0 percent. Despite the downgrade in anticipated economic growth, Fannie Mae found a silver lining in the housing market. Year-over-year, home sales increased by 9 percent, and single-family housing starts are nearly 20 percent higher (although still below healthy norms).

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Five Banks Fail, Drawing Nearly $150M from the FDIC

Five banks failed Friday, requiring an estimated total of $150 million from the FDIC. Banks failed in Illinois, Kansas, Georgia, and Florida with the greatest expense stemming from a single bank in Illinois. The FDIC estimates the failure of Second Federal Savings and Loan Association of Chicago will lead to a total cost of $76.9 million. Hinsdale Bank & Trust Company, based in Hinsdale, Illinois, has assumed all the deposits of Second Federal Savings and Loan Association of Chicago as well as $14.2 million in assets, mostly cash.

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