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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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PHH Mortgage to Subservice $15.5B in HSBC Loans

PHH Mortgage Corp. revealed Monday that it will supply private-label mortgage origination services to HSBC Bank, an agreement that brought approval from market experts. The Mt. Laurel, New Jersey-based financial institution and subsidiary of PHH Corp. said that it would subservice HSBC's $15.5 billion prime mortgage loan portfolio, along with $36.6 billion of loans serviced by the bank for third-party investors. PHH said that it expected 400 HSBC employees would transfer from its Depew, New York-based facilities to operations elsewhere in the area.

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Affordability, Inventory Improve, Still Shy of Full Recovery

The U.S. housing market continues to trudge down the slow, bumpy road to recovery with a few positive indicators lighting the way. However, a full recovery continues to linger listlessly on the horizon. Obama's Housing Scorecard for April, released jointly by HUD and the Treasury Department, reveals some positive movement in home sales, though prices continue to languish in many markets. Another piece of good news for the market: Housing inventory is now at a sustainable level. The market currently holds a 5.3-month supply of new homes.

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Florida Bank Goes Under, Lifting Tally to 23

Federal regulators shuttered a Florida bank Friday, raising the national bank failure tally so far this year to 23. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency closed the North Lauderdale-based Security Bank, National Association, and appointed the FDIC receiver. The financial institution went under with $101 million in total assets and $99.1 million in total deposits. The costs to the agency├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Deposit Insurance Fund totaled $10.8 million, a fact the FDIC said marked the least costly resolution for it this year.

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GOP Lawmakers Slam CFPB for Withholding Budget Plans

House Republicans recently called on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to release financial plans and performance targets for the next year. In a letter obtained by MReport, Reps. Michael Fitzpatrick, Randy Neugebauer, and James Renacci slammed the agency by calling it unresponsive to their requests for budget details. The House members frequently made mention of the national debt, tying perceptions of government excess and waste to their demands for congressional oversight of the bureau. The Fed-funded bureau remains at the center of a political storm.

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Wells Fargo Takes Top Spot for Commercial, Multifamily Originations

The Mortgage Bankers Association released a report Friday that ranked mortgage giant Wells Fargo last year's top commercial and multifamily mortgage originator. The trade group offered a set of comprehensive listings responsible for tracking originations by different investor groups. Wells Fargo snagged mentions in several listings, including those for commercial banks, savings institutions, Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration, Real Estate Investment Trusts, and other investors.

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Freddie Mac Sees $577M in First-Quarter Net Income

Freddie

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac saw $577 in net income over the first quarter, less than $619 million for the same by the fourth quarter last year. The GSE said that its net worth deficit would require a Treasury draw of $19 million, adding that it offset comprehensive income over the first quarter by senior preferred dividends worth $1.81 billion. The company laid claim to more than $114 billion of liquidity in the mortgage market over the first quarter, including $89 billion single-family refinance loans that resulted in an estimated $1.4 billion in aggregate annual interest savings.

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D+H Acquires Avista Solutions With $40B Purchase

Davis + Henderson Corp. recently expanded the scope of its mortgage loan origination software by acquiring Avista Solutions, Inc. The Toronto, Ontario-based lender listed $40 million for a purchase price and said it would tap into existing credit facilities to expand credit facilities. D+H billed the move as one that allows it to complement the Mortgagebot subsidiary it currently owns and uses to reach more than 1,100 banks and credit unions.

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More Slow Growth as Economy Adds Only 115K Jobs

The nation added 115,000 jobs in April, far below expectations and a drop from March├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós revised payroll growth of 154,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The closely watched unemployment rate dipped again to 8.1 percent ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô its lowest level since January 2009 (7.8 percent) when President Obama took office ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a function of a sharp drop in the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós labor force. Payroll gains for February and March were revised, adding 19,000 to the February numbers and 34,000 to March. The average workweek remained at 34.5 hours.

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Asking Prices for For-Sale Homes Up in April

Homes for sale saw their asking prices tick up 0.5 percent in April, more than in March, according to Trulia. Asking prices climbed quarter-over-quarter by 1.9 percent, while price increases unadjusted for seasonality went up 4.8 percent. Prices for for-sale homes also went up 0.2 percent nationally. Miami and Phoenix saw the biggest increases among asking prices, with figures up by more than 15 percent year-over-year. Forty-four of the 100 largest metro areas observed year-over-year price increases, while pickups took place in 92.

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