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Underwater Loans Down by Half in First Quarter

Underwater

The number of underwater borrows dropped by nearly half from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013, Lender Processing Services (LPS) reported in its May Mortgage Monitor. As of the end of Q1, the total share of mortgages with loan-to-value (LTV) ratios of greater than 100 percent was down to 14.7 percent of all currently active loans. Even in the Western "sand states," where borrowers have struggled in recent years, LPS reported underwater loans were down as much as 53 percent year-over-year.

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Commentary: Unintended Consequences

When Congress enacted Dodd-Frank in retribution for perceived ills, you had to know banks would come up with new ways to replace lost revenues, but bankers were too clever by half.

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Asking Prices Up 10.7% in June

The newest Price Monitor report from Trulia shows asking prices are heating up along with the weather. The company reported a 10.7 percent year-over-year increase and a 1.5 percent month-over-month improvement. Trulia also tracked the 100 largest metro areas and revealed 99 markets experienced an increase in asking prices over the last year. According to Trulia's chief economist Jed Kolko, the increase in home prices and mortgage rates has added a significant cost to homeownership.

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Connecticut Home Sales Climb Year-Over-Year in May

May was a strong month for home sales in Connecticut, the Warren Group reported. According to the group, sales in the state rose 2.9 percent year-over-year to 2,356. It was the highest number of transactions recorded for the month since May 2010 and the first time since January that sales volume increased on a yearly basis.

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Homebuyer Demand Softens in June

Homebuyer interest diminished somewhat in June, according to Redfin's Real-Time Demand Pulse. According to the brokerage, the number of customers taking tours fell 1.9 percent month-over-month in June, sinking even further than the 1.5 percent drop recorded last year. For the last week of the month, Redfin reported a 2.7 percent decline in tour requests from the prior week (compared to a 2.3 percent decline the same week in 2012). With closed sales typically peaking each year in June, Redfin expects continued monthly declines.

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Payrolls Up 195K, Unemployment Rate Flat in June

Adding new pressures for the Federal Reserve, the nation's economy added 195,000 jobs in June, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 7.6.percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday. Economists had forecast payrolls would grow by 165,000, and that the unemployment rate would dip to 7.5 percent.

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Analyst: Bubble Risk Minimal, Economy Safe from Impact

bubble

With headlines announcing rapid gains in home prices--some even detailing double-digit gains--Moody's Analytics says "there is little wonder that many fear a new housing bubble is developing despite the hard lessons of the Great Recession." However, Celia Chen, senior director of economic research at Moody's, dispenses these fears in her article, "Popping Housing Bubble Fears," published in the firm's most recent report. Even if prices do decline, Chen says the result would be "less damaging to the broader economy" than the market burst in 2008.

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