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GSEs Step Up Presence in Multifamily Sector

The GSEs have increased their presence in the multifamily loan sector over the past several years, relying on these loans to meet affordable housing goals, according to a recent study by the Government Accountability Office (GOA). From 1994 through 2011, both GSEs generally increased the amount of multifamily loans they held. Fannie Mae generally held a lower percentage of multifamily loans than Freddie Mac. However, the trend changes slightly around 2008.

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Redfin: September Home Prices Avoid Usual Seasonal Retreat

Home prices in September were up 5 percent year-over-year while home sales posted a 4 percent annual increase, even as housing metrics began their typical seasonal declines, according to Redfin's analysis of activity across 19 major U.S. markets. Between August and September, these 19 markets saw prices decline just 0.8 percent, which Redfin says is a smaller decline than is customary at this time of year. Over the same period, home sales dropped 17 percent├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øa figure the company says represents "a typical seasonal decline."

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Analysts: Record-Low Rates Give Weak Boost to Refinances

Even with the record-low mortgage rates seen today, refinancing numbers are still not as high as expected. In CoreLogic's most recent MarketPulse report, Sam Khater and Molly Boesel noted, "the overall level of refinancing is still low given current mortgage rates, and there are still many homeowners nationwide with above market rates." Despite the new expansions from HARP 2.0, including the removal of its 125 percent LTV ceiling, other restrictions are still preventing homeowners from refinancing.

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August Mortgage Mail Volume Hits Highest Level Since 2008

Mortgage direct mail may be down, but it's not dead and buried, marketing firm Mintel Comperemedia reported. A release from the company showed 62 million acquisition offers for mortgages were mailed to customers across the country in August, the highest monthly mail volume since May 2008. With the Federal Reserve committing to keep mortgage rates low until mid-2015 and demand for home loans improving, the environment is right for lenders to go full force with their direct marketing efforts, the firm said.

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Poll Reveals Support for Revisions to Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction

About 56 percent of respondents to a recent survey by the National Low Income Housing Coalition said they support replacing the current mortgage interest tax deduction with an alternative that offers the same percentage deduction to all homeowners without taking income into account. The survey of a little more than 1,000 Americans also found that 63 percent believe tax deductions should only apply to those whose mortgages are $500,000 or less. The same percentage said the federal government should use savings it would incur from revising the mortgage interest tax deduction to end homelessness.

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Industry Leaders Focus on Workforce Housing

Workforce Housing in the New Economy took center stage during a recent conference hosted by the University of Miami's School of Business Administration, School of Architecture, and Office of Civil and Community Engagement. Featuring expert commentary from past and present leaders for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Consumer Federation of America, and Habitat for Humanity, the Florida-based event provided insight into the policies, programs, and regulations that are impacting housing for U.S. workers.

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