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JPMorgan Reports Record Profit for Third Straight Year

According to its quarterly filing, JPMorgan took in $5.7 billion in net income during 2012's final quarter, up 53 percent from the same quarter in 2011. Revenue for the quarter was $24.4 billion, up 10 percent compared with the prior year. Much of that profit came on the bank of JPMorgan's strengthened mortgage business. The bank's mortgage banking division reported originations of $51.2 billion in Q4, up 33 percent year-over-year and 8 percent quarter-over-quarter.

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Mortgage Applications Rise for Second Week

Mortgage applications continue to perk up after ending 2012 on a low note, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. The Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, increased 15.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in the week ending January 11. On an unadjusted basis, the index was up 45 percent from the prior week. Purchase activity continued strong, with the Purchase Index rising 13 percent to its highest level since April 2011.

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Builder Confidence Hits Wall in January

Builder confidence stalled in January as the Housing Market Index (HMI) stood at 47, remaining at its highest level since April 2006, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported Wednesday. Economists had expected the index to tick up to 48. With the January report, the index remained below 50--the tipping point between a positive and negative market assessment--for the 81st straight month. The last time the HMI was above 50 was April 2006, when the reading was 51 and falling.

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MERS Wins Dismissal of Missouri Recording Fee Suit

A U.S. district judge in Missouri has dismissed a recording fee suit filed by officials in Jackson County against Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS), on the grounds that the county "cannot enforce a nonexistent obligation." Missouri is the fifth state in which judges have granted MERS' motions to dismiss similar recording fee lawsuits.

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CoreLogic Records Biggest HPI Gain Since 2006

The U.S. housing market gained ground in November, according to CoreLogic's most recent Home Price Index (HPI) report. The data provider says November saw the biggest annual gain in home prices since May 2006. Nationally, home prices during the month rose 7.4 percent year-over-year, while also displaying a 0.3 percent improvement month-over-month. Looking ahead to December, CoreLogic's preliminary data show prices continuing upward by an estimated 7.9 percent year-over-year to close out 2012 on a high note.

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Ashton Kutcher’s Former Bachelor Pad Lists for $2.585M

The Hollywood Hills abode that Ashton Kutcher once called home has hit the market for $2.585 million. According to Zillow, the craftsman contemporary-style house served as the actor├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós bachelor pad prior to his marriage to Demi Moore, and Kutcher reportedly sold the home in June 2011 for $2.35 million.

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FICO Study Reveals Rising Demand for Credit

According to a recent study from FICO, U.S. banks expect an end to the household deleveraging trend observed among consumers during the past five years. The company's latest quarterly survey revealed that bankers are anticipating an uptick in customers' demand for credit. Additionally, results showed that the majority of respondents "believe the supply of financing for auto loans, credit cards, new mortgages, small business loans, student loans, and mortgage refinancing will meet or exceed consumer demand over the next six months."

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