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Loan Officers Report Rising Demand for Non-Traditional Loans

According to the Federal Reserve's latest quarterly Senior Loan Officers Opinion Survey, a net 3.1 percent of lenders responding said demand for "non-traditional" residential loans increased from the survey released three months ago and a net 25 percent of respondents said demand for loans from sub-prime borrowers was higher than it was in May. At the same time, a net 6.3 percent of lenders said they had eased lending terms and standards for non-traditional mortgage loans.

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Survey: CRE Executives Cautious About Market Recovery

According to the Real Estate Roundtable, the latest survey continues the "basically flat" trajectory of the past several quarters, with the Current Conditions index staying at 71 and the Overall and Future Conditions index each rising a single point to 70 and 68, respectively. Respondents also noted increased planning and construction in asset classes outside the multifamily segment and greater investor interest outside of "red hot" metros such as New York, San Francisco, Dallas, and Houston.

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Mortgage Closing Costs Up 6% in 2013

Mortgage closing costs are up 6 percent over the past year, according to a report from Bankrate.com. The average closing cost across the United States rose over the year to $2,402. Origination fees increased 8 percent to $1,730--accounting for the bulk of the increase in closing costs--while third-party fees rose 1 percent to $672. In terms of highest average closing costs, Hawaii took the top spot with an average of $2,919. It was joined in the top five by Alaska, South Carolina, California, and New Mexico.

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Former CFPB Deputy Starts Mortgage Company, Attracts Criticism

CFPB

Since helping draft the final rule for a qualified mortgage, former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Deputy Director Raj Date has resigned from the agency and opened his own advisory and investment firm aimed specifically at those borrowers who do not meet the standards for 'qualified mortgages' as set by the CFPB under rules. This turn of events has raised questions as to the agency's ethics and integrity, prompting lawmakers to call for a release of communications between Date and others regarding the company's creation.

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Report: Borrower Confusion Limiting HARP’s Influence

A report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General (FHFA OIG) found a lack of borrower education is a critical barrier to the performance of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). "[M]any borrowers have not heard of the program, confuse the program with other government housing programs, or do not realize that they are eligible," the report stated. In address borrower misconceptions, FHFA announced plans to implement a nationwide public relations campaign to inform borrowers.

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Survey: Move-Up Buyers Nearly Ready to Take Action

The latest Home Index Survey (PGHI) from PulteGroup shows current homeowners may accelerate their timeline to "move up." With home values on the rise, 43 percent of move-up buyers in the survey said they plan to purchase a new home in the next five years. "One of the most intriguing findings from this PGHI survey is the optimism and the willingness of homeowners to 'pull the trigger' on buying a new home, even if they may not have an immediate need to move," said Deborah Wahl, SVP and chief marketing officer for PulteGroup.

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