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Ohio Homeowners Convene to Solve the Housing Crisis

Homeowners and officials in held a town meeting Thursday in Akron, Ohio, to discuss the impact of the housing crisis on their communities. The event, called ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£#MyHomeMyVote,├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø was designed to put the housing crisis and voters├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó concerns at the forefront of the wave of issues surrounding this year├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós election season. Attendees used the hash tag to tweet their representatives and other officials with their concerns. Held at the Akron-Summit Public Library and co-hosted by Empowering and Strengthening Ohio├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós People (ESOP), among other organizations, #MyHomeMyVote featured speakers such as Senator Sherrod Brown and Rep. Betty Sutton.

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Mortgage Rates Continue Their Ascent as Worries Grow

Fixed mortgage rates continued their uphill climb following promising housing gains in July, but the upward trend might be short-lived. According to Freddie Mac's weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.66 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending August 23, up from 3.62 percent the previous week. The 15-year FRM also slid up, averaging 2.89 percent (0.6 point). A week ago, the 15-year fixed averaged 2.88 percent. Meanwhile, the 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.80 percent (0.6 point), up from 2.76 percent in the last survey.

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Fed Sheds Last of AIG Securities at $6.6B Profit

Fed

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced an important milestone Thursday ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the final sale of its remaining securities from the 2008 AIG bailout. The final sales from Maiden Lane III, one of the struggling mortgage-related portfolios the Fed usurped in 2008, brought the Fed├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós total profit from AIG securities to $6.6 billion. The Fed has been shedding its AIG securities since early this year with the sale of its final Maiden Lane II securities in February, followed by sales of some Maiden Lane III securities in June.

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Fannie Mae Sees ‘Improvements’ in Servicers

Fifth Third Bank outshined all other servicers in Fannie Mae├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Servicer Total Achievement and Rewards Program in 2011. The bank came closer than any other bank to receiving four out of five available stars for performance in foreclosure prevention. A five-star rating ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£represents superior performance wherein the servicer is meeting or exceeding Fannie Mae├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós targets,├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø according to Fannie Mae. No Servicer came close to this rating in 2011.

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July New Home Sales Increase as Prices Fall

New home sales regained all the ground they lost in June, jumping by 13,000 to an annualized rate of 372,000 in July, the Census Bureau and HUD reported Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the report to show a sales pace of 362,000. Sales for June were revised up to 359,000 from the originally reported 350,000. Both the median and average sales price of a new home though dropped month-over-month and year-over-year according to the report, each falling to the lowest level since January.

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Initial Jobless Claims Continue Steady Climb

First time claims for unemployment insurance increased 4,000 for the week ended Aug. 18 to 372,000, the highest level in a month, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected 365,000 initial claims. The prior week├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós total was revised up to 368,000 from the originally reported 366,000. Continuing claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on a one-week lag ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô increased 4,000 to 3,317,000 from the prior week's 3,313,000, revised from the originally reported 3,305,000.

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Originations Outpace Expectations in Second Quarter

Outpacing industry forecasts, mortgage originations ticked up 5.2 percent in the second quarter, totaling $405 billion during the three-month period, according to a report released this week from Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. On an annual basis, originations are up 44.6 percent, according to the study. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods suggests much of the increase came from refinance activity driven by low interest rates. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods predicts strong origination volume next quarter.

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Home Values Gain as Market Cools Heels in July

Zillow released on Tuesday its Real Estate Market Reports for July, revealing that the company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Home Value Index hit $151,600 for the month, a 0.5 percent gain from June and a 1.2 percent increase year-over-year. Of the metro areas covered in the reports, 62 percent saw home values climb during July, with only 49 of the 167 areas posting declines. Of the 30 largest areas covered, the Phoenix metro experienced the largest monthly increase (2.2 percent), followed by San Francisco (1.2 percent) and Denver (1.0 percent).

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Existing-Home Sales Rise in July, Just Shy of Expectations

Existing homes sale rose to an annual rate 4.47 million in July, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. Economists had expected the sale pace to be 4.51 million. Economists had expected the sale pace to be 4.51 million. The median price of an existing home though fell in July for the first time since January. The median price of an existing home fell $1,500, 0.8 percent, from June to $187,300. The median price was up year-over-year for the fifth straight month in July.

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Fitch: ‘Volatile’ Buyback Claims Up for Bigger Banks

While some signs suggest the housing recovery may finally be under way, others signal that banks will likely continue to see repurchase claims from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Analysts with Fitch Ratings found in a report on Monday that repurchase risk remains high for several financial institutions, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Ally Financial. According to Fitch, repurchase risk climbed to 41 percent for Bank of America. Roughly 60 percent of the claims stemmed from private-label requests.

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