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Mortgage Applications Fall 2.5% as Refinances Steady: MBA

Mortgage applications fell 2.5 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The trade group found application volume declining by 3 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis. Purchases fell 0.8 percent from the week before and 3 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis. The refinance share of mortgage activity stayed the same from last week, hovering at 79 percent, with the adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity ticking up to 5 percent of total volume. Interest rates for fixed-rate mortgages by and large fell with volume.

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Alternative Modification Programs Gaining Traction

Struggling borrowers in need of alternative home loan modifications are getting a helping hand from a Texas-based mortgage lender and servicer. Homeward Residential, Inc., has rolled out a new program for consumers who are unable to qualify for modification options through federal initiatives.

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Financial Institution Sells Majority of Mortgage Business

In California, a financial institution is selling the majority of its mortgage business to facilitate a return of capital agreement in conjunction with a previous acquisition deal. Redding-based Bank of Commerce Holdings has announced that 51 percent of Bank of Commerce Mortgage has been sold back to Simonich Corporation, following a 2009 capital stock purchase transaction between the two entities.

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Construction Spending Falls in July, Shy of Estimates

Private and public construction spending fell off in July, shy of initial estimates, with private nonresidential spending worse for the wear if trends persist, analysts say. Analysts with IHS Insight shared their concerns on Tuesday with commentary detailing the latest spending numbers from the Census Bureau. According to the report, construction spending declined by 0.9 percent in July, while spending went up 9.3 percent year-over-year. Public construction declined by 0.4 percent.

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Mortgage Industry Posts Job Gains for Fourth Straight Quarter

For the fourth consecutive quarter, the mortgage industry posted a net gain in jobs, according to Mortgage Daily├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Second Quarter 2012 Mortgage Employment Index. However, the net gain reported in the second quarter is well under the gain reported for the first quarter of the year. According to the report, 1,335 jobs were added to the mortgage industry in the second quarter, down from 2,969 added in the first quarter but up from a net loss of 464 jobs a year ago. The net gain is the result of 5,580 hirings and 4,245 layoffs in the sector over the second quarter.

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Home Prices Rise to Six-Year High in July: CoreLogic

Home prices in July saw the biggest nationwide year-over-year increase since August 2006, CoreLogic reported Tuesday. According to the company's July Home Price Index (HPI), home prices-including distressed sales-increased year-over-year by 3.8 percent in July. On a month-over-month basis, prices increased 1.3 percent from June. July marked the fifth consecutive increase in home prices on both a monthly and yearly basis. Only 23 metro areas fell year-over-year.

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Mortgage Rates Hold Steady Near Record Lows

Mortgage rates held steady above record lows this week, as the debt crisis in Europe threatened to upend an increasingly more favorable economic climate. Zillow reported that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hovered old lows at 3.36 percent, only after dipping from 3.39 percent last week. Interest rates for 15-year home loans currently average 2.73 percent, while those for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages stay near 2.35 percent. The debt crisis in Europe continues to feed uncertainty for investors interested in stability.

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Florida Home with Infamous Past Lists for $1M

A home with a very dubious history has hit the market in Ocklawaha, Florida. The former residence of Kate "Ma" Barker - she's the mother of famous gangsters, the Barker brothers - has been listed for $1 million. The property, which Barker was renting under an assumed name at the time, was the site of her demise in 1935 when she was shot by police following a four-hour standoff.

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CFPB Unveils Change of Guard With New Senior Personnel

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently unveiled several recent changes of guard for senior personnel. The bureau said in a release on Tuesday that Kelly Thompson Cochran, Chris Lipsett, Stephen van Meter, and Delicia Reynold Hand would move into senior roles. Cochran will transition from her role as deputy assistant director into a new office as acting assistant director for regulations. Van Meter will take up a new position as deputy general counsel, a change from his past role as assistant general counsel for policy with the CFPB.

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