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Fitch: Title Insurance Outlook ‘Stable’ as Recovery Forges On

With revenue up and the housing market showing a sustained recovery, Fitch Ratings says the outlook for the U.S. title insurance industry is "stable." The agency points to improved revenue and reduced expenses as signs of stability. Operating profit margins for Fitch's title universe rose to 10.3 percent in the first nine months of 2012, a dramatic jump from 6.1 percent during the same period in 2011. In addition, title revenues increased by more than 15 percent from January to September as housing markets found solid ground.

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LPS: Home Prices Increase 0.1% in September

Home prices rose just slightly over the month of September, demonstrating a 0.1 percent increase from August, according to Lender Processing Services' Home Price Index, which analyzes home prices in more than 15,500 ZIP codes each month. The modest increase lines up with the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which came in under expectations. While the 0.1 percent increase is slight, LPS does report more significant change on a yearly and year-to-date basis.

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Case-Shiller: September Home Prices Up, Momentum Slows

price

Despite another month of home price improvement, the housing sector stumbled in September as prices increased in 13 of the 20 cities covered in the monthly Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. The month-over-month September gain was weaker than in August, when prices rose in all cities surveyed.

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Mortgage Fraud Falls in Q3, Remains Concentrated in Some Areas

Fraud

Interthinx's mortgage fraud index dropped to 137 in the third quarter of this year, down 7.7 percent from the previous quarter and 4.5 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Two states--California and Florida--accounted for more than half of the very high risk metros. The number of metro areas considered "very high risk" increased by one in Florida, bringing the state to 17, while California's total stayed flat at 19. Merced, California, led as the riskiest metro, and the state held six out of the top 10 metros most at-risk for fraud.

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