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Lexington Realty Trust Announces $480M Acquisition

Lexington Realty Trust, a national realty investment trust that owns, manages, and invests in single-tenant office, industrial, and retail properties, announced a multi-million-dollar acquisition Thursday with a transaction value of about $480 million. Lexington is acquiring Inland American Sub├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós portion of Net Lease Strategic Assets Fund L.P., which was a joint venture between Inland and Lexington. Lexington has owned and managed these properties for the past several years, since prior to 2007 when it entered the venture with Inland to create Net Strategic Assets Fund.

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Slowing Confidence to Crimp Economy: Fannie Mae

American consumers remain cautiously optimistic of housing as home prices rise, Fannie Mae reported Monday. According to the GSE's August 2012 National Housing Survey, consumers maintain a cautious but improving view of homeownership and the housing market. The average home price change expectation is 1.6 percent, mostly consistent with July's results and down from a June high of 2.0 percent. Meanwhile, 11 percent of those surveyed say home prices will go down in the next year.

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Home Prices Climb 0.9% Year-Over-Year: LPS

Home prices ticked up by 0.9 percent year-over-year, according to Lender Processing Services. The Florida-based analytics and technology provider revealed that prices also rose by 0.7 percent month-over-month. Home values climbed by $203,000 on average, reflecting a 0.7-percent uptick from $202,000 last year. By state, California saw home prices ratchet up by 0.7 percent, with Texas dipping by 0.1 percent. Florida, New York, and New Jersey all saw increases by 1.3 percent, 1.7 percent, and 1.2 percent, respectively.

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FBR: SunTrust Outlook Improving

SunTrust is taking steps to improve its position in the market. The bank has continued to grow its mortgage banking division, which earned $258 million last quarter, according to FBR Capital Markets. While this was offset by repurchase provisions, the bank has now settled short-term losses, leaving FBR with expectations of profitability ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£especially as the refi boom continues.├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø FBR expects SunTrust will bring in $531 million from its mortgage banking division this year and close to twice that next year.

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NAHB: Is Multifamily Housing (Finally) on the Mend?

Multifamily housing continues to improve ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô at least by some appearances. The National Association of Home Builders recently registered 54 on an index that measures multifamily production. On a scale of zero to 100, the trade group found the index doing well for the eighth straight quarter, marking a high not seen in seven years. The Multifamily Production Index noted the rise from 51 for an index that tallies up homebuilder and developer sentiment about the state of the apartment and condo market.

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Unemployment Drops to 8.1% as Economy Adds Just 96K Jobs

The nation's unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent in August ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the lowest level since April but the economy added just 96,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported Friday. According to Labor, 581,000 people left the labor force in August leading to the drop in the unemployment rate which nonetheless remained above the election-critical 8.0 percent. At the same time, July's job gains ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô originally reported at 163,000 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô were reduced to 141,000 while June's job numbers dropped to 45,000 from 87,000.

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While Candidates Avoid Housing, Five Star Speakers Engage It

Taking the stage on Thursday, speakers at the ninth annual Five Star Conference, currently underway at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, tackled the issue most politicians evade: When and where should government intervene in the housing market? Not often, according to speakers like Jack Konyk, executive director of government affairs with Weiner Brodsky Sidman Kider, and Edward Kramer, EVP of regulatory affairs with Wolters Kluwer Financial Services. The Dodd-Frank Act took center-stage during the debate, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau along with it.

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Online Lending Shows Strong Momentum in August

Online lending continues to boom, and at least one mortgage-shopping website is reporting that the housing market is heating up, based on site statistics. Citing strong findings from August, MortgageMarvel.com revealed that the number of applications for purchases and refinances submitted during the month quadrupled on a year-over-year basis.

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FDIC Stands by Its Community Bank Examinations

After some community banks expressed concerns that FDIC examinations ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£were being conducted without clear standards or consistent application of agency policies and procedures, which could discourage business growth and responsible lending,├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø the FDIC conducted a report to review its examination process. Major findings of the recently-released report include that timelines for report completion often lengthens as institution ratings worsen, and these challenges are rare and even more rarely sustained.

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Previously Strong Vintage Now Faltering: Fitch

Adverse selection is leading to rating downgrades for ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£one of the strongest U.S. residential mortgage vintages,├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø the pre-2005 vintage, according to Fitch Ratings. Residential mortgage-backed securities formed before 2005 "have historically performed well," according to Fitch. In fact, more than 93 percent have already been repaid in full, and principal losses account for less than 1 percent of the $650 billion vintage. Fitch has placed several classes from the pre-2005 vintage on "Rating Watch Negative."

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