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Experts: Future for CMBS Markets Still Mixed

Even as economic uncertainty and fears of a double-dip recession continue to rile the markets, some say that commercial mortgage-backed securities, recently on a downdraft, could either slowly recover over 2011 or see a fallback. According to experts, ongoing concerns about debt crises overseas and at home could dent a rebound for the CMBS markets. Stories by Bloomberg News, Retail Traffic magazine, coupled with data from Trepp Inc. and Barclays Capital, portray gray skies for CMBS.

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Mortgage Applications Hit 15-Year Bottom Despite Low Rates

Cresting on low tides in credit supply and buyer confidence, fewer first-time and repeat homebuyers filed mortgage applications last week, according to a weekly survey released by the Mortgage Bankers Association Wednesday. The MBA said that overall mortgage loan application volume dropped 2.4 percent, with purchases slamming into a 15-year low. The Market Composite Index, which the MBA uses to gauge loan application activity, showed a seasonally adjusted squeeze in loan volume.

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Churchill Mortgage Adds New Branch Manager

Churchill Mortgage Corp. named a new face to its Brentwood-based call center branch in Tennessee. The mortgage lender made the announcement that it had put forward Kevin Watson as the new manager of the call center. According to a statement released by the mortgage lender, Watson arrives in his role with some 20 years of mortgage banking experience.

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Zillow: Mortgage Rates Fall. Again

Mortgage rates continued falling to new lows, according to real estate Web site Zillow, which released rates in the latest Mortgage Marketplace note Tuesday. According to Zillow, the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate loan jumped four basis points to hit 4.07 percent Saturday, up from 4.09 percent last week. Zillow tracks mortgage rates by pooling anonymous loan quotes submitted by the 1.7 million users that it says follow its Web site on a daily basis. The Zillow rates track ongoing mortgage-rate declines reported by Bankrate and Freddie Mac.

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Weiss: Mortgage Insurers Barely Make the Grade

With decisions by state regulators to close mortgage insurance practices for PMI Group, pending the company's ability to meet capital requirements, mortgage insurers continue to fall under scrutiny as a troubled industry.

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FHA Multifamily Rental Loans Hit New Highs

Despite all-time highs for home affordability, homebuilders are seeing less demand for home construction and more for multifamily rentals, with the Federal Housing Administration recently releasing a report that signals new highs for rental properties across the country. The FHA said that it has endorsed some $10.5 billion in multifamily rental housing loans ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô seven times the number of loans made three years ago and the only second time that the FHA has lent so much.

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Adding to Worries, New Home Sales Drop in July

Marking a third consecutive month, new home sales fell over July, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The drop in new home sales reflects still-weakening consumer confidence as new fears about a global economic slowdown continued to rattle stocks and markets worldwide. New single-family house sales dipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000 over July, reflecting a downward shift in estimates that fixed these numbers at a 0.7 percent decline from 300,000 homes sold over June.

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Services Provider First Valuation Officially Launches

A new mortgage lender debuts with the company announcement that First Valuation officially launches operations Tuesday. The launch signals a change from a previous name, BrokerPriceOpinion.com, under which the company ran operations for much of the last decade.

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Landmark Mortgage Adds New Branch, Two Faces

California-based Landmark Mortgage Group marked another success Tuesday as it announced its expansion to a new branch, its fourth in less than two years, according to a statement. As part of the expansion, Landmark Mortgage will also hire new manager Linda LaGrasso, a Brentwood native, and mortgage advisor Kathy Mertens.

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State Regulators Suspend PMI Group Insurance Units

After threatening to shut down mortgage insurance operations at The PMI Group, Inc., the Arizona Department of Insurance made good by issuing an order that forced the company to cease writing new mortgage policies, effective Friday. PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., the division responsible for mortgage insurance, shut down two of its units in response. A June 30 financial statement signaling a $329-million net loss, coupled with $574 million in incurred losses, alerted the department to approximately $320 million in policy holder deficits.

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