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Home Values Decline 0.3% in October: Zillow

Home values continued on a downward-facing slope by declining 0.3 percent in October, with more to come over 2012, according to real estate Web site Zillow. The company released a monthly Zillow Real Estate Market Report that found monthly depreciation rates nonetheless stabilizing as the housing market bottoms out. Zillow found declines for home values year-over-year by 5.1 percent to $147,900, as home values declined by 23.7 percent since peaking in May 2007.

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Mortgage Applications Fall 2.6% From Week Before: MBA

Mortgage applications fell 2.6 percent from the week before as mortgage rates slammed into news lows, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday. The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, contracted by 2.8 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis from the week before, while the Refinance Index fell 1.6 percent during the same time frame. The Purchase Index meanwhile dropped 4.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week earlier, compared with a 7.5-percent shortfall for the same on a seasonally unadjusted basis.

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Two New Executives Added at Sun National

Sun National Bank is updating is commercial lending team, with the addition of two new executives. Targeting support and growth for its middle market and commercial real estate business, Sun National has hired Anthony W. LaMarca and Joseph C. Tkac. LaMarca is joining Sun National as the company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós senior vice president and wholesale regional manager for its south New Jersey and Philadelphia markets.

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Texas Lender Expands Into Southern Region

Texas-based Supreme Lending is expanding its reach, with the recent announcement that the company added branches in Alabama. The five new locations, which are spread throughout the Southern state, are part of Supreme's growth strategy plan for 2012. Currently, Supreme's Alabama branches close nearly $500 million mortgages per year. Supreme's decision to extend its service area builds on the company's proprietary technologies and its in-house operations for underwriting, closing, and funding loans.

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UWM Fast Tracks HARP 2.0 Integration

In accordance with the government's updated Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0), United Wholesale Mortgage has announced its successful implementation of the December 1 enhancements to the initiative. The federal program, which is designed to help facilitate refinancing for distressed homeowners, is expected to increase the number of participants who are eligible for assistance.

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InHouse to Offer Direct Access to UCDP

InHouse Inc. is working to abbreviate the time it takes lenders and appraisers to deliver the correct documentation to the government-sponsored enterprises. The company recently announced that it now offers users a faster, easier method of integration and compliance with the Uniform Collateral Data Portal. Providing technology services for banks, lenders, credit unions, and other mortgage originators, InHouse will help the companies it works with adapt to the UCDP in a matter of weeks.

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Housing Starts Strongest in Nearly Two Years

A pickup in job growth and record-low mortgage rates helped fast-track housing starts to their strongest performance in nearly two years in November, with rental property construction ahead of single-family home starts. Housing starts surged by 9.3 percent month-over-month to hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000, up from 627,000 in October. The Commerce Department reported the data Tuesday via the Census Bureau. Continuing trouble in the euro zone helps keep mortgage rates at record lows.

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Trade Groups Criticize Payroll Tax Extension Bills

The House voted to send a payroll tax extension bill into a bicameral committee Tuesday, increasing uncertainty over whether Congress will include a pay-as-you-go provision that would hike fees on lenders originating mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Senate version of the legislation passed earlier this weekend with stipulations that would raise mortgage fees on lenders with GSE loans by one-tenth of 1 percent, and extend the payroll tax for two months, according to news outlets.

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Issa: Countrywide Gave Lawmakers Discounted Loans

A congressional investigation turned up evidence that Countrywide Financial Corp. lavished four members of Congress and an unknown number of GSE executives with discounted mortgages between 1996 and 2008, Rep. Darrell Issa said Friday. Issa addressed members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which he chairs, by releasing an open letter to the public. He did not disclose the names of any members of Congress implicated by evidence in the investigation.

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November Home Sales Rise 8.1%: RE/MAX

November home sales rose higher this year than figures for the same last year, as markets began to stabilize, according to a recent housing report from RE/MAX. The real estate company said that November marked the fifth straight month for year-over-year sales increases, topping off 1.4 percent above figures seen in October, as home sales fell for the seventeenth consecutive month. Median sales prices for homes taken off the market in November meanwhile averaged $181,322, 1.4 percent more than prices seen in October.

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