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First-Time Buyers Booming in the United Kingdom

Though the United Kingdom is currently in the spotlight as host for the 2012 Olympic Games, British lenders have their own reason to celebrate this summer, following the release of a study that shows a significant uptick in first-time homebuyers. The Council of Mortgage Lenders in Manchester, England, is reporting that the number of first-time mortgage loan recipients in the country is up 22 percent year-over-year.

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New American Funding Receives Industry Honor

New American Funding has a reason to celebrate the end of summer thanks to a recent honor bestowed on the company by _Top_ _Agent_ _Magazine_. The publication recently named New American├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós managing director, Patty Arvielo, to its annual roster of Top California Mortgage Vendors.

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Closing Costs for Mortgage Loans Continue to Decline

A new report from Bankrate.com shows significant declines in mortgage closing costs, pointing to a victory for the industry. According to the website's recent study, the average cost to close on a mortgage loan in the U.S. dropped by seven percent during the past year.

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Buy Buy Brooklyn: Hall Street Listing Has Artistic Legacy

The former Brooklyn home of legendary artists and one-time couple Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe is on the market for $1 million. Located in Clinton Hill, the property's price tag reflects Brooklyn's increasing popularity, but according to Zillow, the singer and photographer were lucky enough to snag the townhouse for just $80 per month back in the 60s.

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Sterling Bancorp Completes Acquisition of Universal Mortgage

Universal Mortgage, Inc., has been acquired by Sterling Bancorp and its subsidiary, Sterling National Bank. Through the agreement between the New York-based companies, Universal's principals and their related teams will join Sterling's mortgage lending operations. Louis J. Cappelli, Sterling Bancorp's chairman and CEO stated, "We are acquiring a strong source of mortgage production that will complement our existing mortgage banking business and further enhance our significant level of non-interest income."

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Genworth Financial’s USMI Confirmed as NAFCU Partner

NAFCU Services Corporation has announced the renewal of an agreement with the organization's Preferred Partner, Genworth Financial's U.S. Mortgage Insurance division. The group recently confirmed USMI's partnership status, effectively extending the designation granted to USMI in 2011.

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Own a Penthouse in Manhattan’s Famous Soho 25

A penthouse perch in Manhattan's Soho 25 tower, a favorite building among Big Apple's celebrity set, has hit the market for $8 million. According to the New York Post, the duplex loft currently boasts bold-faced neighbors including television stars Padma Lakshmi and Julianna Marguiles.

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Star Trek-Themed Home Boasts Galactic Price Tag

An Australian homeowner who used his wealth to build a lavish, sci fi-themed estate has listed his galactic dream home for $10.5 million. According to the Wall Street Journal, the individual who created the luxury property is an avid fan of Star Trek, and he designed his house to mimic the television show's famous vessel, the Starship Enterprise.

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Former Morgan Stanley Leader Launches Investment Firm

Morgan Stanley├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós former head of U.S. housing strategy, Oliver Chang, has formed an asset management firm targeting investments in the single-family rental market, recently co-founding Sylvan Road Capital, LLC. The newly formed company from Chang, Robert Lee, Sarah Lee, and Gavin Kleinknecht expects to put more than $1 billion into the market during the next two years.

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