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Business Outlook Archive


Agencies Issue Proposed Rule on Appraisals for Higher-Risk Mortgages

Six federal financial regulatory agencies recently issued a proposed rule to establish new appraisal requirements for “higher-risk mortgage loans.” The proposed rule would implement amendments to the Truth in Lending Act enacted by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, mortgage loans ...


Economists Hop on Recovery Bandwagon

Bank of America’s announcement recently that it has significantly improved its home price forecast for the current year made headlines; in fact, the bank joins a growing list of housing economists who have seen the light and hopped on the ...


In July, Housing Starts Edge Down While Permits Rise

Nationwide housing production edged down 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 746,000 units in July, according to newly released figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. However, builders pulled more permits for planned new-home projects than they have in any month since August of 2008. ...


California is Leading the Recovery

The state that gave America Alt-A loans, the first tidal wave of foreclosures, the highest prices during the boom and the fastest fall during the bust is now leading the nation out of the six-year housing depression. ...


‘Normal’ Home Sales Soar Despite Obstacles

While sales of distressed properties - foreclosures and short sales - have shrunk since the first of the year, a surge in sales of “normal” non-distressed properties has pushed total home sales through June 4.5 percent higher than last year even though buyers face tight credit and low inventories. ...


HARP Refinances Continue Surge in First Half of 2012

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently released its June Refinance Report, which shows that one of every three refinances through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were made through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), the highest number since the ...


Fixed Mortgage Rates Move Higher for Second Consecutive Week

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) recently released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgage rates moving higher following stronger-than-expected employment reports. The 30-year fixed averaged 3.59 percent, and the 15-year fixed averaged 2.84 percent, still near the historic low. ...


Three Secrets Third-Party Aggregators Don’t Want Brokers to Know

There’s a battle raging between brokerages and third-party aggregators that compile real estate listings online and collect sales leads in order to sell them to agents and brokers. Several large brokerages are so unhappy with aggregators that they’ve turned off ...


Credit Union Merger Provides Greater Services for REALTORS®

On August 1, REALTORS® Federal Credit Union merged with Northwest Federal Credit Union to better serve its members. ...


Brokerage Compensation Can Include Administrative Fees

Brokers charging buyers or sellers administrative fees (sometimes called transaction fees or administrative brokerage commissions) to augment a percentage-based commission received good news from all nine justices of the United States Supreme Court. A rare, unanimous decision by the Court on May 24, 2012, in a case challenging loan fees ...


Good News in Housing: 80 Improving Housing Markets in August

A total of 80 metropolitan statistical areas across 32 states and the District of Columbia were listed as improving housing markets on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for August, released recently. This included 75 markets that retained their places on the list along with ...


Dodd-Frank: Could New Rules Derail the Housing Recovery?

The pending rulemakings for the Qualified Mortgage and Qualified Residential Mortgage mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, and the Federal Reserve’s recently proposed Basel III international capital standards, have the potential to severely tighten an already rigid credit market, as well ...


HUD Secretary and Iowa Attorney Unveil First Public Service Announcement for $25 Billion Mortgage Servicing Settlement

U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced the launch of the National Mortgage Servicing Settlement’s first public service announcement (PSA) television ad titled “Homeowner Help.” The PSA, which can be viewed at www.hud.gov and www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com, is designed ...


Marketing Strategies: 7 Ways ‘Perfectionism’ Stops You from Success

Have you ever wondered if perfectionism is a help or hindrance on the road to success? ...


Apartment Market Hot Streak Continues

For the sixth quarter in a row, the apartment industry improved across all indexes in the National Multi Housing Council's (NMHC) Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions. The survey's indexes measuring Market Tightness (76), Sales Volume (54), Equity Financing (58) and Debt Financing (77) all measured at 50 or higher, ...


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