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SUBSCRIBE ? Volume 8 | Issue 198 | Monday, November 9, 2009 Click here to view in browser
MBA Advocacy Update
For the second straight week, Congress moved briskly on legislation critical to the health of the nation's housing markets, approving an extension and expansion of the home buyer tax credit--a top legislative priority for MBA.
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Top National News

Residential Finance News

Commercial/Multifamily News

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Article Abstracts

Top National News

U.S. Home Prices Flat in Q3, Fewer 'Underwater': Zillow
Reuters (11/09/09)
A new report from shows a decrease in underwater single-family mortgages to 21 percent in the third quarter from 23 percent in the previous three-month period. Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries attributes the decline to stabilization in home values and the loss of homes with underwater mortgages to foreclosure. He adds, "The next several months will be critical to the housing market." Zillow reports a 6.9 percent drop in its home value index to $190,400 in the third quarter from a year ago, marking the third consecutive quarterly decrease in the year-over-year decline.

S&P Gauges Bond Loss Potential on Mortgages
Wall Street Journal (11/09/09) Scism, Leslie
On Nov. 6, Standard & Poor's rolled out a new service that indicates the probability that certain bonds backed by residential mortgages will post losses and estimates the potential losses. The new service is a response to criticism from banks and insurers that the ratings firm's junk ratings are too broad and that bonds with junk ratings may record only modest losses. S&P lowered the ratings on almost $1.5 trillion in mortgage-backed bonds to junk from triple-A over the past two years.

FHA Delay Stokes Premium Anxiety
American Banker (11/09/09) P. 8; Muolo, Paul
The FHA has delayed issuing an audit of its capital reserves, but observers anticipate a report indicating that the agency's reserves have fallen under 2 percent. Mortgage bankers are worried that the FHA, in an attempt to quickly generate cash for its reserve fund, will boost the premiums paid by borrowers and hike their closing costs as a result. Experts say raising premiums would put a damper on the housing market.

Staffing for a Possible Slowdown in Originations
National Mortgage News (11/09/09) Vol. 34, No. 8, P. 2; Berry, Kate
With residential mortgage originations expected to fall next year, lenders must make some tough choices when it comes to staffing levels. Rising interest rates and declining volume could make it costly to maintain numerous employees, but a drop in interest rates after a round of layoffs could leave them with too few employees to handle refinancing requests. Experts recommend that lenders shift underwriters, title reviewers and other production employees to servicing departments to handle loan modification requests. Without factoring in the extension of the home buyer tax credit, the Mortgage Bankers Association predicts mortgage originations will fall to as low as $1.5 trillion from an estimated $2.6 trillion in 2009.

HUD Penalizes More FHA Lenders
American Banker (11/09/09) P. 8
HUD's Mortgagee Review Board has slapped 1st Rate Mortgage Corp. of Wisconsin and New Haven, Conn.-based Access Mortgage Corp. with a total of $27,000 in civil penalties for violating FHA lending and marketing standards. The former, headquartered in Green Bay, has been ordered to pay $20,000 in penalties for reportedly violating third-party origination rules and neglecting to maintain a quality control plan, among other things. Access Mortgage Corp., meanwhile, was ordered to pay $7,000 in penalties for using the FHA logo improperly and altering its "doing business as" name without informing HUD.

Residential Finance News

Unemployment Rises, But Rate of Job Losses Eases
The unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent from 9.8 percent in September. This is the highest unemployment rate since April 1983.
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Equifax Acquires Rapid Reporting
The big news in the mortgage vending world last week was Equifax's announcement that it had acquired Rapid Reporting Verification Co., Fort Worth Texas, for $72.5 million in cash.
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The Week Ahead
After working through the weekend on the massive health care bill, the House and Senate work today and tommorrow, then recess for the rest of the week following the Veterans Day holiday on Wednesday.
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Commercial/Multifamily News

ULI/PwC: Commercial Markets to Hit Bottom in 2010
Economists from the Urban Land Institute, Washington, D.C, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, New York, forecast more pain in 2010.
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Major Markets Down, Not Out
New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. remain attractive markets for future commercial real estate investment despite reports of falling values, high vacancy rates and higher unemployment.
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DealMaker of the Day
Terrix Financial Corp., Denver, arranged $10.3 million for retail, office and industrial properties in Colorado.
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MBA News
MBA Commercial Real Estate Finance/Multifamily Housing Convention & Expo Feb. 1-4
Register for the Mortgage Bankers Association's Commercial Real Estate Finance/Multifamily Housing Convention and Expo, Feb.1-4, 2010 in Las Vegas.
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MBA Member Advantage Program Discounts through HP, Office Depot
HP and Office Depot offer Mortgage Bankers Association members substantial savings through the MBA Member Advantage Program.
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MBA National Mortgage Servicing Conference/Expo Feb. 23-26
The Mortgage Bankers Association's National Mortgage Servicing Conference & Expo 2010,  February 23-26 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, covers new developments in an evolving marketplace and connects you with thousands of your colleagues.
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"Getting through 2010 will be the test for who can survive. Whoever's left standing will be in a great position."
--Jonathan Miller, senior consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, New York.
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John Courson, President and CEO, Mortgage Bankers Association

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