News

Mortgage Rates Inch Upward

Mortgage rates showed little movement this week, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate inching higher to 6.32 percent. According to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey of large lenders, the 30-year fixed rate mortgages had an average of 0.33 discount and origination points.
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Fitch: U.S. REITs Unaffected by Housing Woes

The increased troubles in the U.S. housing environment have not, and will do little to impede the continued strong performance of U.S. REITs in 2007 as Fitch Ratings maintains a Positive Outlook for the sector, according to the rating agency in its latest REIT Scorecard. "Continued economic expansion should remain a catalyst for higher occupancies and rental rates for many companies across the spectrum of property types," said managing director and REIT group head Steven Marks. "Intense investor interest in real estate is also providing REITs a great deal of liquidity throughout all levels of the capital structure, leading to cheaper financing and a strong asset disposition market."
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Accredited Posts $37.8M Fourth Quarter Loss; Delinquencies Triple

Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co., a mortgage company specializing in subprime residential mortgage loans, said today that it lost $37.8 million during the fourth quarter of 2006; as a result, the company's net income for the full year fell nearly 64 percent from one year ago, tumbling to $57.7 million from $155.4 million in 2005. The company also said it had increased loan reserves by $42 million during the fourth quarter, citing increasing delinquency trends and repurchase activity, while originations dropped 18 percent. “For the full year, Accredited achieved positive net income when a number of non-prime mortgage companies either posted losses or exited the business," said chairman and CEO James Konrath. "Results for the fourth quarter were dissatisfying; however, during the quarter we absorbed the bulk of the impact of the Aames merger and continued responding to the current difficult credit environment."
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WaMu's Long Beach Mortgage Lays Off 250

Long Beach Mortgage, the subprime origination arm of Washington Mutual, has eliminated 250 employees in a move that the company said was needed to match capacity with current market conditions. Numerous independent sources in the industry informed Housing Wire of the layoffs yesterday, and spokesperson Olivia Riley from Washington Mutual confirmed earlier this morning to Housing Wire that the company had decided to reduce its staffing in four of its eight loan fulfillment sites.
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Central Pacific Mortgage to be Acquired by TMSF Holdings

TMSF Holdings, Inc. said today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire certain assets of the wholesale division of Folsom, Calif.-based Central Pacific Mortgage. The assets being acquired by TMSF include six wholesale branch offices with total staff of about 80 operations and sales personnel, the company said. The branches to be acquired are located in San Diego; Walnut Creek, Calif; Seattle; Phoenix; and two offices in Oregon.
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Iowa AG Targets Predatory Lending, Subprime Lenders

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller unveiled a package of legislative proposals aimed at predatory mortgage lending earlier this week, including a proposal to abolish stated-income lending in the state as well as an effort to limit the discount points borrowers can pay at closing to obtain a mortgage. “Predatory lending exploits consumers,� Miller said. “We are trying to outlaw some questionable practices that cause consumers to pay too much and get trapped in high-cost loans. In the worst cases, consumers can't make their loan payments, and they lose their homes.�
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Arizona To Reconsider Licensing for Brokers

The Arizona state legislature today is pondering a move to close a legal loophole that has allowed thousands of non-licensed brokers in the state to solicit loans and earn commissions. House Bill 2320, slated for its fourth round in front of legislators this week, would require licensing of an estimated 18,000 unlicensed brokers currently operating in the state, clamping down on what many say has become an unruly industry in the state. More than 30 states already require mortgage officers to be licensed.
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Default Technology Provider Launches Foreclosure Knowledgebase

In a claim likely to be challenged by other default management technology providers, DepotPoint, a Bellevue-Wash.-based provider of mortgage technology services, said Monday it had developed what it called the mortgage industry's "first fully-integrated intelligent foreclosure regulatory knowledgebase." An enhancement to the company's TrackPoint suite for foreclosure management, the knowledgebase stores both state and county rules and helps create a detailed plan of action for foreclosure processing.
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