A look at stories across HousingWire’s weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues:

JPMorgan Chase(JPM) expects home prices to stabilize in the spring “given recent improvements in housing indicators and economic data, though we recognize that the long-run demand-supply picture remains challenging.”

Analysts still project another 5% drop in prices from the third quarter to a bottom in the first half of this year that will equate to a 35% decline from the peak.

For the year, JPMorgan Chase expects home price to drop 1.6% from a year ago with net housing demand of roughly 1.6 million units.

Analysts said the recent decision by the Federal Housing Finance Agency to start a pilot program for bulk REO sales “could be a positive for the housing market and for non-agencies more broadly.”

“The outlook for the mortgage basis is practically binary, pivoting on the outlook for QE3,” according to Chase analysts, who also expect the AG settlement with mortgage servicers to be more of a non-agency event with little impact on agency MBS or rates.

Late Friday, Freddie Mac disclosed all of the mortgage repurchase requests it handled from Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2011. This was the first-such filing the government-sponsored enterprise made with the Securities and Exchange Commission as mandated by Dodd-Frank. Look for more coverage this week on HousingWire.com.

The Commerce Department reports housing starts for January on Thursday. Starts fell 4.1% in December after climbing 9.1% the prior month. Analysts polled by Econoday expect housing starts to rise to an annualized rate of 675,000 for the first month of 2012.

The government estimates 583,900 housing units were completed in 2011, which is 10.4% lower than the prior year and at the lowest level recorded. Single-family starts were particularly anemic last year.

Lawmakers in Greece approved new austerity measures aimed at keeping the country out of bankruptcy.

The vote was met with rioting and begins the process of the beleaguered country receiving another $170 billion from the EU and the International Monetary Fund. Greece has remained solvent with $145 billion from the EU and IMF since May 2010.

Some reports show the country plans to cut up to 15,000 jobs, lower pensions and drop the minimum wage by 22%. Protesters looted shops and set buildings ablaze in Athens following the vote.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency closed Charter National Bank and Trust of Hoffman Estates, Ill., last week and appoint the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. as receiver.

The FDIC signed an agreement with Barrington Bank & Trust Co. of Barrington, Ill. to assume all of the $89.5 million of deposits and most of the $93.9 million of assets from the two branches of Charter National.

The OCC also shuttered SCB Bank in Shelbyville, Ind. First Merchants Bank in Muncie, Ind., agreed to acquire all of the $182.6 million in assets and nearly all of the $171.6 million deposits from the four branches of SCB Bank.

The FDIC estimates a cost of $51.3 million to its deposit insurance fund from the two failures.


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