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  • Freedom Mortgage to acquire RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing

    Freedom Mortgage and RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing are planning to merge, the companies announced Friday. The deal will make RoundPoint a wholly owned subsidiary of Freedom and boost its servicing portfolio to more than $300 billion. Click the headline to read more.

Real Estate

NYT: Rat sightings in New York soar 38% as housing boom destroys their burrows

"It is the humans who avoid the rats, not the other way around"
Rat sightings in New York City have jumped 38% as a construction boom that added 36,000 units in 2018 sends the rodents scurrying from their burrows, according to The New York Times. According to reporter Winnie Hu, "Not even cars are safe: Rats have chewed clean through engine wires."
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Tariff wars: What do Walmart and Target prices have to do with the housing market?

Bond investors who set mortgage rates keep a wary eye on inflation
When a top executive at Walmart told Wall Street analysts last week that tariffs on Chinese goods would lead to higher prices for his customers, people who follow the housing and mortgage industry felt a sense of foreboding. Higher consumer prices lead to higher inflation, which leads to higher mortgage rates.
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Manhattan pending home sales surge as prices drop to 2015 level, StreetEasy report says

New federal tax code is causing a price “recalibration”
Pending home sales in Manhattan spiked 27% in April from a year ago, reaching the highest level of signed contracts since the spring of 2015, as prices in America’s priciest urban neighborhood dropped, according to StreetEasy. “Early signs tell us that some sellers are finally pricing their homes more realistically and finding buyers when they do so,” said StreetEasy Senior Economist Grant Long.
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Sales of new homes drop 6.9% in April from March's 11-year high

The level remains 7% higher than a year ago
Sales of new houses dropped in April from an 11-year high in March, according to a report from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. New-house sales fell 6.9% to a 673,000 annualized pace last month from March’s upwardly revised rate of 723,000. Even with the decline, April’s level sits 7% higher than a year ago.
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This is how much you need to earn to live in America's most expensive cities

Here's how much cash you need to pull in to live in the priciest U.S. markets
The most expensive cities to live in are – you guessed it – in California. But how much, exactly, do you have to make in order to afford to live there? A recent study by HSH.com revealed the least and most affordable U.S. cities and what salary you’d need to pull in to live there, and this is what it found.
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April's dip in home sales may portend "significant gain" in May, economist says

March's signed contracts were supposed to have turned to sales by now
Housing economists were left scratching their heads this week over a NAR report showing U.S. existing home sales fell in April. In the prior month, pending home sales climbed to an eight-month high and were up by nearly 4% from the prior month. You sign a contract and a month or two later you buy the home. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. So what gives?
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April's depreciating home prices could signal the market reached its peak

April marks the first monthly decline in 7 years
In April, the median U.S. home depreciated 0.1% in value from the previous month, marking the first monthly decline in seven years, according to Zillow’s latest housing market report. Zillow Director of Economic Research Skylar Olsen said the likelihood that home values have peaked in several local markets is real.
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Hey, Mr. President, what about removing lumber tariffs to make homes affordable?

Tariffs on Canadian lumber add $9,000 to the price of a new house, NAHB said
Canadian softwood lumber used to build U.S. homes currently carry tariffs of about 20%. That adds $9,000 to the price of a typical new home and more than $3,000 to the cost of a multifamily unit, NAHB said. At a time when all eyes are on U.S. housing affordability issues, the trade dispute with Canada is "needlessly driving up housing costs," Greg Ugalde, chairman of NAHB, said in a statement.
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