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Stock Market Reflects Fidelity National Financial’s Acquisition of Hudson & Marshall

News spread quickly through the mortgage industry on Monday that long-standing auction house Hudson & Marshall (H&M) is being acquired by Fidelity National Financial (FNF). While industry reactions poured in, FNF saw it’s stock tick up and its “hold” ratings being switched to “buy” in many research firms. As part of this acquisition, FNF company ServiceLink is launching ServiceLink Auction.

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Who to Blame for the Housing Shortage

The most pressing problem facing the housing industry today is the tight inventory and millennials may be partly to blame. As many young potential buyers move into cities and away from the suburbs, housing construction has been notoriously weak. Cities like New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles have seen their suburban areas shrink.

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Investors Filling Low Distressed Inventory Gap with New Homes

With inventory dropping, including the distressed sale inventory, investors are moving to built-for-rent sales. A recent report noted that more and more investors are building rental homes themselves to make up for the gaps. Putting the blame on tight mortgage standards and rising prices, many younger buyers are holding off on buying a home, and investors are cashing in on the desire for detached-homes without the down payment.

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Sentencing Date Set for Former JPMorgan Loan Officer

Former senior loan officer at JPMorgan Chase & Co. admitted to a $33 million mortgage fraud scheme recently. A Florida federal judge accepted the plea and set the sentencing date for August 17. In exchange for shorter sentencing and other charges to be dropped, the $33 million will be paid in restitution.

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The Week Ahead: Prices Still Rising, Inventory Still Dropping

On Wednesday, at 9 a.m. EST, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will release its House Price Index (HPI) for March. The Index covers single-family housing, using data provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Previously, the FHFA reported in its February HPI that home prices rose 0.8 percent month-over-month. In the report, January’s former unchanged index was revised to a 0.2 percent increase.

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Side Effects Include…

Credit risk transfer (CRT) or sharing is the process in which the government-sponsored enterprises bundle up the mortgages they buy from lenders and sell a portion of the risk to private investors. Instead of the GSEs shouldering the loan risk alone, selected investors help offset any potential risk from loan defaults. CRT began as a test in 2012 and is now quickly ramping up as investor interest and governmental oversight grows. Governmental oversight makes sense—we don’t want another 2007. But why are more investors becoming so interested in CRT?

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High Down Payments Alter Young Homebuyer Priorities

Many young homebuyers are more focused on personal achievements, such as dream jobs and travelling, than “traditional,” long term life milestones, such as marriage and parenthood. Shifting priorities along with high down payments and the amount of time required to save for these payments are among the reasons why millennials aren't quite settling yet.

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Immigration’s Affect on the Housing Market

Immigration has a positive effect on the housing market according to speakers from a real estate conference reported on Friday. Sales activity and price will strengthen as the market becomes more saturated. Forecasts show that high immigrant sales activities will stem from five states.

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Study: Tax Reform Will Increase Homeownership Burden

A national study has suggested the current White House plan for tax reform will increase taxes for middle-class homeowners. Families with adjusted gross incomes between $50,000 to $200,000 could see an average annual increase of $815 on their federal income taxes. As federal tax deductions are one of the main incentives for homeownership, it is imperative for organizations in the industry to remain vigilant in working with Congress to draft tax reform that promotes owning a home.

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